with Spencer Greenberg
the podcast about ideas that matter

Episode 097: Why is self-compassion so hard? (with Kristin Neff)

March 24, 2022

What is self-compassion? Why do people struggle so much to show themselves the same kind of compassion that they regularly show to others? How can parents find a successful middle ground between authoritativeness / harshness and permissiveness / love? Should our love for ourselves be unconditional? What's the difference between shame and guilt? What should we make of people who are neither compassionate nor cruel to themselves because they simply don't practice self-reflection? What factors during childhood lead to higher or lower self-compassion in adults? What religious, cultural, socioeconomic, or other factors contribute to differences in self-compassion? How can we still treat ourselves compassionately when we feel legitimate guilt over mistakes that have moral dimensions? Are there differences in self-compassion between men and women? What are the various components of self-compassion? How does compassion differ from related concepts like pity, sympathy, empathy, etc.? Why is it so important to us to have our feelings validated by others? Is it possible to have too much self-compassion? Do extremely antisocial people — like psychopaths or sociopaths, who typically seem not to have compassion for others — have self-compassion? Narcissists seem to "love" themselves, but is that the same as having compassion towards oneself? What are some common misconceptions about self-compassion?

Kristin Neff is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first empirical studies on self-compassion nearly twenty years ago. She has been recognized as one of the most influential researchers in psychology worldwide. She is author of the bestselling book Self-Compassion. Along with her colleague Chris Germer, she developed the Mindful Self-Compassion program, taught internationally, and co-wrote The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. Her newest book is Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive. For more info, go to

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Host / Director
Spencer Greenberg

Josh Castle

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