Today there is a coach walk on the program. One about difficult emotions. Sadness, fear, anger, shame, despair and defeat. How can you best deal with it, at work and at home? Based on a conversation and some exercises we are going to work. A beautiful gift, such a walk. Both for the client and for me, the coach. It helps the both of us to reflect on what is going on inside us. And thus dealing in a way that makes us more effective: mindfull self-compassion.

Like a friend

The term mindfulness is probably familiar to you: the power to be fully aware of your experiences, in a non-judgmental way. The skill that helps you to live intensely, to make conscious choices, and to learn and to be creative more easily. But you are also familiar with the related concept of self-compassion, and how this helps to better perform? No, I ‘m not talking about self-pity, where you let yourself be carried away by your personal drama and you feel like an isolated victim. What self-compassion is about then? Simply put, having compassion for yourself.

  • If you are going through something that touches on your emotions, don’t ignore your feelings, but let them emerge in a balanced way: don’t suppress, but do not overdo it either.
  • Do not immerse in self-criticism, but give yourself the inner recognition you deserve.
  • Encourage yourself, be understanding, have empathy and patience.
  • Realize that you’re not the only one who comes across something this heavy.
  • Be just as warm and gentle to yourself as you would be to a friend.


Do you think this ‘soft stuff ‘ isn’t for you? That speaking to yourself strictly is the way to take action and achieve your goals? The opposite is true, says psychologist, researcher and author of the book Self-Compassion, stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind, Kristin Neff:

‘Self-criticism undermines the motivation (and thus your ability and effectiveness, NS). Self-Compassion puts you in the best position to do your best.’ In her TEDxTalk Kristin explains why (from 09:41)

Scientific research shows that self- compassionate people are more successful. Self-compassion can reduce stress and improve your performance. If you look towards a situation from a nonjudgmental, gentle attitude, it is easier to accept the facts as they are, and to learn from your mistakes.

Test yourself

Curious how selfcompassionate you are? Take the online test by Kristin Neff.

More Self-compassionate in practice

Did you receive the results and are you are wondering how you can increase your level of self-compassion? Grant yourself a self-compassionate coaching session as well! Are you not able of providing yourself with that opportunity? Try using this writing exercise.

Step 1: Choose a topic which makes you feel insecure or bad about yourself. This could be your appearance, issues at work or at home, for example.

Step 2: Write down what emotions come up when you think about this topic. Are you scared or sad, depressed, insecure or angry? Try to feel your feelings very precisely – mindful – and put it on paper as accurately as possible. Without suppressing or exaggerate them. No one needs to read what you write, so you can be as honest as possible .

Step 3: Imagine an (imaginary) friend that loves you unconditionally. Someone who is kind and gentle. Reflect on how this friend accepts who you are, with all your human imperfections. Including that which you have just written about.

This friend knows the human limits and is forgiving. In his or her great wisdom he or she understands your life history. This friend is aware of the millions of things that have made you the person you are. Things that you have not always chosen to be there of have happened, and which you often can not control. Your genes, your family history and your living conditions, for example.

Step 4: Write yourself a letter from the perspective of those friend. What would s/he say to you about your ‘wrongness’? How would this person convey the deep compassion he or she feels for you, especially for the pain you feel when you judge yourself harshly? What would this friend put in writing to remind you that you are only a human being, and that all human beings have both strengths and weaknesses? And when you think of the things that this friend would propose to change, how would those express an unconditional understanding and compassion? Try to write a letter from his or her strong sense of acceptance, kindness, caring, and desire for your health and happiness.

Step 5: Have you finished writing? Put the letter away. Grab it after a while and reread it once again. Feel the compassion that comes with it, as well as soothing and comforting effect.