How I learnt self-compassion this summer

After a stressful term, I felt excited about summer for a chance to relax. However, to stay on track with my planned graduation date, I needed to complete summer courses and the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), a prerequisite for most master’s programs. Like many students, I had a busy summer planned. Despite months of daily hard work, by mid August my predicted scores for the GRE were well below the published mean scores accepted on average by the master’s programs I was interested in. I began to panic, feel self-doubt and immense disappointment in myself.


Thankfully, I recognized this unhelpful self-talk and my challenging feelings, so I reached out to a close friend to talk it out. She listened to me express how I felt I wasted time and money studying for the GRE, how I was not smart enough for the test, among other things. She kindly asked me if I would say those things to a friend? To which I immediately responded, of course not. I was reminded about the importance of self-compassion.


According to Dr. Kristin Neff,

Self-compassion is accepting that things do not always go our way and we may fail to achieve some of our goals as planned, but this is part of being human.

Ultimately, self-compassion is accepting this and caring for ourselves throughout difficult times or experiences. For me, this meant postponing the GRE until next summer and spending my last week of summer practicing self-care.


About the Author


Sydney is sitting on a bench, smiling.

Sydney (She/Her)

Hi everyone! Currently, I am completing an honours of psychology degree through the Faculty of Arts. I am very excited to be a part of the Healthy U team because I am passionate about health and increasing accessibility to care, building resources in the community, and diminishing stigma.


I love psychology, so when I am not studying, I enjoy exercising, travelling, and spending time with loved ones.