Is Self-Compassion Self-Defeating at a Law Firm?

Question:

I like the idea of being kinder to myself, but let’s face it — law firms are not compassionate places. The environment in my firm is highly critical and mistakes are not forgiven easily. I need to be tougher, not weaker. Isn’t it a little naive — or even self-defeating — to think about being nice to yourself in this culture?

Answer:

Law firms can indeed be tough places, and there is often not much compassion. This is precisely why self-compassion is so important!

Your job IS hard a lot of the time – no doubt about it. But remember that you have a choice: to make it harder for yourself by empowering your self-critic, or easier by offering yourself compassion.

The key idea to remember is that your performance will not suffer just because you are nice to yourself. In fact research shows it will improve. Remember that you are only changing the way you think about the situation.

Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, famously explained, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Choose self-compassion for yourself and for others, and you may be surprised how much stronger you feel.

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