What are the 3 pillars of mindful selfcompassion?


self compassion

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Have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation and wished for the ability to be kinder to yourself? Mindful self-compassion is an essential tool for cultivating inner peace, resilience, and happiness. But what are the three pillars of mindful self-compassion?

The three pillars of mindful self-compassion are self-kindness, common humanity, and mindful awareness. Self-kindness involves being kind and gentle with yourself while navigating difficult emotions. Common humanity involves recognizing our shared experiences, rather than viewing ourselves as isolated individuals. Mindful awareness allows us to observe our experience without judgment.

We all experience moments of self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. Learning to have compassion for ourselves is a powerful way to cultivate inner peace and well-being.

Mindful Self-Compassion is an approach that helps us develop the capacity to be kind and understanding towards our own struggles, allowing us to live life from a place of greater acceptance and contentment. At the core of this practice are the three pillars of mindful self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. So if you’re ready to take your journey towards self-love, let’s explore what these pillars can do for you!

What is Mindful Self-Compassion?

Mindful self-compassion is an approach to life that helps us cultivate a sense of compassion and understanding towards ourselves. It encourages us to be kind, accepting and open to our own struggles, rather than judgmental or harsh.

The practice is based on three pillars: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness involves treating ourselves with kindness and understanding when we experience difficult emotions or painful experiences.

Common humanity reminds us that all human beings share in the same joys, sorrows, successes and failures—we are not alone in our suffering. Mindfulness helps us to be present in the moment without trying to push away or deny difficult feelings or experiences; instead we can observe them with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance.

When practiced regularly, mindful self-compassion can help us create a more peaceful relationship with ourselves and our inner world, allowing us to live life from a place of greater acceptance, contentment and joy.

Mindful self-compassion can be a powerful tool to cultivate a more compassionate and understanding attitude towards ourselves, leading us to live with greater acceptance and joy. Ready to learn more? Next, we’ll dive into the three pillars of mindful self-compassion that make up this practice.

The Three Pillars of Mindful Self-Compassion

Mindful self-compassion is a powerful practice that can help us build a kinder and more understanding relationship with ourselves. At its core, the practice centers around three main pillars: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Self-kindness encourages us to be gentle with ourselves when we experience difficult emotions or situations. Instead of being hard on ourselves or pushing away our pain, we can give ourselves some space to feel and observe our feelings without judgment.

Common humanity reminds us that all humans experience joys, sorrows, successes and failures—we are not alone in our struggles. This helps us to cultivate an attitude of understanding and compassion towards others as well as towards ourselves.

Finally, mindfulness helps us acknowledge the present moment without trying to escape from it or deny our suffering. We can observe difficult experiences with curiosity and acceptance instead of judgment or criticism.

By combining these three pillars into one practice, mindful self-compassion can help create a more peaceful relationship with ourselves and our inner world—allowing us to live life from a place of greater contentment and joy.


Self-kindness is essential to mindful self-compassion. It, along with common humanity and mindfulness, are the three pillars of this practice. To be kind and understanding to oneself in moments of distress and suffering is self-kindness. You can achieve this through self-acceptance, self-care, and self-forgiveness.

Let’s explore further how self-kindness can be applied to mindful self-compassion.

Acknowledge your suffering

Mindful self-compassion is an important part of having compassion for yourself. There are three pillars: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.

Self-kindness means pausing to take account of the current moment. Acknowledge your suffering, instead of avoiding it or being hard on yourself. Realize that all humans have limitations and imperfections – we’re all in this together!

Also, remember that even though you may be feeling strong emotions like anger or sadness when facing something hard, the emotion is just a response. It doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong. Instead of judging it, be gentle with yourself by recognizing your suffering. Kindness towards yourself, and your feelings, will help create empathy for yourself and others, as well as lessen the intensity of difficult emotions over time.

Practice self-compassionate affirmations

Using self-compassionate affirmations is a key to developing self-compassion. The aim of this is to use words that are kind and helpful, not unkind and critical. Self-kindness is when we treat ourselves like a cherished friend, with understanding and kindness.

Examples of self-compassion affirmations:

  • I’m doing my best with what I have.”
  • May I give myself the compassion I need now.”
  • Making mistakes is okay, I don’t have to get it right all the time.”
  • It’s okay to feel what I’m feeling, my pain matters.”
  • I accept my limits without judging myself.”
  • I deserve love, respect and kindness – starting with me!

By saying these positive phrases regularly, we can remember that feeling doubtful or not good enough is natural. But, we can manage it better by being kind to ourselves and offering support. Negative thoughts can lead to a cycle of distress – by changing our thinking to be more compassionate, we can become stronger when we feel overwhelmed.

Take time to rest and recharge

Mindful self-compassion is the act of showing ourselves kindness and understanding, just like we would for a special friend. This can include managing hard emotions like fear and anxiety, as well as honouring our needs for comfort and rest. To practice this fully, it’s important to dedicate time for self-care and take a break from our worries.

Research demonstrates that self-kindness leads to increased happiness and improved wellbeing, both in the short and long term. Three components are key:

  1. Self Kindness – Being kind, warm and understanding when we go through tough times.
  2. Common Humanity – Remembering that suffering is part of life, and connecting with others who feel the same.
  3. Mindfulness – Focusing on the present moment, without wishing things were different.

