Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up And Leave Insecurity Behind – Review

Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin NeffIn an earlier post about controlling your eating, I mentioned I was reading Kristen Neff’s book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up And Leave Insecurity Behind.

My fitness blogging buddy Marion Shaw asked me to write a review on the book, so here it is!


On the surface, Kristen Neff’s book has nothing to do with fitness or weight loss. Despite that, I  think it could be relevant reading for people who are trying to make healthy lifestyle changes.

And I think  it should be required reading for people who wonder why their attempts at motivating themselves by harsh self-judgments lead nowhere.


Kristin Neff is a psychology professor at the University of Austin, Texas. She started studying self-compassion after discovering Buddhist mindfulness meditation during her last year of graduate school. Because of Neff’s background, her book is a an interesting and – in my opinion – successful combination of western psychology and Buddhist tradition.

Even though the book covers a lot of research, it’s written for ordinary people who want to learn to be more self-compassionate. There are exercises for honing your self-compassion skills at the end of each chapter. For example, you get assignments for assessing your self-compassion, keeping a self-compassion journal plus exercises for living in the here and now and learning how to work with difficult emotions.

One of the most interesting chapters in the book is “Opting Out of the Self-Esteem Game”. It discusses the negative side of high self-esteem and why it isn’t the answer it was once purported to be.

I want to mention that the book is very well and clearly written. I’ve read my share of horrible books written by scholars, and I wouldn’t give them to my dogs to eat. 🙂 Neff’s book is not one of them.

My Takeaway Message

To me personally, the most important thing in the book was the discussion of why it’s fruitless to beat yourself up over your perceived failures. In Neff’s words:

If you had control over your maladaptive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you wouldn’t still have them. You would have already jettisoned your dark, anxious, neurotic persona and become a calm, confident ray of sunshine. Clearly you don’t have complete control over your actions, or else you’d only act in ways that you approved of. So why are you judging yourself so harshly for the way you are? [italics mine]

Click here to grab your own copy from Amazon!

Best Wishes,



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  1. Hi Satu! Thank you sweetie(!) for writing this review for me! Very Nice!

    Self-compassion–what an interesting topic. Kind of the opposite of Dobby the house elf’s (R.I.P.) banging his head on the wall when he’s upset in the Harry Potter movies. I’ve been thinking of Dobby a lot lately as I have not been practicing self-compassion much at all!

    I wonder if I need journaling more about self-compassion than anything else. Answering your author’s thought above: I do beat myself up–over upcoming *possible* failures for work. The potential failures haven’t even happened! I obviously don’t feel in control because I do judge myself harshly right now! I want to read this book!

    🙂 Marion

    BTW, I think I got rained on (dumped on) 8 different times today! One of those kinds of days! 😀

    • Satu says:

      The Dobby comparison is quite apt! 🙂 Expecting to control every aspect of your life is like banging your head on the wall.

      The idea that you can’t really be expected to control your own thoughts was really liberating to me. I’ve been a tad more relaxed in my life lately.

      I’ve heard that the weather in Illinois is bad at the moment!

      • I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin, but it is only about 80 miles away from Chicago Illinois. We do have the same weather as Illinois because of close proximity and both cities are on Lake Michigan.

        🙂 Marion

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