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“Buck up.” “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” “Don’t ruin everything.” When you are anxious, sad, angry, or lonely, do you hear this self-critical voice? What would happen if, instead of fighting difficult emotions, we accepted them? Over his decades of experience as a therapist and mindfulness meditation practitioner, Dr. Christopher Germer has learned a paradoxical lesson: We all want to avoid pain, but letting it in--and responding compassionately to our own imperfections, without judgment or self-blame--are essential steps on the path to healing. This wise and eloquent book illuminates the power of self-compassion and offers creative, scientifically grounded strategies for putting it into action. Free audio downloads of the meditation exercises are available at the author's website: www.chrisgermer.com.
See also The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook, by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, which provides step-by-step guidance for building mindful self-compassion skills and applying them to specific life challenges, and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program, by Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff (for professionals).
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Self-Help Book of Merit
About the Author
Christopher Germer, PhD, has a private practice in mindfulness- and compassion-based psychotherapy in Arlington, Massachusetts, and is a part-time Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance. He is a founding faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and of the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion. His books include The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook and The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion (for the general public) and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program, Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy, and Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, Second Edition (for professionals). Dr. Germer lectures and leads workshops internationally. His website is https://chrisgermer.com.
"Those of us treating people who struggle with addictions know all too well how clients' feelings of shame or self-blame often undermine efforts to achieve effective interventions. In this remarkable book, Germer shows readers how to use mindfulness and self-compassion to open up to their pain and treat themselves with kindness. Ideal for recommendation to clients who have fallen off the wagon or who are blaming themselves for failed relationships, lost jobs, and scattered lives, this book offers a way out of a vicious cycle."--G. Alan Marlatt, PhD, Department of Psychology and Director, Addictive Behaviors Research Center, University of Washington
"In this important book, Christopher Germer illuminates the myriad synergies between mindfulness and compassion. He offers skillful and effective ways of making sure that we are inviting ourselves, as well as others, to bathe in and benefit from the kind heart of awareness itself, and from the actions that follow from such a radical and sane embrace."--Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, author of Arriving at Your Own Door and Letting Everything Become Your Teacher
"Loving-kindness and compassion are the basis for wise, powerful, sometimes gentle, and sometimes fierce actions that can really make a difference--in our own lives and those of others....In the following pages you will find a scientific review, an educational manual, and a practical step-by-step guide to developing greater loving-kindness and self-compassion every day."--from the Foreword by Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness
"Self-compassion is the ground of all emotional healing, and Dr. Germer has produced an invaluable guide. Written with great clarity, psychological wisdom, and warmth, this book will serve anyone seeking practical and powerful tools that free the heart."--Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance
"Explains both the science and practice of developing kindness toward ourselves and others. Dr. Germer offers powerful and easily accessible steps toward transforming our lives from the inside out. It's never too late to start along this important path."--Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of The Mindful Brain
"An elegant and practical guide to cultivating self-compassion, by a dedicated and wise clinician and meditation teacher. The author offers time-honored practices and exercises with the potential to illuminate and transform the background chatter of our minds that determines so much of the course of our lives."--Samuel Shem, MD, author of The House of God
"Very well written....filled with practical suggestions and methods....Both the reasoning supporting the importance of the method and the method itself are presented in a clear and compelling fashion. I felt excited, touched, and enriched as I read on, and I am sure most readers will have a similar response....Offers a good integration of Eastern spirituality with Western science to make a compelling argument for the values and effectiveness of mindfulness and compassion meditation. Not only is the argument clear and convincing, but the book also offers plenty of practical aids....Should you read this book? Enthusiastically, yes....An excellent review of the evidence for mindful self-compassion in a psychoeducational manual and a step-by-step guide to developing awareness, self-compassion, and loving kindness."
"A very accessible introduction....[Germer] writes in a relaxed style that makes the book easy to read, without skimping on detail....The layout is clear and uncluttered, with a mix of explanation, theory, practice, along with case study examples from Germer's own life and that of his clients. There are useful websites scattered through the book....Mindfulness could well become an important part of my own self-care, which will also feed into my client work. This book is a helpful start and a handy resource."
— Independent Practitioner
"In this intelligent, concise, and easy-to-read book, Christopher Germer presents an exciting synthesis of mindfulness and self-compassion that is much needed and long overdue. Drawing upon decades of practice as a clinician and meditator, Dr. Germer offers a rich and insightful guide to emotional healing. While thoroughly covering the relevant psychological research, the book is written for a general audience, and will be of enormous benefit to both therapists and their clients....Germer's narrative voice is warm, gentle, and down-to-earth. His years of meditation practice have clearly paid off in the writing of this book: every word is infused with wisdom and compassion. An invaluable guide to anyone wanting to learn how to transform their relationship with difficult emotions, this important book will undoubtedly change the lives of many who read it."
— British Journal of Psychology