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Mindfulness, Self-Esteem, and Unconditional Self-Acceptance


Ellis (Ellis, A. (1996), Psychotherapy, 22(1), 149–151) has been a longstanding critic of the concept of self-esteem and has offered the notion of unconditional self-acceptance as an alternative. Other researchers have suggested that cultivating mindfulness––attention directed towards one’s immediate experiences with an attitude of non-judgment––also offers a healthier alternative to self-esteem (Ryan, R. M., & Brown, K. W. (2003) Psychological Inquiry, 14(1), 71–76). This study examined the relationship between mindfulness, self-esteem, and unconditional self-acceptance. A sample of 167 university students completed two measures of everyday mindfulness, and measures of self-esteem and unconditional self-acceptance. Positive correlations were found between mindfulness, self-esteem, and unconditional self-acceptance. Mindfulness skills may offer a means to cultivate unconditional self-acceptance and to shift from an emphasis on self-esteem as a measure of worth.

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Correspondence to Brian L. Thompson.

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This paper was based on data collected for the first author's Master's project.

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Thompson, B.L., Waltz, J.A. Mindfulness, Self-Esteem, and Unconditional Self-Acceptance. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 26, 119–126 (2008).

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  • mindfulness
  • self-acceptance
  • self-esteem