The Gift of Kindness

What do you say when your best friend tells you that they’ve started exercising? “Good job!” “Way to go!” What about when your spouse slips up with their diet? Do you say, “You’ll do better tomorrow." Why do we cheer on our friends and family, but not ourselves?

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What do you say when your best friend tells you that they’ve started exercising?  “Good job!” “Way to go!”  What about when your spouse slips up with their diet? Do you say, “You’ll do better tomorrow."  Why do we cheer on our friends and family, but not ourselves?


If you start exercising, are you your best cheerleader or do you say, “I should’ve done this years ago”? If you have the diet slip do you gently nudge yourself back on track or do you say, “I'm a big, fat loser! I knew I’d fail”? Chances are that you are far kinder to others than you are to yourself.


We have a misguided notion that calling ourselves names and putting ourselves down will somehow give us the kick in the behind that will change our behavior. Unfortunately, it does just the opposite. Speaking to yourself in a punishing, unkind way decreases motivation and makes you feel bad. In turn, feeling bad leads to overeating and other unhealthy coping strategies.


Show a little compassion. Ask yourself, “Would I tell my best friend this?” If the answer is no, try to rewrite your inner dialogue in a way you’d speak to a loved one. This holiday, give yourself the gift of kindness.

Blog written by Leslie Heinberg, PhD
Leslie Heinberg, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Director of Behavioral Services for the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at...