This article focuses on the construct of self‐compassion and how it differs from self‐esteem. First, it discusses the fact that while self‐esteem is related to psychological well‐being, the pursuit of high self‐esteem can be problematic. Next it presents another way to feel good about oneself: self‐compassion. Self‐compassion entails treating oneself with kindness, recognizing one’s shared humanity, and being mindful when considering negative aspects of oneself. Finally, this article suggests that self‐compassion may offer similar mental health benefits as self‐esteem, but with fewer downsides. Research is presented which shows that self‐compassion provides greater emotional resilience and stability than self‐esteem, but involves less self‐evaluation, ego‐defensiveness, and self‐enhancement than self‐esteem. Whereas self‐esteem entails evaluating oneself positively and often involves the need to be special and above average, self‐compassion does not entail self‐evaluation or comparisons with others. Rather, it is a kind, connected, and clear‐sighted way of relating to ourselves even in instances of failure, perceived inadequacy, and imperfection.
Neff, K. D. (2011). Self‐compassion, self‐esteem, and well‐being. Social and personality psychology compass, 5(1), 1-12.