While fierce self-compassion takes action to alleviate suffering, tender self-compassion taps into the power of acceptance to heal distress. When we can simply “be with” ourselves as we are, soothing and validating our pain, we handle difficult moments with greater ease. By radically accepting ourselves and opening to the pain of life with tenderness, it doesn’t hurt so badly.
Tender self-compassion must always accompany fierce self-compassion, and this balance lies at the core of my new book Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power and Thrive.
Research shows that self-compassion allows us to cope with emotional difficulty without being overwhelmed, helping to prevent anxiety, depression, shame, stress, post-traumatic stress syndrome, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and a host of other negative outcomes. And yet because the warmth of tender self-compassion feels good, it is also increases positive outcomes like happiness, hope, and life satisfaction.