The Self-Acceptance Project: How to Be Kind and Compassionate Toward Yourself in Any Situation (Paperback)
Even after years of spiritual practice, self-improvement, or therapy, many of us still have trouble with one essential challenge: self-acceptance. How do we stop from constantly judging ourselves as inadequate, finding fault with our bodies, or being plagued by our inner critics? The Self-Acceptance Project was created to help us find a solution. In this collection of essays, contemporary luminaries in spirituality, psychology, and creativity offer insights and teachings for truly embracing who we are no matter what our circumstances, including:
• "Waking Up from the Trance of Unworthiness"—Tara Brach illuminates the source of self-rejection and offers a powerful process to reverse unconscious patterns
• "Compassion for the Self-Critic"—Dr. Kristin Neff shows how self-judgment is often a misplaced but well-meaning survival instinct
• "Held, Not Healed"—Jeff Foster on making the space to accept anything that arises with open-hearted curiosity
• "No Strangers in the Heart"—poet Mark Nepo helps us reconnect to the sense of deep aliveness that we were born with
• "Taking in the Good"—Dr. Rick Hanson offers effective neuroscience-based insights and practices for overcoming our "negativity bias"
• "Transforming Self-Criticism into Self-Compassion"—Dr. Kelly McGonigal reveals practical strategies for changing the habitual way we treat ourselves
Why is it often so much easier to feel compassion and forgiveness toward others than toward ourselves? Where do our self-critical voices come from? Can we be motivated to grow and excel while still accepting ourselves as we are? In these 19 offerings, some of today’s most trusted teachers share their most valuable practices and techniques for building confidence, transforming our relationship with our inner critics, and using any circumstance as an opportunity to treat ourselves with kindness, compassion, and love.
About the Author
TAMI SIMON founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She has dedicated her life to transformational learning and accelerating spiritual awakening in the world. Tami hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she interviews many of today’s leading teachers and luminaries. She lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Raspberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.
Sounds True strives to preserve the essential "living wisdom" of each author, artist, or spiritual teacher we publish.
Tara Brach has been practicing and teaching meditation since 1975, as well as leading Buddhist meditation retreats at centers throughout North America. She is a clinical psychologist, the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW), and the author of Radical Acceptance (2003) and True Refuge (2013). Visit Tara Brach's website.
Friedemann Schaub, MD, PhD, is a physician specializing in cardiology and molecular biologist who has helped thousands of people to overcome fear and anxiety with his breakthrough and empowerment program that combines his medical expertise with NLP, Time Line Therapy™, clinical hypnotherapy, meditation, and more. Dr. Schaub is the author of the book The Fear and Anxiety Solution, an in-depth resource to complement his audio program of the same title.
Karla McLaren, M.Ed., is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and empathy pioneer. Her work focuses on her grand unified theory of emotions, which revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. She is the CEO of Emotion Dynamics LLC and the developer of the Empathy Academy online learning site.
Karla is the author of Embracing Anxiety, The Dynamic Emotional Integration Workbook, The Art of Empathy, The Language of Emotions, and the multimedia online course Emotional Flow: Becoming Fluent in the Language of Emotions.
Jay Earley, PhD is a psychologist, group leader, psychotherapist, teacher, and theorist. He is a specialist in IFS Therapy and the author of numerous books, including Self-Therapy. See personal-growth-programs.com.
Erin Olivo, PhD, is an assistant clinical professor of medical psychology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is the former director of the Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, which she headed in collaboration with Dr. Mehmet Oz. Dr. Olivo has intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and clinical hypnosis, and has a psychotherapy practice in New York City. Learn more at erinolivo.com
Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. is a therapist and educator with over 25 years of experience working with couples and singles seeking intimate partners. A former professor at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, he holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion from the Divinity School, University of Chicago. His books include Getting the Love You Want; Keeping the Love You Find; and the Couples Companion; co-authored with his wife, Helen Hunt, M.A. They have six children and live on a ranch in New Mexico. Visit Harville's website at www.gettingtheloveyouwant.com.
Kristin Neff, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a practitioner in the Insight Meditation tradition. She is the author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. A true pioneer in the field, over 15 years ago she first identified self-compassion as a measurable trait, and now there are over a thousand published studies on its benefits. Kristin is a cofounder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, and gives talks and teaches workshops on self-compassion worldwide. In addition to her research, she has developed an eight-week program to teach self-compassion skills called Mindful Self-Compassion. The program, co-created with her colleague Chris Germer, has been taken by tens of thousands of people worldwide. Kristin and Chris recently co-authored The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook, an immediate bestseller. Learn more at self-compassion.org.
Judith Blackstone, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychotherapist in New York and an innovative teacher in contemporary spirituality. Her published works include the books Belonging Here, The Enlightenment Process, The Empathic Ground, and The Intimate Life, as well as the audio learning course The Realization Process.
Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT, has been in private practice since 1979, has taught at Naropa University for 25 years, and has given presentations in the US, Mexico, and Japan. A practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism for more than 35 years, he had the good fortune to be a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and to meet a number of realized teachers.
