Why do I need to learn self-compassion?

Karen R Koenig

You live by two sets of rules: one for you and one for everyone else. The situation wouldn’t be so skewed if you weren’t so darned over the top nice with others who goof up, perfecting forgiveness and empathy to an art form. So tell me, do you believe that compassion helps other people? If it’s good enough for folks you love (or strangers), how come it’s not good enough for you? Does it make sense to live with such a double standard?

 To finish first it’s time to take that same oozing of sympathy and mercy and turn it inward. I can hear your screams across the miles. Oh, no, let myself off the hook? Yeegads, I couldn’t possibly ease off on myself. How could I do as much if I didn’t constantly crack the whip over my head? What will people think? Put your whip away before you get whiplash and, instead, whip out some compassion. You know, as in, I’m doing the best I can, I’m allowed to make mistakes, I tried and failed, I’m going to be okay even though I made a boo-boo. Trust me, self- compassion will serve you far better than self-punishment.

 It’s ironic that you excel at compassion but forget to use it on yourself. Actually, it’s not a matter of not remembering, but not believing you deserve it. Think about it: You’re convinced punishment works better for you even though you’ve been punishing yourself for your transgressions - especially for abusing food and being fat - for decades and you still have food and weight problems.

 Give compassion a try. You can always return to flagellating yourself. I promise you won’t forget how. But you won’t be able to finish first or stop messing yourself up with food until you learn how to be kinder to you. It’s just as important as learning to connect to appetite signals such as hunger and fullness. Moreover, once you begin to enjoy being nice to yourself, you won’t believe how good it feels and will be horrified (I hope not too horrified) that you’ve lived so long showering everyone with nice except you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.