Shame on… Me?
I’ve been contemplating many things over the past few years – when my health began to take a turn with chronic pain when I had two Frozen Shoulders several years ago. I began to take notice of my emotions and fears. Dealing with chronic pain was new to me and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. My body wasn’t happy and I have taken years to get it to a place where I feel I may finally be getting better, more aligned and balanced. This journey has taken many twists and turns – frozen shoulders were just the beginning and it was a reminder that I need to be more conscious of what is happening to my body.
Since then and especially this past two years I have learned a lot about my fears associated with me. One area has always been my weight and I didn’t fully appreciate the connection weight has to food, exercise or even hormones until recently. And when it comes to weight gain – I have noticed that we have a great deal of shame associated with our bodies. We see the way media portrays health and although models seem unhealthy to me the media seems to have made such models the dreams of every young girl – and recently boys – and these dreams seem to be connected to our thoughts about our body image and how in many cases we try to or fail to achieve the ‘ideal body image’. And why is this? There is a lot at play here but ‘addiction’ is one such challenge.
When it comes to addictions – food – is the one area we can’t just stop. We have to eat. Smoking, drug abuse, excessive streaming are areas that we can stop cold turkey (albeit not easily). But food, stopping eating – not so easy. Recognition of addictions are key to understanding how we sooth ourselves when feeling uncomfortable. Emotional eating is something many struggle with – and this is the kind of eating we do when we feel uncomfortable. And we could be uncomfortable about many things in our lives. And with comfort eating may come comfort weight gain but that is not actually very comfortable at all because the shame associated with weight or our body image is unbelievable!
We are the only one to blame when it comes to our weight. We can play the victim and say it is genes – or blame the processed food industry etc. – but ultimately we know that we are at fault. And so what do we do? We shame ourselves for appearing the way we do.
When it comes to food we have little control over our ego’s needs and desires. In fact we probably don’t even realize how insidious our ego is when we feel sad, depressed or out of control – and then we reach for food (or whatever is our vice) to comfort us. It becomes an automatic response to our emotions. Our ego spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on what we shouldn’t be eating. Eventually it wears us down and we reach for something that will soothe our emotional state.
Once we reach for something to soothe us we begin the cycle of shame and guilt. We give in and often feel we have “no willpower” to make better choices. This leads to a downward spiral often leaving us depressed and unhappy. We offer statements to life that “next time or next week I’ll do better”. We don’t realize that our ego is sabotaging us at every turn – it’s that insufferable voice that creates fear by shaming and triggering our reactions. Trying not to give in becomes an obsession as that is all our mind can think about. For periods of time we can do better and we feel we are in control. But our ego is often in control of our lives; using fear to control and sabotage our best efforts. And it is our fears via ego that ultimately take control or our reactions. However, it is the shame out of most of the emotions that overwhelms us and makes us fall back into our old patterns of reactions.
With the overabundance of information on diets and food it is no wonder we are confused – what is best for us – low fat, low sugar, celery juice, keto, Atkins and the list goes on and on. However science seems to be clarifying our understanding as we now know, for example, that sugar is really a drug and GMO products are interfering with the balance of our internal body systems. Then we take into consideration the multiple food intolerances that are changing how our bodies interact with food and there is also our gut health which has become so crucial to how we tolerate and process food. Yet when we feel uncomfortable – stressed, depressed, saddened – we reach for something comforting. And then focuses on something to distract us from whatever it is that is making us feel uncomfortable. And that is why ‘comfort food’ eating happens: it’s a distraction. Question: Is it our ego determines our eating patterns?
However, it is the shame that seemingly defines us. It is the shame that makes us want to hide instead of participate in life. Shame stops us from acknowledging how our ego is sabotaging us. Shame is a powerful emotion that forces us to continue to hurt ourselves. How do you come to a place of acceptance when you feel so ashamed of who you are? How do you forgive yourself for something that you feel so ashamed about?
Shame is an emotion that we find challenging to deal with. We may have learned to not take it personally when someone is ashamed of us – like families or friends. However, we find it almost impossible to make choices – healthy choices – when we are ashamed of ourselves. The thing is we can’t allow shame to shame us. We are exactly where we are supposed to be. If we are learning about body image and healthy foods for our digestive system – it is an ongoing process.
I think it is time we realize that the world we live in is so much more than we acknowledge. This world is Magical and Beautiful. We are the center of our world and we can choose how to respond. So don’t allow your ego to trick and sabotage your intention for a healthy life. Become educated about YOU. If you can’t make changes to your diet immediately – or fail to follow a program perfectly – acknowledge that it is part of the journey and don’t let any temporary sense of failure derail you. Find a way to unconsciously Love and Accept who you are right NOW. Don’t worry about the past or the future. Change happens in the moment. Connect to your Inner Goddess/God and Breathe. You can choose how you want to respond to your ego and your cravings. You can choose to BE without shame because where you are right now is the only way to embrace YOU.