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Building Self-Compassion

By Laura Miles, Registered Psychologist

What is self-compassion?

Being kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings. In other words, showing yourself the same patience, empathy, kindness, warmth and understanding you would show a friend who is experiencing pain or suffering.

Why is self-compassion important?

  • Self-compassion is a skill that can be learned and improved.

  • Research suggests that self-compassion increases resilience, motivation to improve yourself, performance and general mental health and wellbeing.

  • Low self-compassion can be seen across many mental health disorders, not limited to depression, anxiety and personality disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder

Practical steps for building self-compassion:

  1. Speak to yourself as you would a friend – we are the only people we spend 100% of our lives with – we may as well be supportive and nurturing.

  2. Give yourself at least 1 “free pass” each day for something you usually beat yourself up for (e.g., small mistakes or self criticism).

  3. Complete at least 1 self-compassionate act per day. This could be as simple as enjoying your favourite hobby or food, speaking words of encouragement to yourself, giving yourself a hug or looking after your body with self-care.

  4. Speak gently to yourself even when you make a mistake, we are all human and we all make mistakes. The vast majority of mistakes are insignificant overall.

  5. Recognise when your inner critic appears and give it an identity (an animal, other person or object).

  6. Build up your supportive voice. Our supportive voice is like the ethical bystander who challenges the criticisms of the inner critic.

For further resources on how to build your self-compassion visit the following:


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