Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 98 – Dr. Kristin Neff

Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 98 – Dr. Kristin Neff

For episode 98 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon shares a conversation with Dr. Kristin Neff Ph.D.

Dr. Kristin Neff is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first studies on self-compassion fifteen years ago. She is the author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself and The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook.

In this conversation, Sharon and Kristin speak about how Kristin came to specialize in the work of self-compassion, and the nuances between self-esteem and self-compassion. They discuss many of the scientific discoveries about self-compassion that research has uncovered, and how these findings debunk many of the cultural myths surrounding compassion today. The conversation closes with Kristin leading a 10-Minute guided meditation on balancing Compassion Burnout. Learn more about Kristin’s work at

Compassion Turned Inward

Dr. Neff talks about her pioneering research in the field of self-compassion. She and Sharon discuss the role of self-compassion in our lives.

“The sense of self-worth, we know through research, is much more stable when it comes from self-compassion.” – Dr. Kristin Neff

How We Cope (7:20)

Kristin shares the most recent study results around the measurable effects of practicing self-compassion. Dr. Neff looks at the different ways that self-compassion influences how we experience internal and external stress. She and Sharon explore how our response to stress determines the outcome of a difficult situation – will the situation tear us down or build us up?

“It is not even just what life throws at you, it is how do you relate to yourself when times are difficult. Do you cut yourself down? Do you hang your head in shame or feel all alone? Or do you hold yourself with this kind of mindful presence? When you do that, you are going to be much more able to cope with the difficulties.” – Dr. Kristin Neff

The Components of Compassion (13:00)

What are all the elements of compassion practice? Dr. Neff looks at all of the components of a compassionate response to a difficult situation.

Options for Action (39:30)

Sharon and Kristin talk about how compassionate action manifests differently for each person. They discuss ways we can set our egos and roles aside to allow for compassion to heal. In doing so, we open to our unique needs and the unique needs of others, so that each of us can be attended to in the ways that we need.

Compassion for Our Pain (48:50)

Kristin closes with a 10-minute meditation practice focused on bringing compassion to ourselves when we are caring for someone else who is suffering.

Dale Borglum shares a guided meditation practice that creates space for self-compassion and clarity on Ep.26 of the Healing at the Edge Podcast

What can death teach us about radical compassion, courage, and connection? Death provides the wondrous awareness that we are part of something greater. Why wait until the end of your life to learn its vital and inspiring lessons? Why wait to feel whole, connected, and courageous until the time to act has passed?
Join Buddhist teacher and activist Frank Ostaseski for this weekend workshop August 2 – 4. Together with fellow seekers, you will share the distilled and hard-won lessons synthesized from 30 years of working with dying. Learn more: Radical Compassion, Courage, and Connection


Images via Kristin Neff