Why Self-Compassion is So Important as a Dad?

lifestyle Sep 07, 2022
Why Self-Compassion is So Important as a Dad?

Being a father comes with many responsibilities. We need to ensure the well-being of our children, provide for them, and teach them how to become functional adults in society.

In the process, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. Unfortunately, this can lead to self-criticism and feelings of failure when we make mistakes. Self-compassion can help fathers deal with these challenges in a healthy and productive manner.

What is Self-Compassion?

According to Dr. Kristen Neff, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas, self-compassion is just as important as the compassion we give to others; it’s vital to offer ourselves kindness and understanding when we are struggling.

This doesn’t mean we should avoid our problems or feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, we should acknowledge our challenges in a non-judgemental way and be accepting of our imperfections.

Signs that We Lack Self-Compassion

It’s easy to say, “I have self-compassion!” But do we really? Let’s take a look at some of the signs that may indicate a lack of self-compassion:


Do you constantly compare yourself to others and feel like you’re not good enough? If we don’t have self-compassion, we may end up putting ourselves down for not being where we want to be in life. This manifests as resentment and can lead to feelings of jealousy and inadequacy.


If you find that you’re constantly berating yourself for not being perfect, this is another sign that you need to be more compassionate towards yourself. We all make mistakes, and it’s important to remember that we’re only human! When we’re too hard on ourselves, it only leads to frustration and a feeling of being stuck.


When we lack self-compassion, we may find that we’re always trying to do more and be more. As we try to meet our own impossibly high standards, we burn out very quickly. If you find yourself constantly exhausted, you need to cut yourself some slack.


Stress is often caused by our inner critic telling us that we’re not good enough. This can lead to a lot of anxiety and negative self-talk. If you find yourself stressing out more than usual, it’s time to be more compassionate toward yourself.


Anxiety is another common side effect of a lack of self-compassion. When we’re too hard on ourselves, we tend to worry and fixate on negative lines of thought. Struggling with anxiety can be a sign to start being kinder to ourselves.


Depression is often caused by feelings of failure and inadequacy. Without self-compassion, we may dwell on our mistakes and feel like we’re not good enough. If we feel down more often than not, it may be because we need to start showing ourselves some love.


Do you expect yourself to be perfect all the time? Where do all these pressure and expectations come from? If we constantly pressure ourselves to be this and that as a father, it’s time to rethink how we treat ourselves.

Sometimes, we find ourselves doing everything we must do — eating healthily, exercising, spending time with the family, working hard, and more — but we still don’t feel good! Perhaps it’s simply because of how we see and treat ourselves.

Now, this isn’t to say that we’re not allowed to feel emotions. It’s okay to have expectations for ourselves — after all, we’re not just winging fatherhood! However, forgetting to be kind to ourselves with these expectations and feelings is not okay.

Benefits of Self-Compassion

The answer to everything is self-compassion. We know we’re not perfect fathers, and that’s fine. Our goal should simply be to be the best father we can be. Once you learn this, here are some self-compassion benefits that you’ll begin to see in every area of your life:

Lowered Stress

Self-compassion releases oxytocin, “the feel-good hormone.” When we have self-compassion, we’re able to focus on our positive qualities instead of dwelling on our failures. This allows us to see things in a more balanced way, reducing our stress.

Boosted Mood

Focusing on our positive qualities and having self-compassion naturally makes us happier. When we’re kind to ourselves, we feel better about who we are. As a result, our self-esteem and confidence will improve.

Improved Confidence

When we have self-compassion, we’re more confident in ourselves. We know that we’re not perfect, and that’s fine. This allows us to be more comfortable in our own skin. We’re also more likely to take risks and try new things.

Reduced Anxiety and Depression

We’re more likely to see mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures when we have compassion for ourselves. This positive outlook toward ourselves leads to less anxiety and depression.

Sustained Motivation

When we see our mistakes as learning opportunities, we become inspired to keep going. With self-compassion, our persistence in the face of setbacks increases greatly.

Increased Satisfaction

Happiness, confidence, and persistence allow us to navigate fatherhood smoothly. Life becomes a daily chance to enjoy ourselves and our families!

Improved Physical Health

Our mental health affects our physical health. When we have self-compassion, we’re more likely to care for ourselves mentally and physically. We exercise more, eat better, and get enough sleep.

Healthier Relationships

When we’re kind to ourselves, we’re more likely to be kind to others. This allows us to build better relationships with our partners, children, friends, and families.

Increased Resilience

Facing difficulties becomes more manageable when we have self-compassion. We’re more likely to see hardships as challenges to overcome rather than personal failures.

Bottom Line

Why is self-compassion important? Ultimately, it improves our overall well-being. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable doesn’t make us weak fathers. Remember, we cannot give to others if we do not have enough for ourselves. Let’s fill up our cups first so we can overflow and provide others with the same compassion we showed ourselves.

Watch the "Why Self-Compassion is So Important as a Dad?" video here:

This is the 2nd video in a 3 part Self-Compassion Series.  The other videos are:
Part 1 = What is Self-Compassion?
Part 3 = Self-Compassion Exercises You Can Practice as a Dad

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