The Power of Self-Compassion and Inversion: Unlocking Confidence and Critical Thinking


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 23, 2023

4 min read


The Power of Self-Compassion and Inversion: Unlocking Confidence and Critical Thinking


In our quest for confidence and effective decision-making, we often turn to traditional methods such as boosting self-esteem and positive thinking. However, experts are now challenging these approaches, highlighting their limitations and offering alternative strategies. This article explores the concept of self-compassion as a source of genuine confidence and the benefits of inversion in critical thinking. By understanding these unconventional perspectives, we can enhance our personal growth and navigate life's challenges more effectively.

The Pitfalls of Self-Esteem:

While self-esteem is commonly associated with confidence, it is fragile and dependent on external validation. Christopher Germer, PhD, suggests that relying solely on self-esteem can lead to self-doubt and fear of failure. People become hesitant to take risks, learn, and grow, often giving up rather than trying again. Instead of solely pursuing self-esteem, experts propose embracing self-compassion as a more stable source of self-competence.

The Power of Self-Compassion:

Self-compassion involves showing kindness and understanding to oneself during difficult times, failures, or moments of self-doubt. Unlike self-esteem, which focuses on meeting external expectations, self-compassion acknowledges our inherent flaws and treats ourselves as fallible humans. By expressing concern for oneself and practicing self-compassion, individuals can foster resilience and create meaningful changes in their lives. This approach provides a stable foundation for genuine self-confidence.

The Two Sides of Self-Compassion:

Contrary to common misconceptions, self-compassion is not about complacency or accepting harmful behaviors. Dr. Kristin Neff explains that self-compassion encompasses both a tender side and a fierce side. The tender side recognizes that despite our flaws, we are still worthy and deserving of compassion. The fierce side encourages us to care for ourselves while actively working towards personal growth and positive change. By combining these two aspects, self-compassion becomes a catalyst for transformation and empowerment.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Ask Yourself: What Do I Need?

When faced with self-doubt or challenges, take a moment to inquire about your needs. By identifying what you truly require, you can provide yourself with the necessary support and care. This practice cultivates self-compassion and encourages personal growth.

2. Put a Hand on Your Heart:

Research suggests that placing a hand on your heart can lower cortisol levels and activate the vagus nerve, promoting relaxation and a sense of calm. Taking this simple physical action can help alleviate stress and foster self-compassion during difficult moments.

3. Figure Out When You Just *Don’t* Have It in You:

Recognize the negative emotions and thoughts that have been bothering you recently. Identify where these emotions manifest in your body, such as tension in your jaw or shoulders. By acknowledging these physical manifestations, you can bring awareness to your emotions and practice self-compassion towards yourself.

The Power of Inversion in Critical Thinking:

Inversion, a thinking tool employed by Stoics and great thinkers, involves considering the opposite perspective or focusing on what not to do. By imagining worst-case scenarios and identifying potential errors and roadblocks, we gain valuable insights and make better plans. Inversion challenges our initial assumptions and allows us to see situations from different angles.

Preventing Failure vs. Chasing Success:

Inversion encourages us to prioritize the avoidance of failure over the relentless pursuit of success. By identifying anti-advice and learning from mistakes and failures, we gain a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn't. Inversion prompts us to question the norm, break rules, and think unconventionally, enabling us to make more informed decisions.


The conventional approach of solely relying on self-esteem for confidence and positive thinking has its limitations. Instead, embracing self-compassion provides a stable foundation for genuine self-confidence and personal growth. Furthermore, inversion offers a powerful tool for critical thinking, enabling us to uncover potential pitfalls and seek unconventional solutions. By incorporating self-compassion and inversion into our lives, we can navigate challenges with greater confidence and make more effective decisions.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace self-compassion as a pathway to genuine confidence and personal growth.
  • 2. Practice physical gestures, such as placing a hand on your heart, to cultivate self-compassion during difficult moments.
  • 3. Utilize inversion as a thinking tool to challenge assumptions and uncover potential roadblocks in decision-making.

Incorporating these practices into our lives can lead to greater self-assurance, resilience, and critical thinking skills.

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