Go Easy on Yourself
By Stuart Bradford
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
That simple question is the basis for a new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how_____(I)_____people view themselves. People who find it_____(II)_____to be supportive and understanding to others often score_____(III)_____low on self-compassion tests. They get _____(IV)_____with themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.
The research suggests that accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight. This idea does to contrast with the advice of many doctors and self-help books, which suggest that willpower and self-discipline are the keys to better health. But Kristin Neff, apioneer in the field, says self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lower standards.
“I found inmy research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent,” said Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. “They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
The words that properly fill in the blanks I, II, III and IV in the text are:
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