Definition and benefits of self compassion for adhd women


Benefits of self compassion for adhd women


In this post

  • ADHD women and why they struggle with shame
  • What self compassion is
  • Why self compassion helps with adhd
  • Fears of self compassion
  • Find out if you are self compassionate

Self-compassion has been shown to be beneficial for a wide range of populations, including those with ADHD.

Shame and self-judgement are common among women with ADHD. They may be quick to criticize themselves for any mistake, real or perceived. They may also be unable to forgive themselves for past errors. As a result, they can end up feeling trapped in a cycle of self-loathing and self-doubt. However, self-compassion can offer a way out of this negative spiral. When we are able to show ourselves compassion, we can learn to accept our mistakes and flaws. We can also develop a greater capacity for self-forgiveness. As a result, self-compassion can help to reduce the feelings of shame and inadequacy that so often plague women with ADHD.

In turn, this can lead to increased self-esteem and self-confidence. Ultimately, self-compassion is an essential ingredient in the journey towards healing and self-acceptance for women with ADHD.

The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion does a great job of summing up the research on what self-compassion is. It is mind-blowing. Learning how to be self-compassionate improves every facet of your life.

 Greater self compassion is linked to less anxiety and depression. This makes it an area worth exploring, and investing in. 

So what is Self Compassion?

Kristen Neff has divided the definition of self-compassion into the components of mindfulness, common humanity and self-kindness.

  1. Mindfulness is being able to face and be aware of our difficult feelings. I find that this in itself can be a challenging skill to learn. Most of us want to run from our difficult feelings because we don’t have the skills to face them.
  2. Common humanity is the awareness that we aren’t alone in our suffering. If we are having a difficult time or emotion, it’s likely that others in similar circumstances have or are currently having the same emotions or difficulties. Recognizing this helps to validate our experience, and decrease our sense of isolation.
  3. Self kindness is the intention to be kind and compassionate to ourselves. To want to relieve our own suffering. This can be cultivated and begins with the attempts to say kind words to ourselves in times of difficulty.

Self Compassion is hard but the benefits for women with ADHD are huge.

From these studies we know that the more self-compassion you have the less likely you are to be:

and the more likely you are to:

  • feel satisfied with life
  • cope well with your emotions
  • have good self-esteem
  • self-acceptance
  • be autonomous
  • feel competent and
  • get along well with others
  • feel happy
  • be optimistic
  • be curious
  • be agreeable
  • be conscientious

There is a plethora of compelling research, and more is being learned every day about the benefits of self-compassion for women with ADHD.

For now, know that it’s a really good idea to learn how to be more self-compassionate.

Fears of self-compassion

If it’s so great? Why aren’t more ADHD women practicing it?

Women are often afraid if they are self-compassionate they will never hold themselves accountable for doing anything important. The opposite is true. Self-compassion doesn’t mean JUST being nice to ourselves to soothe your pain and suffering. Self-compassion isn’t indulgent or avoidant. It is wise and skillful. Like good parenting, it loves and cradles you first, but then calls you to hold yourself accountable to be the best you that you can be and to make good choices for yourself.

Self-compassion is being mindful of our pain or suffering and intentional about soothing and comforting ourselves so that we can alleviate our suffering in a kind and wise way.

Wondering about the benefits of self-compassion for ADHD women?

You see how self-compassionate you are by using this tool developed by Dr Kristen Neff the self-compassion scale (SCS). This scale is used in the research studies that have been done over the past 17 years (there are well over 1000).

Shame and self criticism are huge issues for ADHD women. They often feel like they are not good enough and this keeps them from reaching their full potential. However, with self compassion these negative thoughts and feelings can be reduced or even eliminated. Research has shown that when ADHD women practice self compassion almost every area of their life improves including work productivity, mental health, relationships, and more. So if you’re struggling with shame and self criticism, try giving yourself some kindness and understanding instead. It just might be the change you need to reach your goals.

Stevens, L., & Woodruff, C. C. (2018). The neuroscience of empathy, compassion, and self-compassion London: Elsevier Academic press.

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