The Evangelical Universalist Forum

An Alternative To Self-Esteem - Self Compassion

The relentless pursuit of high self-esteem has become a virtual religion. Our ultracompetitive culture tells us we need to be constantly above average to feel good about ourselves, but there is always someone more attractive, successful, or intelligent than we are. And even when we do manage to grab hold of high self-esteem for a brief moment, we can’t seem to keep it. Our sense of self-worth goes up and down like a Ping-Pong ball, rising and falling in lockstep with our latest success or failure.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to self-esteem that many experts believe is a better and more effective path to happiness: self-compassion. The research of Dr. Kristin Neff and other leading psychologists indicates that people who are compassionate toward their failings and imperfections experience greater well-being than those who repeatedly judge themselves. This book powerfully demonstrates why it’s so important to be self-compassionate and give yourself the same caring support you’d give to a good friend.

The book gives the evidence on how high self-esteem breeds narcissism and gives the evidence that those who experience narcissism really have low self-esteem. The evidence shows that those who are narcissistic have high levels of self-esteem not low. When treated as average or below what they think they deserve, those with high self-esteem get violent and intensely angry. With self-compassion the results showed a greater calmness and ability to deal with perceived rejection.