201. Fierce Compassion with Kristin Neff

Kristin Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, teaching us that compassion involves kindness, mindfulness and common humanity. In her new book,  Fierce Self-Compassion,  Kristin explores the balance between tender self-compassion and action oriented self-compassion. 

 “Sometimes compassion means standing up, saying, ‘no, you are treating me unfairly’ and setting boundaries.”

Kristin Neff

In this episode of Psychologists Off the Clock, Diana and Kristin discuss the duality of self-compassion, women and anger, and the inner power needed to stand up and protect what you care about. Listen in and harness your kindness, claim your power, and thrive today!

Listen and Learn:

  • A breakdown for beginners – Diana defines “Yin”, “Yang”, “Kali”, and “Durga” and discuss their metaphors for self-compassion
  • Kristin Neff’s expert description of the yin and yang of self-compassion
  • The role the feminist movement has played in racism and oppression and what this has to do with fierce self-compassion
  • Nuances of feminine energy and how those nuances are embodied in different goddesses 
  • How to access and embrace your feminine energy (read: how to balance your yin and yang and why it’s important to do so!)
  • Kristin’s personal experience finding wholeness and developing self-compassion amidst divorce, single parenthood, and tumultuous work experiences
  • When and why emotions traditionally dissociated from femininity (e.g., anger) are useful
  • The functionality of fierce self-compassion and practical advice for embracing it in your own life
  • Kristin and her friend, Angela Duckworth’s (check out our episode with her where we discuss Grit) thoughts on the bind women find themselves in when it comes to likeability and competence
  • Kristin’s expert, research-based definition of self-compassion
  • Why self-compassion is so difficult to achieve 
  • How Kristin’s personal experiences have informed her perspective on women, relationships, compassion, and wholeness
  • Practical advice on how to use your values to inform your balancing behavior
  • What it means to be a compassionate mess and why it should be your goal


Dr. Kristin Neff

About Kristin Neff:

Kristin Neff is currently an 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 almost twenty years ago. In addition to writing numerous academic articles and book chapters on the topic, she is author of the book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. In conjunction with her colleague Dr. Chris Germer, she has developed an empirically supported training program called Mindful Self-Compassion, which is taught by thousands of teachers worldwide. They co-authored the Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program: A Guide for Professionals. Her newest work focuses on how to balance self-acceptance with the courage to make needed change. In June 2021, she will publish Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive.

For more information on Kristin Neff please visit her website,

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Episode 201