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The present study examined the link between self-compassion and concern for the well-being of others. Other-focused concern variables included compassion for humanity, empathetic concern, perspective taking, personal distress, altruism and forgiveness. Participants included 384 college undergraduates, 400 community adults, and 172 practicing meditators. Among all participant groups, higher levels of self-compassion were significantly linked to more perspective taking, less personal distress, and greater forgiveness. Self-compassion was linked to compassion for humanity, empathetic concern, and altruism among community adults and meditators but not college undergraduates. The strength of the association between self-compassion and other-focused concern also varied according to participant group and gender. The strongest links tended to be found among meditators, while women tended to show weaker associations than men.
Self-compassion is conceptualized as containing 3 core components: self-kindness versus self- judgment, common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus overidentification, when relating to painful experiences. Research evidence demonstrates that self-compassion is related to psycholog- ical flourishing and reduced psychopathology. Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an 8-week training program, meeting 2.5 hours each week, designed to help participants cultivate self-compassion. MSC contains a variety of meditations (e.g., loving-kindness, affectionate breathing) as well as informal prac- tices for use in daily life (e.g., soothing touch, self-compassionate letter writing). A detailed clinical case illustrates the journey of a client through the 8 weeks of MSC training, describing the key features of each session and the client’s response.