My Favorite Mistake — 183: Psychologist Kristin Neff Was a “Mama Bear” in Defending Her Ph.D. Student and Had to Apologize

Professor, author, and researcher on “self-compassion”

My guest for Episode #183 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff.

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

She is the author of the books Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, and the 2021 follow up book— Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power and Thrive.

Kristin received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. While doing her post-doctoral work she decided to conduct research on self-compassion – a central construct in Buddhist psychology and one that had not yet been examined empirically.

I learned about Kristin’s work thanks to a mention of her by Dan Pink, my guest in Episode 137.

In this episode, Kristin tells her favorite mistake story about passionately defending one of her dissertation students who wasn’t passed by a new assistant professor. Why was Kristin being a “mama bear” and why was she called on the carpet by her department chair? What did she learn from this experience and how did she apply “self-compassion” to herself in this instance?

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • Before talking about self-compassion, people might have mistaken definitions of compassion… how do you describe the true meaning of compassion toward others?
  • HBR – self-compassion articles
  • “Self-compassion vs. self-esteem”
  • Finding the balance in acknowledging, reflecting, and learning vs. dwelling…
  • “Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly.” — can you share an example that illustrates that?
  • How can we practice self compassion when we realize we have made a mistake in our work?
  • Important to soothe ourselves before reflecting on our mistake? How we might do that?
  • Does it help us be self-compassionate when others are compassionate toward us when we make mistakes?
  • What Self-Compassion is not — mistaken views?
  • Self-Compassion free survey

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