Self-compassion, empathy and helping intentions

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Self-compassion, empathy and helping intentions

The trait of self-compassion has three components: (1) kindness toward oneself when facing pain or failure; (2) perceiving one’s experiences as part of a larger human experience rather than feeling isolated; and (3) holding painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness. The present research explores if self-compassion predicts willingness to help others and empathy for others in need of help. Study 1 found that self-compassion predicted greater willingness to help a hypothetical person while simultaneously reducing empathy for that person. Study 2 used a more nuanced measure of empathy and found that self-compassion was only related to feeling less personal distress in response to someone else’s emergency. In addition in Study 2 self-compassion only predicted greater helping intentions when the target was at fault for the emergency. Lastly both self-compassion and empathy were uniquely related to participants’ willingness to help an individual in need.

The Journal of Positive Psychology , 2013

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