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How many times have you been told to love yourself? From the support group flyers to our own family and friends, we’ve all been advised about this simple act that can make us happier.  New research done on human development at the University of Texas at Austin has more to say on the subject.

According to Dr. Kristin Neff, we are generally much more lenient and forgiving when it comes to shortcomings in others. However, when the focus is on ourselves, we become more critical of flaws and often give ourselves a hard time for mistakes that we would brush off in others. Although being critical of ourselves may be a good source of motivation to be better, the study done by Dr. Neff suggests that this could lead to a negative cycle that leaves us even less motivated to seek healthy changes or go about our lives.

While we might need these new findings to tell us that accepting ourselves along with all of our flaws can make us happy, it serves as a good reminder for the next time that a lower-than-expected grade pops up on that exam or one too many brownies ends up in our stomachs. This may seem hard under the stress of college environments, where it’s difficult to avoid the urge to constantly measure ourselves against others. But while challenges are valuable in improving ourselves, there are times when we should give ourselves some well-deserved breaks.

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