Are you kind to everyone but yourself? This book will help you find the strength and courage to move beyond self-criticism and just be you.
Do you ever feel like you’re just not good enough? Do you often compare yourself to friends, classmates, or even celebrities and models? As a teen facing intense physical, mental, and social changes, it’s easy to get caught up in self-judgment and criticism. The problem is, over time, these negative thoughts can build up, cloud your world, and lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. So, how can you start being nicer to yourself?
Written by psychologist Karen Bluth and based on practices adapted from Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer’s Mindful Self-Compassion program, this book offers fun, everyday exercises grounded in mindfulness and self-compassion to help you overcome crippling self-criticism and respond to feelings of self-doubt with greater kindness and self-care. You’ll find real tools to help you work through difficult thoughts and feelings, navigate life’s emotional ups and downs, and be as accepting of yourself as you are of others.
Learning to believe in yourself means being aware of the self-critical voice inside you, and then discovering how to not take it so seriously. With this book, you’ll learn how self-compassion can actually be a much greater motivator for reaching your goals than self-criticism. In fact, being kind to yourself when you’re struggling can actually reduce stress and make you more resilient!
So, stop beating yourself up, and start reading this book. You have an important friend to make—you!
“Mindfulness strategies geared toward overwhelmed teens illuminate this evidence-based self-help guidebook by an expert in the field. Readers will encounter a whole box of tools for cultivating compassion as they work through nine themed chapters addressing common adolescent struggles...The messages that teens are not alone in their difficulties and have the ability to change their own outlooks are empowering and hopeful. The author both criticizes how social media can add to teen anxiety as well as offers up ways to harness the power of social media for self-kindness practice, offering a balanced approach. Importantly, the author is explicitly reassuring toward and supportive of LGBTQ+ youth. Teens will learn to treat themselves with kindness with the tools gleaned from this text.”
— Kirkus Reviews, September 2020
“With record rates of stress and mental health issues in adolescents right now, this is the right book at the right time for the people who need it most.”
—Christopher Willard, PsyD, coauthor of The Breathing Book, and faculty at Harvard Medical School
— Christopher Willard, PsyD
“Few things are harder than being a teenager these days, and perhaps the only thing more difficult (for those of us who are not) is how to speak in an engaging and meaningful way to teenagers. Karen Bluth does a remarkable job of sharing this crucial practice of self-compassion in language and through examples that are interesting, relatable, and compelling. This is a book that teens (and their parents) will find practical and powerful, and I have no doubt that it will ease a lot of suffering.”
—Steven D. Hickman, PsyD, clinical psychologist, and executive director of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion
— Steven D. Hickman, PsyD
“During these stressful times, teens in particular may feel caught up in confusion, uncertainty, and stress. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by self-criticism and social comparison. The Self-Compassionate Teen lets you take control of your life, while building happiness, emotional strength, and more ease in your social world.”
—Mark Bertin, MD, developmental pediatrician, and author of How Children Thrive and Mindful Parenting for ADHD
— Mark Bertin, MD
“Chock-full of useful information, potent case studies, and hands-on exercises and links, this book will be an invaluable resource for schools, parents, and anyone interested in learning how to approach life with deep compassion and care. It is especially ideal for people helping youth learn to healthfully navigate negative self-talk and feelings arising from negative self-comparison, difficult relationships, feeling different, or simply being an adolescent.”
—Janis Whitlock, PhD, MPH, research scientist at Cornell University, founder and director of the Self-Injury and Recovery Resources research program at Cornell University, and coauthor of Healing Self-Injury
— Janis Whitlock, PhD, MPH
“Karen Bluth is one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion for teens. This well-written book shows teens how to be kind to themselves in the midst of daily challenges such as school, body image, and social media. After switching from self-criticism to self-compassion for just one moment, you’ll probably be convinced. You might be giving yourself the biggest favor of your life.”
—Christopher Germer, PhD, faculty at Harvard Medical School, and cocreator of the Mindful Self-Compassion program
— Christopher Germer, PhD
“Most teens—and most humans—struggle with fear, insecurity, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression for time to time; and some of us suffer with these experiences day in and day out. Regardless of whether you experience these feelings rarely or often, this book offers simple, practical skills for treating yourself with the kindness and support you would offer a good friend, which is to say the kindness and support you absolutely deserve. So, before your unkind mind starts with its ‘yes, buts’ and starts telling you its usual lies about what a loser you are, open this book and begin. By reading this book and doing the practices, you will remember that you are lovable exactly as you are.”
—Amy Saltzman, MD, author of A Still Quiet Place for Teens
— Amy Saltzman, MD
“The Self-Compassionate Teen is more than just a book. It’s the voice of your best friend, who sees who you truly are—loving, wise, strong, and brave. Soon, you discover that this best friend has been a part of you all along. Soon, you learn how to be your own best friend, especially in those hard moments when you need a best friend the most. You can do it, and this book can show you the way.”
—Dzung X. Vo, MD, author of The Mindful Teen
— Dzung X. Vo, MD
“Research shows that practicing self-compassion decreases stress, anxiety, and depression, while it increases resilience and motivation. This is especially relevant during the tumultuous teen years when so many physical and emotional changes are taking place. Each chapter tackles a different aspect of teens’ lives, including schoolwork, relationships, self-image, and LGBTQIA+ identity. While the general advice is helpful, such as taking breaks from social media if it’s causing someone to feel like they don’t measure up, the most practical aspects of the book are the meditation exercises, which include links to audio versions. Teens can create a free account on the New Harbinger website to access these audio files. Many of the exercises cover similar concepts, but they can all assist teens in acknowledging their emotions and treating themselves with more empathy. VERDICT: A solid purchase for libraries serving teens during troubled times.”
—School Library Journal
— School Library Journal, November 2020
About the Author:
Karen Bluth, PhD, is on faculty in the department of psychiatry and a research fellow at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is founder of the Frank Porter Graham Program on Mindfulness and Self-Compassion for Families (https://selfcompassion.web.unc.edu). She is a certified instructor of Mindful Self-Compassion, an internationally acclaimed eight-week course created by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer; and is a codeveloper of Self-Compassion for Educators, a self-compassion program offered through Mindful Schools.
Bluth is also cocreator of the curriculum Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens, the teen adaptation of Mindful Self-Compassion; and Embracing Your Life, the young adult adaptation. She is also author of The Self-Compassion Workbook for Teens and The Self-Compassionate Teen. As a mindfulness practitioner for more than forty years, a mindfulness teacher, and an educator with eighteen years of classroom teaching experience, Bluth frequently gives talks, conducts workshops, and teaches classes in self-compassion and mindfulness in educational and community settings. In addition, she trains teachers in Making Friends with Yourself internationally.
Kristin Neff, PhD, is currently associate professor of educational psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first empirical studies on self-compassion more than fifteen years ago. In addition to writing numerous academic articles and book chapters on the topic, she is author of Self-Compassion. In conjunction with her colleague Christopher Germer, she developed an empirically supported, eight-week training program called Mindful Self-Compassion, and offers workshops on self-compassion worldwide.