Are you too hard on you?

Ex­perts re­veal the se­cret to trans­form­ing self-crit­i­cism into self-kind­ness so you can face down chal­lenges with hap­pi­ness and con­fi­dence

First For Women - - We put you first -

From com­fort­ing words to bear hugs to en­cour­ag­ing text mes­sages, you’re quick to shower oth­ers with sup­port when they feel less than per­fect. But cut to painful mo­ments when you feel em­bar­rassed or flawed: You hold back those very same gifts of love and ac­cep­tance. What gives?

“So­ci­ety says women should be self­sac­ri­fic­ing and fo­cused on help­ing oth­ers,” says Kristin Neff, Ph.D., au­thor of Self-Com­pas­sion. “We grow up think­ing self-kind­ness will make us self­ish, but there’s a whole body of re­search show­ing these mis­giv­ings are un­true.” Neff cites stud­ies in which par­ents of kids with autism, peo­ple go­ing through a di­vorce and vet­er­ans re­turn­ing from war had greater self-es­teem and re­silience when they used self-en­cour­age­ment rather than judg­ing or iso­lat­ing them­selves.

“It seems ob­vi­ous, yet we still some­how believe we’re bet­ter off skip­ping the sup­port and cut­ting our­selves down,” says Neff. But do­ing so not only harms us, it has rip­ple ef­fects on loved ones: In her re­search, part­ners rated self-com­pas­sion­ate mates as more giv­ing, car­ing and pa­tient than those who skimped on self-care. Why? “If you can recharge your own bat­tery, you have more—not less—to give.”

Luck­ily, Neff says once you shift to kin­der self-talk, pos­i­tive results fol­low: “I’ve been sur­prised at how dras­ti­cally be­hav­ior can change al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter peo­ple start be­ing their own ally.” Read on for the strate­gies for cul­ti­vat­ing the self-gen­eros­ity you de­serve.

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