Comparing self compassion and self - esteem

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Comparing self compassion and self - esteem

  1. 1. <ul><li>Self-compassion versus self-esteem </li></ul>Kristin Neff, PhD University of Texas at Austin
  2. 2. <ul><li>Self-Esteem Movement </li></ul><ul><li>For decades, self-esteem was seen to represent optimal psychological health </li></ul><ul><li>Widespread movement (largely failed) to promote self-esteem in the schools </li></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem no longer held in such high esteem </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Two forms of self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>William James: Perceptions of competence in important domains </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perfectionism – some feel it’s important to be good at everything </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Slacker” phenomenon – some only value things they’re good at (ex. basketball vs. school) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Two forms of self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Charles Horton Cooley: Looking-glass self </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Self-esteem based on social approval </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More emphasis placed on approval from acquaintances than close others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can lead to conformity and lack of authenticity </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Problems with self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to raise self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Lake Wobegone effect – need to be special and above average to feel okay about oneself </li></ul><ul><li>Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. </li></ul><ul><li>Garrison Keillor </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The pursuit of high self-esteem may be linked to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Narcissism and self-centeredness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Me Generation - Self-esteem movement has led to an epidemic of narcissism among college students </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>The pursuit of high self-esteem may be linked to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prejudice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People often derive self-esteem from feelings of superiority (race, politics, religion, culture) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>The pursuit of high self-esteem may be linked to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ego-defensiveness (anger and projection) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anger and aggression is often higher among those with high self-esteem </li></ul></ul>Isn’t it going to be fun to get the respect we deserve?
  9. 9. <ul><li>The pursuit of high self-esteem may be linked to: </li></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem often contingent on appearance, competition, putting others down </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>The pursuit of high self-esteem may be linked to: </li></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem can be highly unstable, going up and down depending on our latest success or failure </li></ul>
  11. 11. Self-compassion vs. self-esteem <ul><li>Both self-compassion and self-esteem involve positive emotions toward the self </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-esteem based on evaluations of the self as worthy, likable or competent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-compassion does not involve self-evaluation, but entails positive feelings of care and connectedness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Both self-esteem and self-compassion offer protection against depression, anxiety, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Self-compassion does not have the same drawbacks as self-esteem </li></ul>
  12. 12. Self-compassion vs. self-esteem <ul><li>Unlike self-esteem, self compassion: </li></ul><ul><li>Is not associated with narcissism </li></ul><ul><li>Helps buffer against ego-threat (less anxiety) </li></ul><ul><li>Associated with taking increased responsibility for past mistakes while also being less distressed by them </li></ul><ul><li>Is more stable and less contingent </li></ul><ul><li>Provides greater connectedness - fewer social comparisons, less anger, better relationships </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Self-compassion versus self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Self-compassion de-emphasizes view of self as separate from others </li></ul><ul><li>Does not require defense of the ego </li></ul><ul><li>Self-compassion is (theoretically) always available </li></ul><ul><li>May be a healthier way to experience positive emotions toward the self </li></ul>

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