“Change is possible, but it must start with self acceptance.”- Alexander Lowen.
Fear and criticism is a powerful way to change a person. However, like any other hammer-to-nail approach, such crude method don’t usually create a lasting change.
The problem is, using fear and guilt as a motivator usually induce anxiety and guilt that undermines the change itself.
Anxiety and guilt distracts people from the task at hand, interfering with their ability to focus and give their best.
Instead, use self compassion to nudge a person/yourself to change. That means changing from a position of worth, not of lack.
You change because you want to, not because you have to.
Whereas the fear and guilt approach taps into your extrinsic motivation- a drive to gain something; the self compassion approach taps into your intrinsic motivation- a drive to do something because we want to learn, grow simply because we find the activity fascinating.
It means instead of continually asking if we’re good enough, we ask, what’s good for us?
Self compassion taps into your inner desire to be healthy and happy. If you care about yourself, you’ll do what you need to do to learn and grow. You’ll want to change unhelpful patterns of behavior, even if that means giving up certain things you like for a while.
For example, if you are planning to go on a diet, the self compassionate approach would be different from the fear driven approach. Instead of focusing on losing weight or looking thin, you focus on becoming healthy.
You forgive yourself for your lapses from time to time, realizing that we are not machines whose dials can simply be turned to ‘reduce calorie input.’
Most people fluctuate in their ability to stay focused on their eating goals.
When you don’t need to be perfect in order to feel good about yourself, you can drop the obsessive fixation with being thin enough or pretty enough and accept yourself for who you are.
You can then focus on what matters most- being healthy and that always looks good. Such is the power of changing from a position of worth…
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