No matter what type of Eating or Weight Disorder you may have suffered or are suffering, Shame will be somewhere in your story. This is a shared experience and it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about your:

  • Size;
  • Shape;
  • Age;
  • Gender;
  • Colour of your skin;
  • Culture or Ethnicity, or
  • Religious/Spiritual beliefs.

Everyone who suffers from Binge Eating, Emotional Eating and the likes, shares in the experience and story of Shame.

What is Shame?

Shame is an emotion that affects the way you see yourself. It makes you feel self-conscious, inadequate, worthless, powerless, helpless, and hopeless. Shame is experienced in the depths of secrecy and isolation – it controls you through fear.

Shame does not distinguish between action and the self – they are one. Therefore, Shame makes you believe that your actions or ‘bad’ behaviour cannot be separated from a ‘bad’ self and as such, you are a ‘bad’ person for what you have done.

Related: Shame: Is It a Choice or a Reality

Shame Leads to…

 

Shame Leads to…

 

Without being aware of it, Shame has a playbook for you. How it shows
up in your life depends on your upbringing and life experiences. Here
are just a few patterns that Shame leads to:

  • Sadness;
  • Anxiety;
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviours/Thoughts
  • Depression;
  • Loneliness;
  • Emptiness;
  • Anger;
  • Rage;
  • Envy
  • Bullying;
  • Emotional abuse;
  • Physical abuse;
  • Addiction;
  • Eating Disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia, Food Addiction);
  • Disordered Eating (Binge Eating, Emotional/Stress Eating, Night-time Eating), and
  • Weight.

Brene Brown explains Shame in this TED talk, and the connections it has with guilt, empathy and vulnerability.

3 Tips to Changing the Shame-Trap

Shame becomes ingrained, insidious and overwhelming. It may feel like the only way you know how to be or do anything is to self-criticise. It is hard to break this addiction to hurt yourself.

Like any addiction or pattern, you have the power to change it. 

You need to do the opposite of Shame to disempower it!

Using these three (3) key empowering strategies you can stop shame in its tracks and start to live a life that is not held hostage by fear. Use the following to disempower Shame:

Tip #1: Minimise Shame with Self-kindness

Practice self-compassion and self-kindness to minimise Shame’s effects. Be kind to yourself as you would with a friend or someone you care about. When you are feeling ashamed ask yourself, ‘what would I say to someone else if they were feeling like this?’ This is the advice and kindness to give to yourself.

Tips #2: Stop Shame in its Track with Self-Observation

When you start to feel ashamed, observe your behaviours and patterns. This will allow you to begin to separate the behaviours and patterns from yourself (or who you are). Ask yourself:

  • What did I feel?
  • Why did I respond that way?
  • What are 2-3 other ways I could have handled that?
  • What have I learned?
  • What will I do differently next time?

Use these questions to start changing the behaviours and patterns and disconnect Shame’s power over you.

Tip #3 Kick Shame to the Curb with Self-Acceptance

Learning to accept yourself means all of yourself, with deep understanding and having the courage to let go of harsh self-criticism.

Being aware of your weaknesses and wanting to work on them to change and improve yourself.

Take into account your strengths so you can use them appropriately and celebrate them.

Learn to value yourself, take responsibility (how you treat others and yourself) and find worth in learning and growing, as a person.

Learn to forgive yourself and you will find that your world opens up to more opportunities for what you are looking for – health, happiness, satisfaction, love, purpose…

If you are struggling with regulating your emotions such as Shame and Guilt, you may benefit from seeking professional support from Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic.

This will allow you to explore the story behind your feelings of Shame.

By sharing your stories in a professional and confidential setting you will be able to identify the true underlying causes of your emotions.

Click here to book a Discovery Call to start your journey towards healing, change and growth.

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