Why showing self-compassion is so important

Self-compassion is a powerful force, especially on your weight loss and wellness journey.
Published 19 January, 2016

Why you need self-compassion in your life

As the old saying goes, no one’s perfect. But while that might be an easy, natural way to think about other people and their behaviour, when it’s your own abilities, performance or choices you’re putting under the microscope, hands up who finds themselves being more critical?

What you need is some self-compassion. That means skipping the self-judgment and treating yourself with understanding, acceptance, and kindness, especially when things don't quite turn out as planned.

Here's what the science says

Another reason to cut yourself some slack - the science says that when we strive for perfection, we're actually less likely to take healthy actions, like eating better or moving more.1

People who practice self-compassion are more likely to eat well, exercise, and take good care of themselves, even when stressed.2 They’re also better able to maintain their weight loss.3

And the benefits don’t stop there: studies also show that when you take your successes and failures in stride, you may find that you’re less afraid of failure.4 When you’re self-compassionate, rather than letting one ‘blip’ derail your goals, you’re more likely to accept it, let it go and move forwards.

How to practice self-compassion

While some people are naturally more self-compassionate than others, it’s a skill that can be developed and strengthened. You just need the right strategies in place and a bit of practice!

A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn't say it to a friend, don't say it to yourself. Try it - the next time you slip up or you’re feeling down or discouraged, try speaking to yourself in a more compassionate, understanding way.

And if you notice yourself expecting perfection? Cut yourself some slack, while still being accountable for your actions. Pause, embrace your imperfections and think of one thing you're grateful for about yourself (or say it out loud!). Then, make a plan to get back on track.

Everyone’s path to better health and wellbeing will have highs and lows. Recognising that nobody is perfect - and that setbacks are just part of being human - is the key to showing self-compassion.