Have you noticed how we’re constantly reminded of our appearances? Friends are talking about what they’re dissatisfied with, some find it hard to accept compliments, media is consistently showing us how we should look by encouraging weight loss, workouts and the “right” way to look just – you guessed it – right. Often, these idealized images of beauty are making us feel inadequate since these standards are almost impossible to meet. I believe it’s more common among women than men, but this article is for everyone.
So what should we do when we’re being overwhelmed by this negative information?
The answer is self-compassion. We need to change the way we think about our bodies and ourselves. Instead of critiquing we need to change to appreciation and care.
These are a few ways self-compassion helps:
The media information are being put into perspective
This is one a the biggest sources of body-shaming. Not only the tips and ideas to become “perfect”, but also the stupid comments made by people sitting behind their screens, using their time to be mean to others. When looking at images of very fit people, try to remember how much time they’ve put into making their bodies look like that. But more importantly, remember how easy it is to manipulate images by making people look skinnier, more muscular or smoother. With the touch of a few buttons we’re now able to change our entire bodies before we post the photos. So don’t believe everything you see. And as a photographer, I can tell you that a lot of it has to do with shooting from the right angles. It can make a complete difference.
Self-compassion makes us aware of our physical state and appreciate our functions
If we only focus on what our bodies looks like, we miss appreciating how our bodies feel. That, in turn, leads us to not be aware of physical signs, like hunger, pleasure or pain. Not being self-compassionate makes us experience it from an outside perspective. Being self-compassionate will make you experience your body from the inside out – like you’re supposed to. Self-compassion has its roots in self-care and concern for our well-being, which makes us appreciate our bodies and motivate us to be kind to ourselves. This will also make us respect our bodies. And who wouldn’t want to feel like that?
Self-compassion will reduce self-punishment
If you aren’t self-compassionated you’re more likely to punish yourself for feeling undeserving. Like not eating the food you want because you didn’t get that workout done this morning.
You’ll se others as allies, not enemies
Self compassion will make you view others in a more humane way. You’ll realize that other people have their own struggles, and just because you believe someone is perfect it does not mean that they believe they are.
So just be kind to yourself, and others. It’s the nice thing to do.