Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version

8-1-2021

Abstract

In the early 1990’s, Gloria Steinem, a leader of the feminist movement, authored the book A Revolution from Within: Self-Esteem to help empower girls and women. Decades later, females continue to suffer disproportionately from higher occurrences of psychological disorders and distress, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harm behaviors. While causes are likely multi-faceted, research shows that girls and women experience high levels of shame and self-criticism. In essence, we are at war with ourselves. Drawing largely from research in the field of positive psychology, and contrasting with Steinem’s theory on self-esteem, this paper illustrates how self-compassion may address this inner conflict, revolutionizing our relationship to self, others, and the world around us. The three elements of self-compassion - mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness – collectively interact, producing the stabilizing and powerful downstream effects of greater belonging, safety, wholeness, resilience, and self-authorship and agency. When women practice self-compassion, we profoundly change how we show up in the world. As we do, we are able to model self-compassion for our girls, helping to empower the next generation of women – the most revolutionary act of all.

Keywords

agency, belonging, empowerment, feminism, girls, resilience, safety, self-criticism, self-compassion, self-authorship, shame, wholeness, women

Topic

women, girls, gender, health/wellness, empowerment, well-being/flourishing

Format

Literature review, Thesis

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Date Posted: 26 August 2021