Focusing on our bodies with self compassion is often one of the most difficult paths to negotiate when moving towards self acceptance or when wearing a swimsuit. Our body self talk can range from self-hate to saying “maybe my body is not so bad”.
The focus on weight loss grows as the negative self talk about our bodies increases.
Self compassion is a tool which can move us away from the negative body feelings in the moment.
Dr. Kristin Neff from the University of Texas at Austin has published a book called Self-Compassion:Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. Her research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. This information is from the NY Times article entitled Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges by Tara Parker-Pope.
This is not about improving will power which many people think they need to do to lose weight. It is about adding kindness and positive self talk. A first step may be increasing compassion towards someone else and then move onto yourself.
Here are some guidelines:
- Ask: How do I know when I am feeling compassionate towards someone else?
- Ask: What would I say to someone else if I wanted to express compassion towards them?
- Say to yourself, “Just for a moment I will let the judgment about my body go and focus on a part of my body I like.”
- Reflect on how your body feels when it is moving and find one small thing to appreciate about that.
So when you put your swimsuit on, or even think about putting your swimsuit on, bring self compassion to your body and kindness to yourself.
What could you say to yourself from a place of self compassion right now?