Today I learned, in Social Psych, that self-compassion may be even more important than self-esteem in terms of how people moderate the effects negative events have on their lives. According to studies done by Neff (2003) and Leary (2007), people who are more understanding and forgiving of their own mistakes are less likely to become depressed or act in a self-defeating way. They’re more likely to show resilience in the face of failure. Previously, psychologists thought self-esteem was the primary moderator in the relationship between negative events and the effect they have on peoples’ lives and well-being. According to these articles, most of this relationship is in fact due to the unique effects of self-compassion. I’ve been learning to be self-compassionate instead of self-defeating for a long time.
In fact, had I given up when I got the worst grades of my life during the second semester of my freshman year at HWS, I never would have stumbled into intro-psych. My failures, instead of getting the better of me, showed me a new path. I’m very grateful to have found something that interests me and that I would be very happy to continue researching for the rest of my life.
Interestingly, the commencement speech Brad Falchuck gave during my graduation ceremony addressed this very thing. He encouraged us to go out and fail as hard as we could. As the creator of American Horror Story and Glee, he’s incredibly successful and also very good at creating characters. The best ones, he said, are the ones that emerge triumphant out of crushing failure. He’s right. It’s my job to write my own story, and I’m not afraid of failure. I just hope that I find a way to make the best of it whenever it appears.
On a slightly happier note, Ashley came home to a very loving Dezie today. They’re featured in the post’s cover image. And, when I got out of the Classroom Dungeon into which my Mondays disappear, I found this beautiful sunset:
So today I’ve learned (re-learned) the value of forgiving your own failures in order to move forward and find the silver lining that will enhance your life. I’ve enjoyed some quality housemate and puppy bonding. I’ve eaten leftover pizza and a delicious breakfast sandwich. And, at the gym today, I even got back on the erg. I hate the erg, but I know it gives me a good workout. Ashley is encouraging me to lift more weights. I’m encouraging her to do more core work and run with me. I’m liking this gym buddy partnership!