Self-compassionate women have more positive body image and cope better with personal disappointments and setbacks in their daily lives, a new study has found.
Research at the University of Waterloo found that this self-compassion might be an important means to protect girls and young women against unhealthy weight-control practices and eating disorders.
Lead author Allison Kelly said that women may experience a more positive body image and better eating habits if they approach disappointments and distress with kindness and the recognition that these struggles are a normal part of life.
Kelly added that how women treat themselves during difficult times that may seem unrelated to their bodies and eating seems to have a bearing on how they feel about our bodies and our relationship with food.
This study adds to the growing body of literature suggesting that self-compassion might offer unique benefits that self-esteem, which comes from evaluating oneself as above average that may be limited in helping individuals cope with perceived shortcomings, does not.
Kelly further added that regardless of their weight, women with higher self-compassion have better body image and fewer concerns about weight, body shape or eating, as there is something about a high level of acceptance and understanding of oneself that helps people not necessarily view their bodies more positively, but rather acknowledge their bodies' imperfections and be okay with them.
The study appears in the journal Body Image.