Self compassion has attributes that are seemingly opposite, while simultaneously being complementary and interdependent, like the concepts of yin and yang in traditional Chinese philosophy. The yin of self compassion represents “being with” ourselves in a compassionate way: comforting, soothing, and validating. When we feel hurt or inadequate, we can relate to ourselves in a tender way, validating our pain and accepting ourselves for who we are. The yang of self compassion provides the action energy: protecting, providing, and motivating ourselves. Yang self compassion can be fierce: we draw our boundaries, say No, stand up for ourselves. The question is, “what do I need now?” Sometimes we need to stand up and act decisively in the world; and, sometimes we need to turn toward ourselves in a soft and tender way. Often, we need both. When yin and yang self compassion are balanced and integrated, they manifest as a caring force. Force is more effective when it is caring because it is focused on the alleviation of suffering. Compassionate action was used by Mother Theresa, for example, to effect societal change. We can also turn this power inward, using yin and yang self-compassion to cope with difficulty, build inner strength, and find inner peace.–By Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff, from Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program: A Guide for Professionals, pp.22-23. Please go to the Calendar on this website for information about the Mindful Self Compassion course that starts on February 1, 2021.