Utne Blogs > The Sweet Pursuit

The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive

The Self-Compassionate Caregiver


Those who have taken care of a seriously ill partner, a child with special needs, or an incapacitated parent on a long-term basis know the relentless, sapping strain of it. Kristin Neff—a professor of human development and mother of an autistic son, writing for Psychology Today—opines that every caregiver should practice self-compassion to “recharge our batteries and have the emotional energy needed to serve others.”

What, exactly, is self-compassion? Neff turns to the writings of various Buddhist scholars to draw out three main components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. She explains:

Though we can all benefit from practicing self-compassion, Neff sees it as crucial for overburdened, and sometimes underappreciated, caregivers. “Not only will it help to get through difficult situations,” she says, “it will lead to greater happiness and peace of mind.” She continues:

Want to find out how much self-compassion you have? Take Neff’s online test.

Source: Psychology Today  

Image by kevinpoh, licensed under Creative Commons.