Rest and relaxation are key in practising mindful self-compassion. It reduces stress, improves mental clarity and brings emotional balance. Different people find solace in different things, like nature, yoga or meditation. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to explore what works best!

Common Humanity

Common Humanity is a key part of mindful self-compassion. It suggests that all of us, no matter our backgrounds, behaviors, or beliefs, are connected. We share a common humanity. This idea of oneness, and being interconnected with other humans, can be a strong aid in learning to have self-compassion. We all feel the same thoughts and emotions. Appreciating this commonality can help us to understand our own self-compassion.

Acknowledge that suffering is universal

Suffering, violence, and pain are everywhere in this world. We often forget that this suffering is not only in one community, but in all. Everyone can feel it, no matter their ethnicity, nationality, religion, or social class. We must admit that pain is part of life for all humans, no matter the differences.

Acknowledging our shared humanity is the groundwork for creating understanding and peace between different people. If we look beyond our differences to see what we have in common, such as love for family, grief at tragedy, then we can be kinder to one another despite our differences. Accepting each other’s suffering is a big step towards peace between individuals and nations.

Connect with others who have faced similar struggles

Mindful self-compassion means understanding that it’s normal to feel pain. You’re not alone. To do this, you can share how you feel with someone who will be supportive, like a friend, family or therapist. Or, you can just be with those emotions by yourself.

Additionally, self-compassion involves allowing yourself to gain from experiences that weren’t pleasant. It’s ok to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Creative activities such as art, music or writing can be very helpful for accepting yourself and exploring your feelings.

Practice self-compassionate communication

Communication is the exchange of thoughts and feelings, both verbal and nonverbal. Self-compassionate communication is a way to create understanding and connection between oneself and others through proficient communication skills. It involves awareness of how our words could cause pain or distress to ourselves or others, and methods to use dialogue that are more appropriate and considerate.

Self-compassionate communication has three fundamental pillars: empathy, honesty, and respect. Empathy is essential; being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes instead of attacking their opinion. This brings understanding to the conversation, as well as validating both parties’ views on the topic. Honesty is also crucial – ensure your words are from an open place, not one full of judgmental thoughts or manipulation, which can lead to misunderstanding. Respect is the foundation for any kind of compassionate dialogue; seeing each party as equal, and not entering a conversation with presuppositions of who should ‘win’ or ‘lose’.

When engaging in self-compassionate communication, make sure to take all three pillars into account, so the discussion remains sincere and understanding:

  • Empathy – being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes instead of attacking their opinion.
  • Honesty – ensure your words are from an open place, not one full of judgmental thoughts or manipulation.
  • Respect – seeing each party as equal, and not entering a conversation with presuppositions of who should ‘win’ or ‘lose’.

Mindful Awareness

Mindfulness is a key part of mindful self-compassion. It’s an attitude of openness, gentleness, and non-judgment. Practicing mindfulness lets us objectively understand our thoughts and feelings. We can recognize how we may be damaging our own wellbeing. Also, it helps to create more kindness and compassion for ourselves.

Practice mindful breathing

Mindful breathing is a great way to practice mindfulness and self-compassion. Pay attention to your breath simply as you inhale and exhale. Don’t try to change the pattern or rhythm. Just observe the sensations with acceptance and no judgment. This can bring a sense of calm and increased awareness.

It helps with all three pillars of mindful self-compassion – Non-Judgment, Common Humanity and Self-Kindness. You become aware of your thoughts without judging. You recognize everyone struggles in life. You also provide kindness, care, and understanding to yourself.

Mindful breathing keeps you in the present. Focus on your breath instead of future worries or ruminating over the past.

Observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment

Not judging our thoughts and feelings is a major part of mindful self-compassion. With mindfulness, we become aware of our situations without seeing them as good or bad. This helps us stay in the moment without acting on our feelings. It also builds a sense of inner peace.

By not judging, we can learn more about ourselves and other people. We can see that our experiences are complicated, even if our first reaction may be extreme. With practice, not judging can give us more objectivity and help us understand our world better.

Embrace the present moment with acceptance

Mindfulness is often praised for its importance in self-compassion. It is the foundation of the three pillars: kindness towards self, connectedness and awareness of the present moment without judgment.

We want to run from our worries or numb our feelings, but mindfulness helps us to accept whatever emotions arise. Feelings of discomfort allow us to grow. Our goal is to lean into, instead of running from, those uncomfortable emotions. This creates a strong base for understanding and emotional resilience during challenging times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the 3 pillars of mindful self-compassion?
A: The 3 pillars of mindful self-compassion are self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness means treating yourself with kindness and care, similar to how you would treat a good friend. Common humanity involves recognizing that all people experience suffering, and that you are not alone in your struggles. Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgement.

Q: How can mindful self-compassion help me?
A: Mindful self-compassion can help you to recognize and accept your own suffering, and offer yourself kind and understanding support. It can help you to build resilience, reduce stress and anxiety, and cultivate a sense of inner peace and well-being.

Q: What are the benefits of practicing mindful self-compassion?
A: The benefits of practicing mindful self-compassion can include increased self-care, improved relationships, increased emotional resilience and stress reduction, greater self-acceptance and improved self-esteem, and a greater capacity for joy and contentment.

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