Weekly Topic: Be Kind to Yourself

Treat yourself with compassion, understanding, and support and you'll get a lot farther than with harsh self-judgment.
Published April 19, 2018

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What makes you feel better: compliments or criticism? The answer is obvious, right? So why do we seem to have no problem berating ourselves? We’d never talk like that to a friend. Maybe we think going negative can spur us to success, but the opposite is true: Self-compassion can help you stick to healthy actions that pay off at the scale.

The self-compassion payoff

When you treat yourself with kindness, you’re likely to feel more positive about your body, take better care of your health, including being more physically active and eating better, and better able to stick with your weight loss. Self-compassionate people tend to be physically active because they enjoy it (rather than because they "have to" do it); and when activity feels like fun rather than work, you're more likely to keep it up,lose weight, and keep it off. People who are self-compassionate are better able to roll with the punches and handle life's challenges without getting down or berating themselves. So now you're wondering, How can I get in on this good stuff?

Reap the benefits

Start by taking a few minutes with WW FreestyleTM weekly to shift your perspective and be your own BFF. Somehow, it's easier to treat yourself lovingly if you first imagine treating a friend that way.

Then keep the loving vibes going! Try these seven suggestions:

  • Make a list of your positive qualities. Read your list 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.
  • Pay yourself a compliment every day. Focus on a different attribute—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.
  • Do things that 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 in future efforts.
  • Give yourself regular non-food treats. Buy yourself a cool new app, take a spontaneous day trip. You'd do these things to make loved ones feel good, so why not yourself? Research shows that it can actually work to increase self-compassion.
  • Spend time with those who care about you. You’ll soon share their good opinion of 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)
  • Avoid situations that submerge you in 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.

  • Stop beating yourself up. 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.