4 Books for Fostering Self-Compassion

What if I were to tell you that self-compassion could make you a healthier person, both mentally and even physically? That’s what the research is showing, linking self-compassion to better health outcomes, lower anxiety and depression, and can even have a positive effect on chronic illness. But what is self-compassion?

Researcher and author Dr. Kristin Neff is one of the foremost faces leading the way in the area of self-compassion. She defines this practice as three elements:

  1. Self-Kindness: Rather than judgement for our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we practice gentleness and understanding with ourselves.

  2. Recognition for our common humanity: We don’t need to be alone in our pain. We recognize that suffering is a human-kind experience and connects us.

  3. Mindfulness: (I love how she says this…) “We hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it.”

So why practice self-compassion? When we have this posture towards ourselves, it provides us with the space to experience our emotions and feelings without being swept away by them; it allows us to have empathy for the choices we have made; and it gives us the opportunity to unite with others who have experienced pain and suffering in their lives as well. Self-compassion makes for greater leaders, better relationships, more effective parenting, and an increase in overall health.

If you’re anything like me, when I began learning about this practice, I wanted to know more, to learn more. So I’ve rounded up four amazing books for learning more about the art and practice of self-compassion.

Reading books on the topic can be a helpful and effective way to gain knowledge on how to begin practicing self-compassion with yourself. Sometimes, we find that in exploring how we show up for ourselves, we find areas of pain and unmet needs that may need to be worked through towards healing. If you find that you’d like to explore this area further, contact one of our therapists to learn more about working with us.

Tell us, do you practice self-compassion? What are your favorite resources and places to find encouragement?


Erin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate passionate about empowering women to create vibrant lives full of joy, helping them make peace with their story, and coming alongside couples to overcome patterns and build relationships they’ve always wanted. Erin enjoys exploring the PNW with her husband and two kids, finding the best foodie spots, or reading a good book. You can find her speaking about self-compassion, yoga, and more counseling related topics on Instagram; to find out how you can work with Erin click here.