Recent research in the field of psychology points to the benefits of self-compassion on mental health. As a psychologist, I have found that many of us understand the concept of applying compassion or kindness to others, but struggle with applying compassion or kindness to ourselves. Self-compassion involves having compassion for and accepting our own suffering.
The psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach, talks about the Buddhist concept of the “second arrow” to which we are vulnerable in how we treat ourselves. The “second arrow” means that when we add a layer of self judgement to the difficulties that are already present, we add a second arrow of pain, and our suffering therefore becomes greater. Bringing self-compassion into the picture offers protection from that second arrow of suffering. It is important to note that this kindness extended to the self is not a denial or in any way self indulgent. The awareness, acceptance and self-kindness found in self-compassion allows us to exit the cycle of self reproach long enough to enter into the difficult relationship with ourselves that gets in our way.
Dr. McGehee researched the academic construct of Self-Compassion at The University of Texas, Austin, with one of the foremost experts in the academic field of Self-Compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff. In addition, Dr. McGehee and Dr. Neff have taught 8-week courses on Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Dr. McGehee continues to teach MSC. Please see “Events” for specifics.