Treat Yourself Right

“This book changed my life.”

It’s a claim that’s probably been around since the first book was created. And while there are plenty of legitimate instances that accompany this grandiose statement, it’s also been used more than a few times by cynical marketing departments to make a fast buck.

The second book in my Thanksreading series is a book that I can honestly say changed my life, and giving thanks for it doesn’t begin to properly express my gratitude.

Thanksreading 2

Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristen Neff was introduced to me via a counseling group I was part of just over a year ago. Look for it in a bookstore or online, and you’re likely to find it pigeon-holed as “self help,” a label that’s often trivialized by the lumping together of a wide swath of topics. Books like Neff’s are often shelved next to others about fad diets and dubious ways to get rich quick.

It’s unfortunate because Self-compassion is a valuable work to have on hand and should not be dismissed as a bit of trendy thinking.

If I had to boil the book down to a quick elevator pitch – and I do because I’m writing this – this would be it: You spend your days giving compassion to others, whether family, friends, co-workers, or strangers. Then when you need that same sort of compassion from yourself for something that’s happened, you beat yourself up over the problem instead.

Thanksreading 2 neff
Dr. Kristen Neff

But there are easy ways to change that, and that’s what Dr. Neff does.

Much of what the book suggests for developing self-compassion as an automatic response to situations seems simple and obvious, but taking those steps makes a huge difference. And I can say from personal experience that taking those steps made a tremendous difference in my life and turned a lot of things around for me.

If you’re the sort who struggles with anxiety and/or depression, or if you tend to beat the hell out of yourself, even over the smallest things, give this book a try. I think you’ll be as thankful for it as I am.

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