“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.
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.
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.