Give Me A Break

Jenny Stahl senior editor for Pointe and new contributing writer for My Body My Image talks about women’s All or Nothing Superwoman complex- and how having compassion for self can make a HUGE difference.

A little love goes a long way—especially when it comes to loving yourself. No, I’m not a hippy. New research proves it’s true! Scientists have found that having self-compassion helps you not only live a happier life, but also a healthier one, too.
American culture often tells us that to succeed, we just need to work harder, be better, keep ourselves from falling prey to temptation. This seems especially true for women. All too often, we get caught up in a competitive cycle of proving to ourselves and everyone around us that we have the willpower it takes to accomplish everything we want. Anything she can do, with enough determination, I can do better. If I just perform 500 crunches a day for the next year, I’ll have her abs. As long as I never touch fried food, I can stay under 130 pounds.

Many of us are afraid that if we don’t keep up the self-criticism, we’ll let ourselves go and become overly indulgent. In fact, as Theresa noted on My Body My Image last month, a Glamour poll recently found that 97 percent of women have an “I hate my body” moment at least once a day, with the average being 13 negative body image thoughts per day! That’s a hell of a lot of negativity, and if you were doing it to anyone but yourself, you’d probably be strapped with a restraining order for emotional abuse.

When we give ourselves no wiggle room, no compassion for our human tendencies, we end up feeling guilty over any minor offense, which only leads to a downward spiral of even more destructive behaviors. Because we tend to think of ourselves in all or nothing terms: saint or sinner, virgin or slut, fat or thin. It’s hard to find a middle ground, to accept the shades of grey between the black and white of what we define as “good” or “bad” behaviors. Once we slip up, we irrationally put ourselves in the “bad” category, so we figure we might as well keep going because we don’t deserve any better anyway.

For example, I know that when I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a couple scoops of ice cream once in awhile, I’m able to keep it at that: a couple scoops. But whenever I try to enforce an all-out ban on sweets, I’ll eventually get an uncontrollable craving for Ben & Jerry’s, buy a pint, feel guilty about it, and then somehow the entire thing will disappear in less than an hour. Healthy diet: Fail.
Researchers hypothesize that when we disapprove of our own actions, we set ourselves up for behaviors like emotional eating. But when we acknowledge that nobody is perfect and give ourselves permission to accept our flaws, it’s easier to do things in moderation. We’re able to keep from freaking out and acting like a crazy person.
Accept your failure to be perfect. Because expecting anything else is simply unrealistic.
T’ruth be told you can be a Super Woman or even a Wonder Woman and not have to be perfect all the time. Just remember you are a Woman which make you human. And just a side bar how FIERCE is Linda CARTER??? And you know I had to find a Brown Superwoman- had to See myself to Be Myself!!!lol