April 29, 2013
Self Compassion and Health

Self compassion and health. You might be asking yourself what do these two things have to do with each other? Well, the truth is they are closely connected! Compassion by definition is the awareness of suffering with a desire to relieve that suffering. Having compassion for yourself is a powerful motivational tool and contributes to sustaining habits.

We often have the feeling of compassion towards others, such as kindness and empathy. It’s amazing though how quick we can be to withhold this same kind of compassion from ourselves and often even treat ourselves with an attitude that is opposite of compassion when trying to lose weight. The opposite of self compassion includes being self critical, self dismissive, self neglectful, self abusive, punishing, demanding perfection or other unrealistic expectations, and labeling yourself as a failure or other harsh labels.

The journey of weight loss can be a difficult one with many highs and lows. There may be periods where you feel like you’re failing or not achieving your goals in the way that you imagined. It’s in times like these that we are often tempted to scold ourselves or beat ourselves up with harsh criticism and labels. We think that if we punish ourselves we will be motivated to work harder or keep going, but most often these harsh criticism and self punishment lead to just the opposite, giving up , feeling defeated, and ashamed. Eventually we think, why even try I’m never going to get it! It turns out that being overly harsh and critical is actually discouraging not encouraging.

Having compassion for your own difficulties and frustrations along the way is a much more effective way to keep motivated for the long term! Try thinking about what you might say to a friend in your same situation and apply that same kindness and compassion to yourself. Try to be quick to forgive yourself if you make a mistake, and give yourself a second chance instead of beating yourself up.  Remember to acknowledge your successes along the way and celebrate them! Reward yourself for your hard work instead of punishing yourself for your mistakes. We all are going to make mistakes we have to remember we are not perfect and therefore this process will not be perfect either. Make sure your goals are challenging but also realistic and let go of demanding perfection. Overall, being kind to yourself will go a lot further then being harsh. Think about where you can offer yourself more compassion on your journey to health!

Written by Cassie Kinson

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