Restorative justice helps us develop self-compassion. I know a lot about not being compassionate with myself. A couple months ago I wrote about how unforgiving I was toward myself for almost getting murdered by a stranger for The Forgiveness Project based in London.

It’s always been pretty easy for me to be compassionate and forgiving of others, but when it comes to myself I tend to be unrelenting in intolerance for my failures, which intellectually I KNOW are not really bad, but the way we learn. Knowing something, however, is totally different from feeling something.

Compassion is an emotion not a cognitive function, and emotionally, like A LOT of people who grow up with Western culture, being kind to myself is difficult.

Yesterday I discovered this wonderful website all about self-compassion. It was developed by professor Kristin Neff who has done research into self-compassion including its health benefits. A book will be published about Dr. Neff’s work in April 2011.

On the website you can take an assessment to measure how much compassion you give yourself. If your score is low you can also practice some of the exercises Dr. Neff provides on increasing the compassion you show yourself.

Restorative justice is also a path to self-compassion, it opens our hearts and helps us heal, even for ourselves.