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