self-compassion worksheets

5 Superb Self-Compassion Worksheets

In Education, Emotional Health, Resources, Worksheets and Printables by Courtney Archer3 Comments

Self-compassion does not come naturally to most people and can be a little difficult to figure out when you first start incorporating it into your life. That is where these self-compassion worksheets come in.

Just like you used worksheets in grade school to learn how to read, write, add, and subtract, there are also a handful of worksheets available to help you learn how to be more compassionate toward yourself. Self-compassion is relatively new to the realm of mental wellness, so there are less self-compassion worksheets readily available than you might think.

Fortunately for you, self-compassion is something that I work on with a lot of clients. That means I have already scoured the self-compassion worksheets available on the internet, and have filtered through them to bring you this list.

While each worksheet and exercise is designed to help you increase your self-compassion, each goes about it a little differently. Some will resonate with you while others will feel less applicable. Find the ones that work for you.

Self-Compassion Worksheets

5 Superb Self-Compassion Worksheets

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is choosing to respond to difficulty with understanding and love, instead of with negativity and self-criticism. As mentioned above, self-criticism is usually the norm.

It is not that self-criticism is a bad thing, it is that self-criticism tends to hold people in place. For example, if you watch TV for too long instead of doing something important and then have to stay up late or wake up early to get it done, a self-critical response would be to call yourself lazy and unmotivated.

While that might move you forward out of a sense of guilt initially, it is also establishing the narrative that you are lazy and unmotivated. The problem with that is that we believe the thoughts we think. How many times can you call yourself lazy and unmotivated before you start to question why you should even try since you are too lazy and unmotivated to get things done?

We criticize in an effort to drive ourselves forward. We call it taking responsibility for our actions–being accountable. The thing is, there is another way to do that.

Self-compassion is not letting yourself off easy or removing your responsibility, it is responding to yourself with love and kindness so that you can figure out what is actually going wrong. Calling yourself lazy and unmotivated is the easy answer–it stops you from figuring out why you would rather watch TV than reach your goals.

If you respond with self-compassion, if you are allowed to make mistakes without each one being another nail in the coffin of your self-loathing, you can then do some self-examination to figure out how to change things for the better.

When self-examination is rooted in self-criticism, it naturally funnels into guilt and shame. When self-examination is rooted in self-compassion, it allows for long-lasting growth founded in acceptance and loving commitment to your wellbeing.

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How to Increase Self-Compassion

Most of us have been taught our entire lives that being flawed is a bad thing. Not actively taught; it is not like our teachers in school told us that being imperfect would lead to our failure and downfall.

But we learned that the smartest kids got the best grades, so if you did not get the best grade what did that make you? We learned that the most popular kids had the most friends, so if you only had one or two friends what did that make you? We learned that the hardest working kids always got everything done, so if you did not get everything done, what did that make you?

The answers to the questions were never a good thing–at least, not for most of us. If we could not do something just as good as someone else, it was because we were stupid, unlovable, lazy, or untalented.

All of this to say, if this has been the way things worked your whole life, increasing self-compassion is going to be a bit of a change. Change is rarely easy even if it is worth it.

In order to increase your self-compassion, you need to start tuning in to your self-critical moments. This helps you be more aware of what initiates your self-criticism, and where some key turning points in the experience might be. There are a number of ways to increase your awareness so that you can start shifting away from self-criticism and toward self-compassion, and the following self-compassion worksheets can help you get things started.

Photo with instructions on how to increase self-compassion.

How Self-Compassion Worksheets Can Help

Self-compassion worksheets are great because they have instructions. It is a rare person who wakes up, thinks, “I’m going to be more compassionate toward myself today,” and then is successful from that moment forward.

As discussed earlier, self-compassion takes work. It takes some basic know-how that a lot of people do not have because they have lived their whole lives in self-criticism until now. How many times have you wished that you had some instructions to help you through difficulties?

The following self-compassion worksheets are just that–instructions to help you work your way through the unfamiliar territory of self-compassion. They break things down step by step, thought by thought, to help you analyze your existing processes and begin to establish new ones.

Some of these worksheets will walk you through exercises you can do to increase your self-compassion. Others will help you think through some of your more negative reactions and help you come up with more positive ones. All of them are designed to help you exchange your self-criticism and stagnation for self-compassion and growth.

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Self-Compassion Worksheets

Self-Compassion Worksheets #1: ACT With Compassion’s Building Awareness of Self-Criticism

Speaking of self-criticism, examining it is a great place to start when trying to build self-compassion. ACT With Compassion’s website is full of great resources for self-compassion, and this is one of the best.

Generally, any attempt to build new habits and ways of interacting with ourselves requires that we first become aware of how we are already operating. If you have no idea how something works, it is pretty hard to make any adjustments.

This worksheet will help you tune in with the ways that you are reacting with self-criticism rather than self-compassion. For a one-page worksheet, it goes surprisingly into depth, too.

From initial body sensations to eventual outcomes, you can use this worksheet to map out your experience with self-criticism from start to end.

