Life and work are becoming increasingly stressful and challenging for us all. According to psychologist Serena Chen (2018), when we are faced with difficult times, we can often respond in one of two ways – we either blame ourselves or shift the blame to others.
Chen outlines that this can often have an impact in the workplace through behaviours of being self-critical or passing the blame onto others. This can demotivate us and others, which can lower our productivity, morale, and job satisfaction.
So, how can we try and respond in a more positive way?
Neff and Kirkpatrick, in their research, outline the importance of self-compassion and how this is crucial to help build resilience and contribute to better health and well-being as individuals, teams, and organisational performance.
So what is self-compassion?
Self-compassion is the ability to be kind and understanding to ourselves during periods of suffering or failure. It is the ability to let go of negative or painful thoughts and feelings and perceive them as part of a larger human experience. Dr Kristin Neff says that self-compassion is demonstrated through three behaviours:
Being Self-Kind versus Self-Judgmental – showing kindness to ourselves when we make mistakes rather than being judgmental.
Being Mindful versus Over-Identification – approaching negative emotions and feelings objectively and not letting them take over our thinking.
Humanity versus Isolation – Understanding that we all make mistakes from time to time, and this is part of human nature.
There is a lot of research into how self-compassion can bring many benefits, both to individuals and their organisations. According to Dr Amanda Super, practising self-compassion can help make people and their organisations to be:
Happier people: Practising self-compassion leads to more happiness, optimism, gratitude, and better relationships with others.
Feel less stressed: Self-compassion is a powerful antidote to self-criticism and perfectionistic thinking that can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Improved job satisfaction and enhanced resilience: Self-compassionate people bounce back more easily from setbacks and are more likely to learn from their mistakes. It can also reduce burnout and emotional exhaustion and help us build our motivation to stick to our goals.
Self-compassion can therefore increase our overall performance at work, which is good for both individuals and organisations.
Although being compassionate towards others often comes naturally, many of us find it challenging to show the same compassion to ourselves. The good news is that, as evidence shows, self-compassion can be learnt and is trainable, and we can learn how to use it in our everyday life to silence our “inner critic and build our resilience”.
How can we help you?
Here at Prospect and WNE, we understand how important resilience and self-compassion are, especially in the current unprecedented times across health and care organisations along with other sectors.
We offer bespoke workshops focused on resilience, self-compassion, wellbeing, and one-to-one coaching. These are designed to support you, your teams, and organisations to thrive and find satisfaction in your roles. To find out more, please contact us at email@example.com or click here to see the different development programmes we provide.
Helpful articles and Resources
Give Yourself a Break: The Power of Self-Compassion (2018). Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2018/09/give-yourself-a-break-the-power-of-self-compassion
What is Self-Compassion and Exercises by Dr Kristin Neff. Retrieved from https://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/ and https://self-compassion.org/tips-for-practice/