Self Compassion, not Self-Esteem, Enhances Performance

Juliana Breines

Juliana Breines

Self-compassion –  treating one’s own suffering with the same support and compassion offered to others – is more important than self-esteem in developing skill and performance, found University of California, Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen.

Self-compassion enables people to accept their mistakes, failures, shortcomings with kindness.
In addition, self-compassion enables awareness of painful thoughts and feelings with equanimity.
This approach is optimized when accompanied by accepting responsibility for unsuccessful performance outcomes, and using the information to non-punitively improve performance, they noted.

Serena Chen

Volunteers considered an actual personal setback or failure with self-compassion or self-esteem-enhancing perspective (considering one’s positive qualities and accomplishments).
Participants who practiced a self-compassionate perspective tended to view personal shortcomings as changeable, and felt more motivated to improve performance by avoiding the same mistake in the future.

Another task induced failure, then provided an opportunity to improve performance in a later trial.
Volunteers who viewed their initial test failure with self-compassion devoted 25 per cent more time to preparing for future trials, and scored higher on the second test than those who focused on bolstering their self-esteem.

Breines and Chen suggested that self-compassion can enhance performance because it enables more dispassionate assessment of actions, abilities, and opportunities for future improvement.
Self-esteem-bolstering thoughts may narrow focus to consider only positive characteristics while overlooking opportunities for improvement.

Kristin Neff

Kristin Neff

Self-compassion measures were related to positive personality characteristics outlined in Robert McCrae and Paul Costa’s five factor model of personality known by the acronym OCEAN:

Robert McCrae

Robert McCrae

  • Openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
  • Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
  • Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
  • Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind)
  • Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)
    in a study by Kristin Neff and Stephanie Rude of University of Texas, and Kristin Kirkpatrick of Eastern Kentucky University.
Paul Costa

Paul Costa

Neff’s team found that higher levels of personal well-being, optimism, initiative, conscientiousness, curiosity, happiness associated were associated with self-compassion.
In addition, higher self-compassion was related to lower anxiety and depression.

However “priming” participants to think of an important person in their lives was associated with more negative self-evaluations, self-criticism, and negative moods in research by Mark Baldwin of McGill University,

Mark Baldwin

Mark Baldwin

Research on evoked self-compassion and its negative partner, self-criticism, suggests that compassionate self-appraisals enable people to perform better and experience more positive moods than self-critical evaluations.

-*How have you applied self-compassion to improve performance?

Related Post
Working toward Goals with “Implementation Intentions”

Twitter:   @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook

©Kathryn Welds

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Self Compassion, not Self-Esteem, Enhances Performance

  1. Pingback: Steps to enhance self-esteem and nurture yourselfSuccess with Life Coaching

  2. Pingback: Self-compassion… | Wholeheartedness

  3. Pingback: Compassion for the Self-Critic | Health & Wellbeing Coaching with Edgar Danmer

  4. Pingback: Compassion Training Surpasses Empathy Training to Reduce Stress | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  5. Pingback: “Grit” Rivals IQ and EQ to Achieve Goals | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  6. Pingback: How Accurate are Personality Judgments Based on Physical Appearance? | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  7. Pingback: Gender Differences in Emotional Expression: Smiling | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  8. Pingback: Want to Remember Something You Read? Skip the Underlining – Exploding Learning Technique Myths | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  9. Pingback: Introversion and Extraversion Starts with Your Genes and Shows in Your Brain | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  10. Pingback: Self-Stereotypes Still Limit Women’s Performance | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  11. Pingback: Paradox of Potential: May be More Appealing than Achievement in Job Search | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s