Writing for Self-Compassion


Writing for Self-Compassion


A lack of self-compassion is common in our highly competitive society. By learning to treat ourselves with kindness and compassion we can increase our contentment, emotional well-being, resilience, and courage. This exercise is designed to help cultivate and promote self-compassion through writing.



First, write about an aspect of yourself that you judge and dislike. Next, write a letter to yourself from the perspective of a good friend and then read it aloud while practicing taking in the good.

Long Version

Step One

  • Choose an aspect of yourself or life that you dislike and criticize. It can be something that makes you feel ashamed, unworthy, inadequate, or self-conscious.
    • Examples may include appearance, career, relationships, health, etc.
  • Write in detail about how this perceived inadequacy makes you feel. What thoughts, images, emotions, or stories arise when you think about it?

Step Two

  • Now, recall or imagine a friend or family member who is unconditionally loving, accepting, and supportive.
  • Imagine that this person knows everything about you, including your background, genes, upbringing, and who you really are as a person. Imagine they know all if the various factors and events that have lead up to your life right now.
  • Now write a letter to yourself from that friend about how they view and explain your perceived shortcoming.
  • Write from a place of deep kindness, understanding and non-judgmental acceptance.
  • Keep in mind that all beings are imperfect, and want to be happy and free from suffering.

Step Three

  • After you finish writing, read the letter aloud to yourself and pay attention to how it makes you feel.
  • Later read the letter again, practicing taking in the good and experiencing how it feels in your body, heart, and mind.
  • Feel the love, compassion, and acceptance that exist within you.


This method was adapted from Kristen Neff’s self-compassion exercise called Exploring Self-Compassion Through Writing.  Additional exercises can be found on her website www.self-compassion.org


Don’t be discouraged if you do not immediately feel compassion for yourself after writing this letter. Self-compassion takes time to develop and you are taking steps to cultivate it by doing this exercise.

See Also

Self-Compassion Pause
Emotional Validation

External Links

Kristin Neff explains self-compassion

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