Many of us must believe that beating ourselves up somehow transforms us into better people: after all, very often, when we make a mistake, we speak to ourselves much less kindly than we would treat a friend who’d stumbled in an identical way.
Spoiler: turns out we’re wrong. While we may instinctively know being kind to others is good for our own happiness and wellbeing, society as a whole hasn’t caught on to the benefits of treating ourselves with compassion. According to a growing body of research, a teachable trait called self-compassion can actually help us deal with difficult emotions and adjust to change in healthy ways. And isn’t that something we could all use?
One of the best things about my job is that I get to learn about fascinating subjects like mindful self-compassion, and speak to experts who are passionate about what they do — which makes any topic even more engaging. I hope you’ll get a sense of that by reading You Can Be Kinder to Yourself.
Thank-you to the interviewees who so generously agreed to speak with me: freelance writer, writing instructor (and friend) Suzanne Boles; Jamie Gruman, a professor and research fellow with the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph (Ont.); and Patricia Williams, a Victoria, BC art therapist (certified counsellor, trained teacher of a program called “Mindful Self-Compassion.”