See this illustration of Kristin Neff’s three steps for self-compassion

Neff, who has researched self-compassion for the last ten years, says self-compassion has three components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

In her article in the Shambhala Sun, Neff writes that “these components mutually interact to create a self-compassionate frame of mind. From this point of view, self-compassion is relevant to all experiences of suffering, whether cause by personal inadequacies and failures or by life situations outside of our control.”

Neff also writes, “Self-compassion means being more willing to experience difficult feelings and to acknowledge them as valid and important. The beauty of self-compassion is that instead of trying to get rid of ‘Bad’ feelings and replacing them with ‘good’ ones, positive emotions are generated by embracing our suffering with tenderness and care, so that light and dark are experienced simultaneously.