• Nadya Dich

Book Review

Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff


Psychologists used to think that high self-esteem is the answer to all woes. This book offers an alternative view: instead of striving for endless self-improvement and measuring ourselves against unrealistic standards, accepting ourselves with all our imperfections, blunders, and outright failures. The book presents compelling scientific evidence that high levels of self-compassion have the same benefits for overall happiness and life satisfaction as high self-esteem, without the downsides of the latter (for example, narcissism).


This new perspective feels like a whiff of fresh air in the suffocating culture of performance and perfection and offers exercises that can help reduce the stress coming from the constant pressure to achieve.


If I were to name one drawback of the book, it's the language. No, it's not bad, but I found it a bit too academic and somewhat dry considering the topic. On the other hand, the author shares a lot of very personal things, and I imagine it took a lot of courage to write about having an affair, ensuing divorce, new marriage, and an autistic child treated by shamans (enough spoilers, I won't tell you whether the treatment worked).






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