53 Self Compassion Quotes to Inspire Kindness to Yourself

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Self compassion is a journey that many of us have to go on, particularly when it comes to chronic health issues or mental health recovery.

We are hardwired to push ourselves and be our own worst critics, but in today’s society this means that we’re more stressed and depressed than ever, setting standards that we aren’t capable of meeting.

The antidote? Self compassion.

black and white image of the back of a woman giving herself a compassionate self hug

On my own healing journey from trauma and both mental and physical health symptoms, I’ve had to learn to practise something that has never come naturally to me which is, of course, self compassion.

In fact, I recently went through a therapy called “compassion focused therapy”, which is largely centred around learning how to do just that.

When you’ve spent your whole life being mean and harsh on yourself, being compassionate doesn’t exactly come easily. It’s a whole mindset shift to start being kind to yourself when your immediate response is to criticise or beat yourself up.

Whether it’s during a challenging time, after a mistake you’ve made, or an opportunity you’ve lost, I think we could all benefit from cutting ourselves a bit of slack.

And if you want to learn how to do that, self compassion quotes are a great place to start.

I love reading quotes to get me into a different frame of mind and to learn from some of the world’s wisest thinkers. I also find them super validating when I can’t put my own thoughts or feelings into words.

Self compassion quotes helped to keep me accountable on my own journey to practising self kindness, when I had a tendency to slip back into old patterns of thinking that… weren’t so supportive.

In this post I’ll be sharing some of my favourite self compassion quotes to inspire you to be more kind to yourself.

My hope is that they can serve you on your self compassion journey and remind you of the value of extending the same compassion to yourself that you most likely extend to others.

Let’s get into it.

53 self compassion quotes for coping with difficult times

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What is self compassion?

Self compassion is, perhaps obviously, the act of being compassionate towards yourself.

But what does this actually mean in practice?

To be compassionate towards yourself means to treat yourself with kindness and consideration, especially during difficult times or hardship.

It is being able to cut yourself some slack and accepting “ok, I’m not perfect, but I don’t need to add to this difficulty by being mean to myself.”

In other words, it’s offering an alternative point of view to the typical “inner critic” that comes forth and tells us how awful we are when we make a mistake or aren’t exactly where we want to be in life.

Self compassion is instead being able to treat ourselves the same way we would treat a friend in a similar situation.

It is meeting ourselves with gentle empathy and giving us permission to be human!

woman smiling giving herself a compassionate hug wrapped up in a duvet

The benefits of self compassion

Self compassion can take a lot of practice (I should know, I had seven months of therapy that was predominantly centred around learning to be more self compassionate!)

But listen to me when I tell you that the benefits of self compassion are very much worth the effort it takes to get there.

I personally feel like a completely different person to before I started compassion focused therapy, and I can tell you that being more self compassionate has directly contributed to a better relationship with myself, life stressors, and even my chronic illness symptoms.

Here are some more benefits of self compassion:

"self esteem" in letter blocks on blue crumpled paper background

53 best self-compassion quotes to inspire kindness to yourself

Hopefully some of the aforementioned benefits of self compassion have already got you feeling inspired to practise being more kind to yourself.

But I know that shifting to a mindset of being more self compassionate can take time.

The following self compassion quotes are written by some of the world’s leading thinkers on self compassion (like Kristin Neff and Brene Brown), as well as some lesser known ones who are equally as wise.

My hope is that reading these quotes (and saving some for times of need!) will start you thinking in a more compassionate way towards yourself, so that you can experience some of those self compassion benefits for yourself.

So, without further ado, here are 53 of the best self compassion quotes to inspire kindness to yourself.

Self compassion quotes for self acceptance and love

These self compassion quotes will help you value practising self acceptance, especially during challenging times.

1. “You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”Louise Hay

"you've been criticising yourself for years and it hasn't worked. try approving of yourself and see what happens." Louise Hay self compassion quote

2. “Being human is not about being any one particular way; it is about being as life creates you – with your own particular strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges, quirks and oddities.”Kristin Neff

3. “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”Joseph Campbell

4. “It is a beautiful experience being with ourselves at a level of complete acceptance. When that begins to happen, when you give up resistance and needing to be perfect, a peace will come over you as you have never known.” – Ruth Fishel

5. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

6. “To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.” – E.E. Cummings

7. “I was once afraid of people saying ‘Who does she think she is?’ Now I have the courage to stand and say ‘This is who I am.’” – Oprah Winfrey

8. “Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.” – Deborah Day

"lighten up on yourself. no one is perfect. gently accept your humanness." Deborah Day self compassion quote

9. “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” – Brene Brown

10. “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou

11. “To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections.” – Sandra Bierig

12. “You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” – Amy Bloom

13. “One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others.”Bell Hooks

14. “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” – Maya Angelou

15. “One thing is for sure–you will make mistakes. Learn to learn from them, learn to forgive yourself, learn to laugh when everything falls apart because, sometimes, it will.”Vironika Tugaleva

"if you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."  Maya Angelou quote

Self-kindness quotes

These quotes are all about being kinder to yourself, letting go of negative self-talk, and watching how your relationship with yourself changes as a result.

