Mindfulness For COINTELPRO Victims #6



   Every year for more than a decade, over 30,000 people commit suicide in Japan (The Mainichi Daily News, 2009). This means that approximately 26 per 100,000 people in Japan die from suicide. If the number of unascertained causes is included, such as missing or unknown causes of death, the number of allegedly suicidal cases is said to be doubled. This number is outrageous, compared to the suicide rate in the U.S. being around 11 per 100,000 (Chambers, 2010). There must be various reasons for such a high suicide rate, but among them, depression is well known as a major considerable factor. Furthermore, one of the precursors of depression is harsh self-criticism. Therefore, cultivating self-compassion is crucially important, especially to the Japanese in modern society since self-compassion helps reduce self-criticism.

 As Neff suggests in her research, self-compassion is defined as “kindness to oneself, seeing one’s experience as a part of the larger world, and balancing one’s awareness” (Neff, 2011). The mind training of self-compassion is also safe since enhancing self-compassion is different from inflating self-esteem or narcissism, which can create other problems such as prejudice. This is the significant difference between self-compassion and “self-esteem”; the latter inevitably involves comparison with others and can consequently lead to prejudice to whom they think are inferior. In contrast, self-compassion focuses on oneself rather than comparing and competing for something with other people.

To scientifically evaluate reliability and validity of Neff’s scale on self-compassion, Salkind’s book, “Exploring Research” provides various kinds of articulate concepts to examine measuring methods. The book shows each method’s strengths and weaknesses regarding various types of population. Accordingly, you can figure out for what purposes a researcher chose the method in his or her research.

For instance, in Neff’s research, random sampling is used (p228, Neff, 2003). The significance in her sampling process is, firstly she gathered data from a comparatively small group of sample in order to establish validity of the scale. This is called pilot test. In this process, two types of validity were examined, namely content validity and construct validity. The former was ensured by asking the participants open-ended questions. Then she picked up only those questions which were considered to be relevant to self-compassion level. Meanwhile, the construct validity was examined by comparing the pilot test results to a controlled group who was not told the purpose of the self-compassion test specifically. Subsequently, she tested the scale to a larger group of sample to evaluate subjects’ actual self-compassion level.

 This method can increase economy and efficiency of the process in making the scale while maintaining its generalizability and accuracy. On the other hand, stratified random sampling is not used in her studies regarding gender and ethnicity. Thus, the accuracy of generalizability may be slightly weak in terms of the gender differences and ethnic diversity, and can be studied later. Nonetheless, lacking stratified sampling in regard to gender and ethnicity does not ruin the validity of the scale because self-compassion may nomothetically concern people regardless of their social or cultural identities.

Concerning the reliability of Neff’s scale, she used test-retest technique in the second study. Two test results on the same participants across time and location were compared, and the correlation was calculated. The outcome figure was “overall .93.” Since this figure indicated that the scale is significantly reliable, it can be said that good reliability was obtained (p. 236, Neff, 2003).

 Meanwhile, the comparison was implemented to demonstrate construct validity of her scale. She compared the outcomes of self-compassion test to that of self-esteem. In addition, in Study 3 she collected the outcomes from a sample group of Buddhists and from that of largely non-Buddhists. Subsequently, Pearson’s correlational-coefficient was calculated to determine the effect of social desirability. Overall, validity of her study was proved to be sound.  

     To sum up, Neff supports the validity of the scale of self-compassion. In addition, practicing self-compassion is very useful in improving our mental health. Furthermore, the cultivation of self-compassion does not accompany manifestation of problematic personalities such as narcissism. Accordingly, self-compassion training provides a hint for better understanding of why Shakyamuni Buddha emphasized the importance of self-observation:Not the perversities of others, not their sins of commission or omission, but his own misdeeds and negligences should a sage take notice of” (Dhammapada Verse 50).

Related Video: Self Compassion Part 2 Kristin Neff self-kindness



Chambers, A. (August 3, 2010). "Japan: ending the culture of the 'honourable' suicide". London: The Guardian.

Neff, K.D.(2003). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self & Identity (2), 223--250.

Neff, K.D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem & well being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass (5/1), 1--12.

Salkind, N. J. (2000).  Exploring research. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

The Mainichi Daily News. (Dec. 26, 2009)"Suicides in Japan top 30,000 for 12th straight year, may surpass 2008 numbers". Tokyo.

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The Writer of 『拝啓 ギャングストーカー犯罪者の皆様』(Dear COINTELPRO Criminals) and <集団ストーカーの死> The Death of Gangstalker; also Co-Editor of 「新しいタイプの人権侵害・暴力」 Unprecedented Human Rights Violation

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