HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
Strategies to become more self-compassionate
Our last issue was about determining whether you're kind enough to yourself or not. So, in this article, I'll cover easy strategies you can use to value yourself more. But before I do so, it would be useful to dispel common myths associated with self-compassion.
4 Myths regarding self-compassion
- Being self-compassionate is simply about indulging yourself.
While there is nothing wrong with indulging yourself from time to time, self-indulgence is not the same thing as self-compassion. You see, self-indulgence is about allowing yourself to do or have something like a special pleasure. On the other hand, self-compassion is more about valuing yourself because you deserve to care for and be concerned about yourself just like you would care for others.
- To motivate yourself, you need to criticize yourself more.
Self-criticism may keep you motivated in life but only because it is accompanied by a fear of punishment. But it's not the only way to motivate you - practicing self-compassion can also motivate you since it will reinforce your desire to be healthy and at peace. Plus it will make it easy for you to modify behaviors that may be preventing you from achieving this goal.
- Being self-compassionate is selfish.
Many of us have been taught to put others first. But being kinder to others does not mean you need to beat yourself up or ignore how you feel. In fact, if you practice self-compassion, you'll be happier and more able to care genuinely for others.
- Only weak individuals practice self-compassion.
We live in a society that gratifies competition and setting impossible standards for ourselves. But the truth is that this need to always act tough makes many people miserable. Instead, when you're self-compassionate, you'll know how much you can handle - not only will this make you more productive but it can also boost your self-confidence.
Now that I've covered the main myths about self-compassion, let's review easy ways to generate more compassion for yourself:
- Think of yourself as your best friend.
In other words, treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. Let's say your best friend came to you because she wasn't losing weight. Would you tell her 'serves you right for eating so much!'? Probably not. But would you speak to yourself in this way?
Being self-compassionate would be talking to yourself with kindness and not beating yourself up because, for instance, you were too exhausted to exercise.
Being self-compassionate would be telling yourself 'It's okay. You needed to rest sweetie [Yes, call yourself by an endearing name]. You'll just exercise tomorrow or when you feel better.'
- Recognize that you're a beautiful, imperfect human.
Let me ask you something: last time you criticized yourself, didn't you feel as if you were the only one with that particular flaw? Do you think that's justified?
Being human means being imperfect and vulnerable. We all make mistakes. We all suffer losses. And we've all got two choices: we can beat ourselves up for not being good enough or we can choose to be kind to ourselves, nurture our wounds and let bad stuff go.
So next time you find yourself saying 'I'm a bad, bad person for doing X', pick a self-compassionate statement that resonates with you. And say it out loud.
- Be mindful of your pain.
Although it may be easier to bury yourself in work than to deal with your pain, resisting how you really feel is bound to make you suffer even more. Instead, next time you feel pain, observe your thoughts and feelings - just be attentive to the influx of emotions in your head without trying to deny or suppress them.
So which of these techniques do you plan to try next time that little inner voice starts up?
Submitted by: Shari
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