Self-compassion Beyond Food and Body Image


Hi everybody. It’s Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross. And today we’re going to be talking about
Self-compassion beyond food and body image. Or what I like to call How to stop trying
to hate yourself thin. I’m going to talk to you about what is the
definition of self-compassion and why self-compassion is important. And then I’ll give you three things that you
can do to start developing self-compassion. So, let’s get started. Many people, maybe like you if you have binge
eating disorder or emotional eating or food addiction, you probably aren’t consciously
aware that you’re trying to hate yourself thin. But if you have behaviors such as food obsessions,
chronic dieting, a lot of negative body talk or body dissatisfaction, deprivation, “can’t
eat that; it’s bad for me”, these are all examples of how you may be trying to hate
yourself thin. This desire to hate yourself thin that comes
from the unconscious belief that if I’m hard on myself, then I won’t gain weight. Or if I’m hard on myself, I can… [fill in
the blank]. Whatever your goal is, or whatever the New
Year’s resolution is that you’ve already set up. But what we know is you can’t really hate
yourself thin. Some people feel like, “Oh, maybe I’m just
not being hard enough on myself.” Well, that doesn’t work as well either. So, if you recognize yourself in this description,
now’s the time to ask yourself, “Is this working for me? Is this really working?” And if it’s not, then you may want to try
a different approach. So, being nice to yourself, particularly,
especially during a personal setback or stressful experience, is what’s known as self-compassion. There’s your definition of self-compassion-
being nice to yourself, especially during stressful situations or personal setback. I’ll give you an example for myself. I recently was very privileged to give a TEDx
talk in Texas, in Pleasant Grove, Texas. And after the talk, I felt a lot of insecurity
and was worried maybe I didn’t do as well as I thought I had, I should have done better. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a situation
like that, where you feel like maybe you failed in your performance in some way. So that went on in my head, and I started
to notice how miserable it was making me. And then I just stopped and stepped back and
was able to realize this was a huge goal that I accomplished. And not only that, but I did the best I could. So that’s an example of how even in a stressful
situation you can be nice to yourself. Because continuing to beat myself up was not
going to change what goes up on https://www.ted.com/. And I’ll let you know the link when it comes
out, and you can be the judge yourself. So, part of this self-compassion is seeing
yourself in a new light as someone going through a process or being on a journey. And if you can see that all the challenges
and all of what you may have called failures along the way are all just part of the process
or the journey, it may help you recognize that what’s ahead of you on your journey is
up to you and it’s all part of the process. Sometimes we’re quick to judge when something
happens, “Oh, this isn’t what I expected. It should have been different.” But usually those times, or oftentimes, those
times can bring even better results than what we had hoped for, if we just don’t get stuck
in wanting it to look a certain way. The most important thing to know is that research
shows that if you respond to life’s difficulties with self-compassion, this can reduce depression,
stress, performance anxiety and body dissatisfaction. And it can also increase happiness, self-confidence
and immune function. Who doesn’t want that? And the most important person to have compassion
for is who? It’s you! It’s yourself. The deepest healing that you can ever have
is really awakening to who you truly are, your authentic self. And your authentic self and being accepting
of that has to do with seeing yourself as you really are – your flaws and your mistakes
– but seeing those with compassion. When this happens, you will find yourself
moving beyond just the focus on behaviors or appearance, so just beyond the bingeing,
the number on the scale, the emotional eating. And over time as you come to know yourself
better and better, you may be able to stop judging your past and accept those character
flaws. And then you will feel more compassion towards
other people as well. So, just give it a give it some thought, will
you. So if you want to start working on self-compassion,
here are three ways that you can do that. 1. First, you must notice your own suffering. Admit the pain you feel from binge eating,
compulsive overeating, emotional eating, and food addiction. So that’s just saying, “Yes, I am in pain. I’m suffering. 2. Open your heart to accept and notice the suffering
that your eating behaviors have caused. So this is saying, “I accept that no matter
what I do, I’m still bingeing and this is a source of huge amount of suffering and pain
for me.” 3. The Buddhists say that pain is part of the
human condition. This means none of us are perfect, and all
of us deserve compassion and understanding. Many people, especially with eating issues,
love to compare themselves to other people and say, “Well, if I looked like her, then
I would be more deserving. And if I just keep beating myself up, maybe
I can get there.” But it really doesn’t work that way. So all of us deserve compassion and understanding
no matter what the number on the scale is. No matter whether you followed your theoretical
perfect diet plan or not. No matter what’s happening in your life, we
all deserve compassion and understanding. I’d love to give you a little exercise. I’d encourage you to have a journal handy
after listening to the podcast, and just write down two ways in which you can treat yourself
with more compassion. Now, many people who have trouble feeling
self-compassion can’t imagine being compassionate towards a small child or a pet, especially
a beloved child or a beloved pet. So, if you can think of how you can give yourself
the same care you would give to a small child or a pet, that would be a great way for you
to start developing self-compassion. So I’m encouraging you to do this exercise
and see where you get. Next week, we’re going to be talking about
Learning to have compassion with myself for who I am. Please subscribe to my channel and turn on
your notifications so you can find out when the next video is being posted right away. I really appreciate your listening. This is the work of recovery. Thank you.

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