Self-care vs Self-compassion

Brevity has never been one of my strengths (ask my boys and husband)!  

While using this blog to share my personal thoughts, feelings and opinions on various subjects, I hope you'll bare with me as I navigate the waters of posting less than epic posts.  I have a book inside me friends, but it's my goal to share bits and pieces with you along the way to writing that book some day.

In this post I want to touch on self-care vs self-compassion. To be clear, there is a difference between the two and I've spent considerable time over the past few years researching this topic both for my work with clients as well as my own personal journey.

Let's start with a few definitions:


Merriam-Webster: care for oneself; the necessity of busy working parents to take time for self-care


Oxford Dictionary: the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health; the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.


Wikipedia: extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure or general suffering.

Dr. Kristen Neff is considered to be one of the leading experts in the world on self-compassion.  She was the first one to “operationally define and measure the construct” over a decade ago, and I am grateful to have heard her speak at a conference I attended a few years ago.

If you want to read more about Dr. Neff and her work on self-compassion, I highly recommend you start with visiting her website.  (CLICK HERE)

So let's break it all down to it's simplest form... in a nutshell self-care is taking time for yourself (your ME TIME) and self-compassion is cutting yourself slack or having compassion for yourself when you are having a tough time, fail or find something you don't like about yourself.

Do you practice either self-care and/or self-compassion?

For me, self-care has always been a priority in my life.  I'm not sure if it was the athlete in me that created boundaries early on in order to get my needs met when it came to my health or I just knew I was a better person to all those around me (especially kids, spouse and friends) when I took care of myself, both physically and mentally.  Self-care has shown up in my life in the way of consistent exercise, time with friends and family, my alone time and many glasses of wine! :)

Self-compassion is the one that is a fascinating and sometimes confusing journey for me.  You know from my last post (READ HERE), I am an "evolving perfectionist" and let me tell you, self-compassion is NOT easy for us!  I think as I get older I'm leaning more into practicing more self-compassion but truth be told it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm a Type A, organized, self-motivated, accomplished woman who is capable of getting s#*t done!  That's awesome until I fail at something, I've disappointed someone or the "hot mess" in me just shows up on any given day reminding me of my flaws and imperfections.

So now that I've shared what comes naturally to me, let me tell you I work everyday to practice self-compassion and the good news is.. it gets easier!  

Do you connect at all or am I the only one waving my freak flag today?

NO ONE has it all figured out, but I DO know that the more self-care and self-compassion we practice, the happier and healthier (mind/body/soul) we are!

Cheers everyone... here's to having a week filled with self-care and self-compassion! oxo