What makes you feel better: compliments or criticism? The answer is obvious, right? So why do we seem to have no problem berating ourselves for how we look? We’d never talk like that to a friend. Maybe we think going negative can spur us to achieve our goals, but the opposite is true: self-compassion can help you stick to healthy actions that pay off at the scale.
So how do you learn to feel better about your body? The same way you make friends with anyone else: Take the time to get acquainted; be supportive and non-judgmental. The activity in the Weekly can help you become more attuned, familiar with, and best of all, appreciative of your physical self. And the ideas below can help you treasure the rest of you!
1. Make a list of your positive qualities—and read it often. It could include anything from being a good guitar player to being a loving dad. List every attribute that makes you a worthwhile, likable individual.
2. Pay yourself a compliment every day. Focus on a different characteristic—quick hands, good fashion sense, killer poker skills—and say out loud: "I love my ___." It may sound silly at first, but it can be a useful counter to self-doubt.
3. Do things you know will help you feel better about yourself. This could be anything from getting a new hairstyle to rearranging your fridge for healthy eating. Tackle the easiest first, to build confidence for future efforts.
4. Give yourself regular non-food treats. Buy yourself a cool new app, take a spontaneous day trip, pick up a magazine. You'd do things like this to please loved ones, so why not yourself?
5. Spend time with people who care about you. If there aren't as many supportive people in your social circle as you'd like, consider ways of expanding it to increase your chances of positive feedback. Ask yourself: "Who will help me feel good about myself?" (Like, say, your fellow members on Connect.)
6. Steer clear of situations that promote self-doubt. Even long-term relationships might call for a clear-eyed reappraisal, if they leave you feeling bad. Perhaps there's a critical relative or colleague who always seems to undermine you. Are you forever seeking someone's approval but never getting it? Rather than simply taking the criticism, you could:
- Retreat from the relationship a bit.
- Stop hoping for approval.
- Respond more assertively to harsh remarks
7. Try a little kindness. Instead of beating yourself up when you slip, give yourself the benefit of the doubt, same as you would anyone else. Focus on your achievements, not faults. Chances are, once you start looking, you'll be surprised at just how many there are.
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