Kristen Neff Ph.D., suggests that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be effective for increasing personal and academic success. Self-compassion entails being kind toward oneself in instances of pain or failure, thereby perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience. It allows for recognizing painful thoughts and feelings in a balanced awareness. When young learners are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, the result, as many studies indicate, are higher levels of personal well-being, optimism and happiness, and less anxiety and depression.
Students with high levels of efficacy, regulation, and self-compassion can strive for the most challenging goals. They believe they can succeed based on accurate perception while also exhibiting behaviors that promote and reinforce the attainment of goals. However, they are compassionate with themselves through the up and down journey of trail and error in learning, relationships, and development. This type of resiliency is precisely what students require for 21st century learning and for personal well-being.