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Happier at Work: Self-Compassion

Welcome to the fourth episode of our Happier at Work video series! We will spend the next few weeks covering the idea of mindfulness, empathy, emotional intelligence, meditation and happiness in the workplace.

We will provide in-video exercises and things you can practically apply to impact work happiness. We will also provide a TL;DL (too long didn’t listen) so you can skip to critical parts of the videos if that’s more your scene. We encourage you to add your own personal techniques, ask questions and contribute to the conversation.



TL;DL: Here are the critical points in the video:

Why are we talking about self-compassion? 0:30
What stories are you telling yourself everyday? 1:30
How can I practice self-compassion? 3:00
How can I help others practice self-compassion? 4:50


Today, take note of the things that you say to yourself as you go about your normal life.

What is your inner monologue saying? Are you surprised by how often you’re hard on yourself — or the tone you take? Would you be horrified to have someone hear what you’re saying? Most importantly, would you ever say those things to someone else? We think you will be surprised by how naturally unkind we are to ourselves.

Again, this is very human behavior. By being self-critical, we believe we are constantly in ‘improvement-mode’. While a healthy awareness of your weaknesses can be good, relying too much on self-criticism can actually stunt the progress you are trying to make.

Work done by Dr. Emma Sepala and the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research & Education indicates that a lack of self-compassion makes us ‘weaker in the face of failure, more emotional, and less likely to assimilate from the lessons of our failures.”

When you consider how often we fail in our work and regular life (on both a micro and macro level), you can start to see how much time we waste being self-critical, how it inhibits our ability to push forward and learn critical lessons. Both of which are critical parts of a successful work-life.

We could state it in 100 other ways, but the perfect summation of Gayle’s expertise is supported by Dr. Sepala’s work: “Self-compassion involves treating oneself as one would a friend, being more mindful, and understanding our situation in the context of a larger human experience. When we can be more understanding and gentler with ourselves, identify less with the emotions that surround our mistakes, and understand that failure is a normal part of the larger human experience, we become stronger and more successful in the long run. We become stronger and more resilient.”

This is another application of mindfulness and empathy in action. Noticing when we are being unkind to ourselves, or not recognizing the larger context of our behavior (stress, sleepiness, hormones, etc.). When we notice, we can breathe, reason with ourselves and move on. You might even chuckle at some of the things that you tell yourself, we know we have.

Self-compassion for yourself = self-compassion for others.

What has this meant for Room 214?

Self-compassion has always been a pretty critical part of Room 214’s culture. It’s even built into one of our guiding principles “Acting out of love and not fear”. This principle helps us apply compassion for all our decision making, and understand when we’re leading too much with fear (it’s very easy to do!).

As with everything we’ve mentioned, we still have work to do. Our next steps are really to demonstrate this value through leadership and training, modeling it is absolutely key. We hope to create a ripple effect that can translate to our work and our personal lives.

Related Resources

Happier at Work: What is Mindfulness in the Workplace?

Happier at Work: Mindful Attention in the Workplace

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