Researchers asked two groups of college women to eat donuts.
One group was then given a minor self-compassion intervention like this – “I hope you won’t be hard on yourself [for eating the donut]. Everyone eats unhealthily sometimes, and everyone in this study eats this stuff…”
Both groups were then asked them to taste-test some candy. The findings? The group that was first exposed to a minor self-compassion intervention after eating donuts ate significantly less candy than the control group.
This suggests that if we can find a way to be kind to ourselves when we know we have slipped, it will lead to better choices.
One of the fears that people have about self-compassion is that it will lower our expectations and lead to a lazy life–giving ourselves whatever we want when we want it. But would a compassionate mother give her children ice cream whenever they asked for it? I don’t think so.
Self-compassion allows us to ask ourselves what we really need–what will bring the greatest long-term benefit.
Self-indulgence is commonly associated with narcissism, but the research shows that self-compassion has no relationship to narcissism. The research also shows that the goals of self-compassionate people are just as high as others, but self-compassionate people go about achieving them in different ways.
Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox of life is that
when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”