Jeff Foster shares from his own awakened experience a way out of seeking fulfillment in the future and into the acceptance of "all this, here and now." He studied astrophysics at Cambridge University. Following a period of depression and physical illness, he embarked on an intensive spiritual search that came to an end with the discovery that life itself was what he had always been seeking.
Raphael Cushnir is a leading voice in the world of emotional connection and present moment awareness. He has shared his unique approach to personal and professional development with millions of readers in O, The Oprah Magazine; Beliefnet; Spirituality and Health; Psychology Today; and The Huffington Post. He is the author of six books, lectures worldwide, and is a faculty member of the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. In addition, he coaches individuals and teams at Fortune 100 companies, governments, religious organizations, and leading non-profits.
Geneen Roth is a writer and teacher whose work focuses on using addiction as a path to the inner universe. She has written bestselling books and is a frequent guest on national radio and television shows, including 20/20 and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her newest book is Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything.
Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for over 35 years. ANew York Times#1 bestselling author, he has published numerous books--including The Book of Soul, The One Life We're Given, and Drinking from the River of Light--and recorded multiple audio projects.
Mark has been interviewed three times by Oprah Winfrey as part of herSoul Seriesradio show, and was interviewed by Robin Roberts onGood Morning America. As a cancer survivor, Mark devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. Mark's work is widely accessible and used in spiritual retreats, healing and medical communities, and more. His work has been translated into 20 languages, and he continues to offer readings, lectures, and retreats.
Rick Hanson, PhD, is a psychologist, senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times bestselling author. His books are available in 26 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin and has numerous audio programs. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he’s been an invited speaker at NASA, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, and other major universities, and has taught in meditation centers worldwide.
Dr. Hanson has been a trustee of Saybrook University and has served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. His work has been featured on the BBC, CBS, and NPR, and he offers the free Just One Thing newsletter with 135,000 subscribers, plus the online Foundations of Well-Being program in positive neuroplasticity that anyone with financial need can do for free.
He enjoys rock climbing and taking a break from emails. He and his wife have two adult children.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a health psychologist and award-winning lecturer at Stanford University. A leading expert on the mind-body relationship, her work integrates the latest findings of psychology, neuroscience, and medicine with contemplative practices of mindfulness and compassion from the traditions of Buddhism and yoga. She is the author of The Willpower Instinct and Yoga for Pain Relief.
Colin Tipping was born in England and taught at London University before immigrating to the United States in 1984. With his wife JoAnn, he co founded the Georgia Cancer Help Program and Together-We-Heal, Inc., and founded The Institute for Radical Forgiveness Therapy and Coaching. Tipping is the author of the international bestseller Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle and other books and online programs based on the practice of Radical Forgiveness.
Robert Augustus Masters, PhD, is an integral psychotherapist, relationship expert, and spiritual teacher whose work blends the psychological and physical with the spiritual, emphasizing embodiment, emotional literacy, and the development of relational maturity. He is the author of fourteen books, including Transformation through Intimacy and Spiritual Bypassing.
Sharon Salzberg, a student of Buddhism since 1971, has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Influenced by her more than twenty-five years of study with Burmese, Indian, and Tibetan teachers, she teaches intensive awareness practice (vipassana or insight meditation) and the profound cultivation of lovingkindness and compassion (the Brahma Viharas). She is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, both in Massachusetts. Salzberg is the author of several books including The Kindness Handbook, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, A Heart as Wide as the World, and the New York Times bestseller Real Happiness. She has also authored several Sounds True audio and interactive learning kit works including Insight Meditation (with Joseph Goldstein), Unplug, and Lovingkindness Meditation.
“Simon, founder and publisher of Sounds True, has put together a compendium of writings from well-known physicians and spiritual guides (e.g., Mark Nepo, Facing the Lion; Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance) on the topic of healing one’s self-critic. Simon divides the essays into the facets of practicing, embodying, and awakening self-acceptance, which provides readers with a wide range of strategies for coming to terms with shame, embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly, and transforming self-criticism into self-compassion. VERDICT Persons plagued by self-doubt will undoubtedly find comfort in these encouraging readings.” —Library Journal
“This is a powerful collection of writings by twenty leading figures in the fields of spirituality and psychology. Tara Brach talks about 'radical self-acceptance' and 'being at war with ourself'. Dr. Friedemann Schaub points out that life has become a 'race with no apparent finish line'. Steven C. Hayes discusses the power of 'observing our own emotions'. Jay Earley explains how our Inner Critic is actually trying to help us. Judith Blackstone takes an in-depth look at what it means to fully 'inhabit our body'. Bruce Tift warns of the danger of internalizing the ability to 'disown aspects of ourselves'. Jeff Foster talks about 'saying YES to the present moment'. Mark Nepo explains why 'meeting the world with my heart' is a courageous act. Rick Hanson celebrates the ability to 'change your brain for the better'. All of it is aimed at making readers feel more comfortable in their skins. Practical as well as philosophical, this compassionate view of mankind is a welcome antidote to today’s often ego-battering world.” —Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight
“Unconditional self-acceptance, being kind to ourselves no matter what is happening in our lives, is a human capacity that changes everything. It changes how we treat ourselves day to day, how we take risks, how we love, how we create, and how we make space for what seems "unacceptable" in others.” —Tami Simon