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Culture & Religion

Self-Compassion Key to Divorce Recovery

Why do some survive a breakup without deep distress, even if sad or worried about money? Research shows one thing—having self-compassion—uniquely predicts good outcomes.

What’s the Latest Development?

Divorce is tough for most people, but some get through a breakup without overwhelming distress, even if sad or fearful about their finances, while others struggle to move on. What accounts for the difference? Self-compassion. New research says that independent of other personality traits, it’s the one capacity that predicts better adjustment shortly after divorce and up to nine months later.

What’s the Big Idea?

Researchers say it was surprising that having looked at various positive characteristics— self-esteem, resistance to depression, optimism, or ease with relationships—self-compassion was the unique predictor of good outcomes. Self-compassion is a combination of kindness toward oneself, recognition of common humanity, and the ability to let painful emotions pass. Can it be taught? The researchers are unsure but optimistic.


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