Resisting self-compassion: Why are some people opposed to being kind to themselves?


Journal Article

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Although self-compassion is associated with positive emotions, resilience, and well-being, some people resist recommendations to treat themselves with kindness and compassion. This study investigated how people’s personal values and evaluations of self-compassionate behaviors relate to their level of self-compassion. After completing measures of trait self-compassion and values, participants rated how they would view themselves after behaving in a self-compassionate and self-critical way. Overall, participants associated self-compassion with positive attributes that connote emotional well-being, yet only those who were low in trait self-compassion associated self-compassionate responding with negative attributes that involve low motivation, self-indulgence, low conscientiousness, and poor performance. Participants’ endorsement of basic values was not meaningfully related to their evaluations of self-compassionate vs. self-critical behaviors or to self-compassion scores. We propose that self-compassion might operate as an instrumental value insofar as those high vs. low in self-compassion differ in their beliefs about whether self-compassion affects performance-related outcomes positively or negatively.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Robinson, KJ; Mayer, S; Allen, AB; Terry, M; Chilton, A; Leary, MR

Published Date

  • September 2, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 505 - 524

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-8876

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1529-8868

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15298868.2016.1160952

Citation Source

  • Scopus