I listened to the audible version of this book in December 2017 in an attempt to understand what self love means. Kristin Neff proposes that it is more helpful to have self compassion than to have self esteem. With the practice of self compassion, we are able to face unavoidable suffering. Suffering is a natural and shared human condition and is not necessarily just sadness but also humiliation, anger, guilt, stress and any other bad feeling. When we feel that bad feeling in our stomach, Kristin Neff recommends that we say to ourselves:
This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is a part of life. May I be kind to myself.
The trick to this proclamation of kindness to ourselves is that we must say it just for the purpose of giving ourselves compassion and not to get rid of any bodily discomfort. Kristen Neff also asks, "How would we treat a friend who's going through the same thing we are going through?" For whatever reason, we tend to be kinder to our friends than we are to ourselves. Acknowledge that being human is to be imperfect. Everyone overreacts sometimes, it is only human.
One myth we often tell ourselves is that we must be self-judgmental otherwise we wouldn't be motivated to improve. The truth is it is much healthier to be motivated by good intentions. Love is more powerful than fear. Notice the emotional pain from our inner critic and give ourselves compassion. Put our hands on our heart and tell ourselves, "hey I know this is hard right now, and it’s only natural you’re feeling so stressed. I’m here for you." Let's change our inner dialogue to a more encouraging and supportive voice. Let's nurture ourselves and keep our hearts open.