Self-Improvement How to Develop Fierce Self-Compassion With Bestselling Author Kristin Neff By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief Updated on July 07, 2021 Print Verywell / Julie Bang Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Meet Kristin Neff Why Kristin Neff Is Mentally Strong What You’ll Hear on the Show What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength Quotes From Kristin More About the Podcast Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life. Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts Meet Kristin Neff Kristin Neff is a pioneer in self-compassion research. She’s been studying self-compassion for more than 15 years. She’s the author of the bestselling book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself and the co-creator of a training program called Mindful Self-Compassion. She’s also an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. She’s written a new book called Fierce Self-Compassion, in which she describes how to know when to practice tender self-compassion and when to practice fierce self-compassion. Why Kristin Neff Is Mentally Strong Kristin talks about her own experiences with self-compassion. She shares the steps she’s taken to develop self-compassion over the years. She makes it clear that she isn’t perfect. And she talks about the mistakes she has made and the lessons she has learned along the way. In her books, she describes the strategies and techniques she applies to her own life. And invites others to experiment with the strategies that work well for her. What You’ll Hear on the Show The difference between tender self-compassion and fierce self-compassion Why women are socialized to practice tender self-compassion and men are taught to practice fierce self-compassion Why you shouldn’t shame your inner critic or beat yourself up for being too hard on yourself The emotional, social, and physical health benefits of self-compassion How to start cultivating self-compassion How to replace shame and blame with self-encouragement How to use physical touch to calm yourself down Why suppressing emotions doesn’t work How to balance self-acceptance with self-improvement Self Efficacy and Why Believing in Yourself Matters What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength The conversations you have with yourself greatly affect your mental health. Being overly critical of yourself can lead to mental health problems. And the more mental health problems you have, the less likely you are to talk to yourself kindly. It’s a cycle that can be tough to break. Treating yourself with kindness helps you build mental strength. And in turn, it may improve your mental health. But as Kristin says, you shouldn’t set out to develop self-compassion for the sole purpose of alleviating suffering. Instead, practice being kind to yourself because you’re worthy of kindness. When you respond to unhelpful thoughts with a kinder inner dialogue, you begin to create positive change. It takes a conscious effort to change the way you think, but with practice, it gets easier to become kind to yourself. Quotes From Kristin Kristin Neff There are people standing up and saying, ‘You will not harm me anymore. This is not okay. You can not treat me unjustly.’ That’s self-compassion. — Kristin Neff I realized that many people had a misconception about self-compassion. They thought it was only the tender, gentle, accepting side. Too much tenderness without fierceness is like complacency. But too much fierceness without enough tenderness is hostility.We have to accept and change at the same time. We have to accept that this hurts right now and I'm going to do what I can to help myself in the future. What we know very clearly from the research is that if we deny negative emotions or we try to suppress them, it actually just makes them stronger. More About the Podcast The Verywell Mind Podcast is available across all streaming platforms. If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too. Links and Resources Check out Kristin’s website: Self-Compassion.org Buy Kristin’s books Follow Kristin on Instagram @Neffselfcompassion The Verywell Mind Podcast, Episode 82: The Letter Everyone Should Write to Themselves Can Self-Compassion Make You Happier? How to Use Positive Self-Talk for Stress Relief By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk, "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.