Debunking the Myths: Understanding the Power of Self-Compassion

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.


Self-compassion is a powerful tool for personal growth and development, but it is often misunderstood as a buzzword or a fad. In this article, we will explore three common myths about self-compassion and how it can benefit our lives. From improving our attitudes to being a positive role model for others, self-compassion is a practice worth embracing. Learn how to challenge your inner critic and make a difference in your life with self-compassion.


We hear a lot about self-compassion these days, and, for most, the concept is foreign. Just a generation or two ago, the mindset was that life was hard, extremely hard, and that was all there was to it. Men worked day and night; women tended to the family and home. Husbands and wives woke up to the rooster crowing sound and then went to sleep with the sun setting. They did this day in and day out with little or no time for themselves. 

Myth Number One: Self-compassion is a Fad

Today, however, we are more self-aware than ever. Self-help and self-improvement have gone from being a luxury to part of our daily routine. Humanity is more evolved; we are conscious creators of our lives to make a difference in the lives of others, as well. 

However, one of the biggest myths is viewing self-compassion as a buzzword or a fad. Much work in the field of personal development and psychology is showing the long-term benefits of self-compassion. When we take on the practice of self-compassion, there are many benefits, but here are the most important two:

· Being compassionate to ourselves helps us feel better, work better, and play better

· Being sympathetic to ourselves in life’s daily moments helps us take the burden off expecting others to do it for us 

Myth Number Two: Self-compassion is Selfish

For many people, doing things just for themselves that make them happy and that do not include others can feel selfish. This is far from the truth; when we do something for ourselves, we bring joy to ourselves. If you stop to take some time to journal throughout the day about how many times you are hard on yourself, you will be surprised. When you take on the practice of self-compassion, there are many benefits:

· A more positive, optimistic attitude

· Less bitterness, resentment, and angst

· You are more pleasant to be around and represent a role model for others

· A happier, more empathic mindset means a more comfortable, healthier mind, body, and spirit

We take the burden off others to always be the ones who need to soothe us, nurture us, and take care of us. We all need others when life throws us a curve; however, we can practice self-compassion to combat those negative thoughts in our heads daily. 

We all have an inner critic, and when we use the practice of self-compassion to challenge those thoughts, we are all the better for it. 

Myth Number Three: Self-Compassion is only for Spiritual Folks

Self-compassion has nothing to do with being spiritual, religious, or new age. Self-compassion produces results. Imagine being in a meeting or part of a project and something goes awry (as things often do). Taking the time, energy, and, most importantly, the focus off yourself and onto troubleshooting and problem-solving changes the course of the project. Not only does it change the system, but it also changes the outcome. 

Asking the inner critic a few questions helps improve your life:

Ÿ  Is this helpful?

Ÿ  Is this inner criticism a fact? Am I a mistake, or did I make a mistake?

Ÿ  Where can I learn and grow from this?

Ÿ  How can I use this to rebound quickly and make a better decision?

As you can see, self-compassion comes from a logical place when we challenge that inner critic. 

Look and see where you can, in your life, challenge the inner critic, dispel these myths, and make a difference. 

Dr. Layne McDonald

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