16. “Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” – Christopher Germer

17. “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”Kristin Neff

"This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need." Kristin Neff self compassion quote

18. “Talk to yourself as you would someone you love.” – Brene Brown

19. “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”Jack Kornfield

20. “Whatever you do, be gentle with yourself.” – Sanoben Khan

21. “Self-compassion is nurturing yourself with all the kindness and love you would shower on someone you cherish.” – Debra Reble, PhD

22. “Practice self-compassion. Talk to and BE your own best, kind, compassionate, caring friend.” – Kristin Neff

"Whatever you do, be gentle with yourself." Sanoben Khan quote

23. “Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world.” – Pema Chodran

24. “Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.” – Tara Brach

25. “Most unhappy people need to learn just one lesson: how to see themselves through the lens of genuine compassion and treat themselves accordingly.” – Martha Beck

26. “Be nice to yourself… It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” – Christine Arylo

27. “Speak to yourself with self compassion on the inside and you will radiate peace on the outside.” – Amy Leigh Mercree

28. “We all have the tendency to believe self-doubt and self-criticism but listening to this voice never gets us closer to our goals. Instead, try on the point of view of a mentor or good friend who believes in you, wants the best for you, and will encourage you when you feel discouraged.” – Kelly McGonigal

"Be nice to yourself... it's hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time." Christine Arylo self compassion quote

Healing self-compassion quotes

These self compassion quotes are perfect for showing you the healing power of being more compassionate with yourself.

29. “Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, so that we can give from our surplus, our abundance. When we nurture others from a place of fullness, we feel renewed instead of taken advantage of.” – Jennifer Louden

30. “It’s like a mother, when the baby is crying, she picks up the baby and she holds the baby tenderly in her arms. Your pain, your anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, to recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get a relief.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

31. “If you do not respect your own wishes, no one else will. You will simply attract people who disrespect you as much as you do.” – Vironika Tugaleva

32. “I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.” – Kristen Neff

33. “The only person who can pull me down is myself and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” – C. Joybell C.

"The only person who can pull me down is myself and I'm not going to let me pull me down anymore." C. Joybell C. quote

34. “Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” – Pema Chodron

35. “Self-compassion is a way of emotionally recharging our batteries. Rather than becoming drained by helping others, self-compassion allows us to fill up our internal reserves, so that we have more to give to those who need us.”Kristin Neff

36. “Self compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect, and experience empathy.”Brene Brown

37. “You’re already stuck with yourself for a lifetime. Why not improve this relationship?”Vironika Tugaleva

38. “Healing takes self-compassion.” – Juansen Dizon

39. “A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” – Christopher Germer

"Daily reminder: healing takes self-compassion." Juansen Dizon quote

40. “To be self-compassionate is not to be self-indulgent or self-centered. A major component of self-compassion is to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with love, care, dignity and make your well-being a priority. With self-compassion, we still hold ourselves accountable professionally and personally, but there are no toxic emotions inflicted upon and towards ourselves.” – Christopher Dines

41. “Self-compassion: not judging yourself or allowing others to judge you, not blaming yourself, getting to know and accepting yourself, forgiving yourself, loving yourself, helping yourself overcome insecurities, respecting yourself and protecting yourself.” – Unknown

42. “We develop self-compassion when we are present with the inner child within us, when we are learning about him or her and understanding him or her.” – Teal Swan

43. “Self-compassion is an inoculate for the mind, protecting it from potential harm. Emotional disease cannot contaminate the minds of those who are wise enough to love and accept themselves.” – Miya Yamanouchi

44. “When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.” – Kristin Neff

45. “Of all the journeys to undertake, the one of self-compassion is one of utmost importance for long-term well-being.” – Anne Foy

"When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives." Kristin Neff quote

Mindful self compassion quotes

These mindful self compassion quotes encourage you to be more mindful about how you treat yourself and your emotional experience.

46. “Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through.”Kristin Neff

47. “We cannot change anything unless we accept it.” – Carl Jung

48. “What you resist, persists.” – Carl Jung

"We cannot change anything unless we accept it." Carl Jung quote

49. “Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks, what’s good for you?”Kristin Neff

50. “So why is self-compassion a more effective motivator than self-criticism? Because its driving force is love, not fear.” – Kristin Neff

51. “Self-compassion – being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure – is associated with more motivation and better self-control.” – Kelly McGonigal

52. “If you are continually judging and criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are drawing artificial boundaries and distinctions that only lead to feelings of separation and isolation.”Kristin Neff

53. “Taking time to relax every day, spending quality time with friends, and practicing mindfulness are some of the tried and tested ways of developing self-compassion.” – Dr. Prem Jagyasi

"Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you're good enough, self-compassion asks, what's good for you?" Kristin Neff quote

I really hope that these self compassion quotes have helped to open your eyes to the magic of being more kind and gentle with yourself.

I’d really encourage you to save some of the quotes that had an impact on you and return to them in times of need (like when your inner critic shows up!)

By gently returning to a mindset that is more loving and accepting of yourself, you can begin to transform your life and heal.

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And don’t forget to pin this post to come back to later!

53 Self-compassion quotes to be kind to yourself

Esther is the founder of Through the Phases, a wellbeing and healthy lifestyle blog dedicated to sharing mind/body/soul practices for self-exploration, healing, and fulfilment. She has a degree in Psychology, is yoga teacher trained (200hr), and is currently pursuing a Neuroscience MSc to further study the mind-body connection. Read more about her story here.

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