New research at the University of Califfornia, Berkley, reveals self compassion, not self esteem, is key to success in life. If you want to be happy, self compassion meditation is the key.
Of all the subjects covered by self improvement books, perhaps the most poplar subject is self esteem. Amazon has 5000 books on the subject of self esteem, books that argue that self esteem is the number one key to success. It’s a viewpoint shared by the majority of Western civilisation.
Championing self esteem is only natural. After all, if you feel good about yourself you will be more motivated and generally happier. However, there’s one terrible pitfall about self esteem – it prevents us from accepting our failings.
If self esteem is about feeling great about yourself then you’re naturally inclined to turn your eye from the weaker sides of your character. Perhaps this is why recent research has revealed that self esteem does not, in fact, lead people to become more successful. It turns out that high self esteem causes people to think they are more successful but not to actually be more successful.
But if self esteem is not the key to success in life then what is?
Recent research by the University of California Berkley science department has shown that self compassion is actually more important than self esteem.
WHAT IS SELF COMPASSION?
Self compassion is the ability to observe and accept your own weaknesses and mistakes with understanding and kindness. Self compassion is accepting the less-than-awesome aspects of yourself in a nonjudgmental manner. Self compassion has been scientifically proven to improve optimism, happiness levels and personal wellbeing.
With self compassion, you are still aware of your shortcomings and mistakes and you still strive to be the best you can be, but you accept where you are at the present time being with understanding and compassion.
By accepting and understanding who we presently are, we gain knowledge. We recognise that, for example, we tend to forget things often. Were we looking from a point of self esteem we might say to ourselves “I have a great memory” even though, really, we don’t. This faulty viewpoint makes us incapable of working around our weak memory because we are choosing to ignore its existence.
In contrast, when we accept that our memory is not the best, when we recognise and understand this weakness in ourselves, we are then able to look objectively at ways to work around the problem.
So, the next time you screw up, accept it in a nonjudgmental manner. Be realistic and understanding. Recognise what went wrong and what led to the error. That way, you can work around the situation the next time around. And to establish this mentality you can practice self compassion meditation.
If you want to know how to be happy in life practice self compassion meditation, which is traditionally called Metta Meditation.
WHAT TO READ NEXT: