The antidote for perfection is...

This week, we went a little deeper into body image. This is a topic that leaves people feeling very vulnerable because there's this idea that perfection is on the horizon after surgery. The truth is, when you lose 40-60% of your body weight, hanging skin is a thing. This can leave people feeling frustrated and super judgmental about their bodies.

There are some instances when people still see the old obese body in the mirror even after a 50, 70, or 100+ pound loss. For some, this will dissipate with time, and the they will begin to see the *new* body emerge in the mirror. For some it takes side by side photos to see a real difference. For others, it may take deeper work such a therapy for this to take form.

The point for today though is less about body image and more about compassion. The bigger issue at play is how mean we are to ourselves after all that we have been through. Since most people don't know how to practice compassion, or even what it is, I want to share more about this today.

Compassion is kindness. Compassion is caring.

Self-compassion is honoring your needs when you're struggling and being kind and supportive to yourself in that moment, just like you would to a friend. It involves acting toward yourself like you would to someone else if you saw them struggling.

Instead of being self-critical, judgmental, or requiring yourself to push feelings down, or 'suck it up', it's about being kind, caring, supportive and encouraging, once again - just like you would with someone else.

So, what is compassion and how does someone practice it?

In my book, Bariatric Mindset Success I talk about the differences in compassion and indulgence. This is because for many years I had completely misinterpreted compassion with treating myself at the end of each day with pizza, ice cream, or other junk food. This in my mind was compassion, yet it was really indulgence.

I didn't know how to self-soothe, relax or unwind without food.

This was a skill that I had to learn so that I could continue to move forward and not return to my pre-surgery self. Does anyone really want to return to their pre-surgery self? No..

But some do because they haven't learned the lessons that they need most to grow themselves from the inside out. The journey, while some might say is very simple, for others is a redisovery of themselves, a recreation, or a process of relearning just about everything.

Yet, compassion may not be practiced because people are so used to the hurt, the pain, putting themselves down, other people putting themselves down, or achieving standards too high to achieve. When you get wrapped up in this type of pattern, it's hard to be kind to yourself, if all you've ever known is self-deprecation, self-denial, self-punishment, and self-hatred.

The other thing that sometimes comes up is perfectionism. Perfectionism is masked as other things and when you don't achieve perfection (because no one ever does), you might berate or be cruel to yourself.

Perfection has an antidote, just like self-cruelty has an antidote which is self-compassion.

The antidote for perfectionism is acceptance. And for someone who has high expectations, the road to acceptance begins with love and compassion.

As I mentioned before, this is a topic that many dismiss as one of the key ingredients to long-term health- and even in the mental health field, we work to help those with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues to practice compassion regularly.

However, this is not just a mental health issue, or a bariatric issue, or a woman issue, it's a societal issue. Self-compassion is something that many dismiss, and deny themselves, yet it's so crucial for our long-term emotional wellness.

I'm not denying that it's a tough world out there, guys, and we're expected to fit into others expectations! Iget it.

How you begin to practice compassion while trying to be the person you want to be, while trying to fill the expectations of your family, boss/job/career, among others .... is to start treating yourself like you would treat others.

Hmm.. that's a tough one right? So here's an activity/exercise for you...

Grab your journal and ask yourself these questions... and journal out your responses...
Let's also use examples, situations, and experiences that do not include food.

How do you support others without food?
How do others support you without the use of food?
How might you treat yourself like you treat your friends when they are going through tough times??
Would you check in to see how you are doing?
Would you encourage yourself to see how you are doing?
Would you do something fun to get your mind off stress?
Would you encourage yourself to go for a walk to lift your mood?
Would you show acceptance, love, and kindness?
What would you tell your best friend if he/she were struggling?

Then ask yourself.. what could you tell yourself that would carry the same tone, the same love, the same support, the same kindness, the same encouragement, and the same connection that you would give to someone else??

What would you do for someone else?

And then.. using these responses ask...

What can I do for myself?

I hope this serves you all this week.. a little lesson in love & compassion and recovery form perfectionism...