Motivation, Inspiration and Life

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I have been exploring the idea of self-compassion through reading books on Eastern Religion, (Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, etc.) analyzing professional research articles, and practicing it in my daily life. I came across one study that was conducted which I feel has great insight into self-compassion. This study will be broken down into several posts because of the amount of information that is available! THIS IS PART II


Laura K. Barnard and John F. Curry (Duke University)

Self-Kindness Vs. Self-Judgement

“Self-kindness involves extending forgiveness, empathy, sensitivity, warmth, and patience to all aspects of oneself including all of one’s actions, feelings, thoughts, and impulses.” It involves unconditional self-worth; Being self-kind requires that even after failure we use positive affirmation to remind us that we deserve love, happiness, and affection.

Self-judgement is when one is “hostile, demeaning, or critical of one’s self or aspects of one’s self. People who are self-judgemental reject their own feelings, thoughts, impulses, actions, and worth. Self-judgment is often relentless and the pain it causes can equal or exceed the pain of the eliciting situation. However, self-judgment often feels natural to persons, so they may be unaware of” it. “Therefore, it is thought that part of becoming more self-kind is becoming aware of self-judgment and its harmful impact.”

Common Humanity Vs. Isolation

– “Buddhism asserts that we are all intimately connected, that it is an illusion to see oneself as separate from others, and that we all long for connection.”

– “Common humanity entails recognizing our connection to others, particularly in our confusion, sorrows, imperfections, and weaknesses.”

– “Common humanity involves forgiving oneself for being fully human—for being limited and imperfect.”

– Isolation happens when “people in times of pain or frustration feel cut off from others. Those who believe that they themselves, their failures, or their emotions are shameful often withdraw, hide their ‘true-selves,’ and feel that they alone struggle with particular inadequacies or failures.”

Mindfulness Vs. Overidentification or Avoidance

– “Mindfulness involves awareness of, attention to, and acceptance of the present moment.”

– “Mindfulness involves observing and labeling thoughts and emotions rather than reacting to them.”

– “Mindful attention is thought to help one deeply experience and learn from the present without the distractions of self-evaluations or worries about the past or future.”

– Overidentification and avoidance are two “opposite  alternatives”- they are polar opposites where mindfulness can be found in the middle between them.

– “Overidentification involves ruminating on one’s own limitations and is thought to result in a tunnel vision that prevents deep experiencing of the present moment”- People who over-identify may also “magnify the significance of failures.”

– The opposite of overidentification is avoidance.  “Avoidance of  painful experiences, thoughts, and emotions is believed to intensify negative feelings in the long-term and sacrifice increased understanding” of experiences and emotions.

-Mindfulness is “thought to help people explore and learn from thoughts, emotions, and experiences.”

Barnard, L. K. & Curry, J. F. (2011). Self-Compassion: Conceptualizations, correlates, & interventions. Review of General Psychology, 15(4), 289-303.



  1. Shelly
    May 24, 2012

    overidentification and avoidance…yep, both happen on the bipolar ends…mindfulness is helping me to stay closer to the middle most of the time.

  2. Pingback: Getting closer « onbeingmindful


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