ACT With Compassion’s Building Awareness of Self-Criticism

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Self-Compassion Worksheets #2: Mindfulness Exercises’ Self-Compassion Pause

Self-compassion worksheets can also walk you through self-compassion exercises, which is exactly what Mindfulness Exercises’ Self-Compassion Pause does. There is actually only one part of the worksheet where you write things down, the rest of it is dedicated to the Self-Compassion Pause exercise.

Learning about self-compassion and beginning to observe what drives your self-criticism is important. Learning exercises to help you practice compassion toward yourself is equally important. It is not enough to just learn about it, you also need to find ways to begin incorporating compassion into your life.

The Self-Compassion Pause in this exercise is a great way to do so. Please remember that exercises like this are flexible. It suggests to do it 3 times a day, and while that would certainly be lovely, do not stress it if you can only fit it in once.

The important thing is to begin practicing self-compassion. Practice will help you retain the information, so that you gradually will not need worksheets. Until then, set an intention to do it when you can and follow through.

Mindfulness Exercises’ Self-Compassion Pause

Photo with quote about the importance of learning how to practice self-compassion.

Self-Compassion Worksheets #3: Greater Good Science Center’s Self-Compassionate Letter

Greater Good Science Center’s Self-Compassionate Letter is a “Do It Yourself” style worksheet. That is to say, the worksheet is a blank piece of paper that you fill out with a letter to yourself.

There are many versions of self-compassion letters. I chose this one because it has easy to follow, specific instructions to help you work through the letter.

Letters like this can be a little difficult to write. It requires spending some time thinking about something you do not like very much about yourself, or things you might feel guilty or ashamed about.

However, the difficulty of it is exactly what makes self-compassion itself difficult. We are most likely to react with criticism during times when emotions of guilt, shame, or insecurity come up. Writing this letter gives you the opportunity to feel those emotions and respond in a compassionate, loving way instead.

That is what makes this letter such a great exercise. The fact that it is not a more typical worksheet makes it easy to repeat, adapt, and refer back to as needed. It is exactly what you make it.

Greater Good Science Center’s Self-Compassionate Letter

Photo with message about the importance of responding with compassion to difficult and negative emotions.

Self-Compassion Worksheets #4: Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion Journal

Just like ACT With Compassion’s website is a superb resource overall, so is Kristin Neff’s website. She is one of the founding researchers in the world of self-compassion and has some tremendous exercises available through her website.

While her resources are not so much worksheet-oriented, her self-compassion journal works well in this list of self-compassion worksheets because it helps you process through your self-critical experiences and bring self-compassion to the forefront instead.

Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion Journal is basically the repeated version of the Self-Compassionate Letter above. Rather than making it a singular letter, turning the exercise into a journaling practice helps you examine your experience over time.

This helps you notice patterns, and it also allows you to see where you make progress. Increasing self-compassion is a journey, and it helps to be able to look back at where you have been.

You do not need anything fancy for this self-compassion journal–a simple notebook or even some loose paper stapled together will do fine. The important thing is to follow through with the practice so you can learn from it.

Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion Journal

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Self-Compassion Worksheets #5: CCI’s Self-Compassion Workbook

Alright, alright, so you are here for self-compassion worksheets not a self-compassion workbook. I have added CCI’s Self-Compassion Workbook to this list because it is the most comprehensive worksheet-style self-compassion resource I have found that is available for free.

Yeah. You can download this whole entire workbook for free. I had to include it!

Being available for free is far from this resource’s greatest attribute though. With 7 different modules, this workbook provides education as well space for you to write things down and figure yourself out. From gaining a basic understanding of self-compassion to learning to apply it to yourself, this workbook really covers it all.

You do not have to have a therapist or be in a group to use it. While it might be helpful to have a therapist help you process through your response as you go through it, you can also use this workbook on your own. If you are looking for self-compassion worksheets as a means to learn about and implement self-compassion, this is an excellent place to start.

CCI’s Self-Compassion Workbook

Photo that says, "Increasing self-compassion gives you a new way to respond to difficulties, a way that moves you forward instead of moving you backward."

In Conclusion

Even though self-compassion is a bit of a new field, there are still a number of resources for it available to you. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, it is meant to get you started on your self-compassion journey.

Increasing self-compassion gives you a new way to respond to difficulties, a way that moves you forward instead of moving you backward. While you do not need a therapist to increase your self-compassion, they can certainly help. You can find one at Psychology Today if you are interested.

Otherwise, check out these self-compassion worksheets and exercises to begin examining your self-critical habits and replacing them with self-compassion. If you have a go-to worksheet that I have not included, feel free to mention it in the comments below.

Want to read more? Check out the recommended articles below:

What is Self-Compassion? 3 Basic Steps to Help

What is Self-Care? Satisfaction, Relief, & Wonder

3 Solid Ways to Find Meaning in Your Life

5 Helpful Coping Skills for Anxiety Worksheets

10 Effective Coping Skills for Anxiety


  1. just had to say thank you and I shared this on a PTSD blog.
    helped me a lot in my self-compassion research
    blessings to you,

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