Shame is a choice

Yesterday I was reading a book review my friend sent me on Rachel Hollis’ new book. She sent it because we had collectively decided to return her book (audible) and try something else. Even though Rachel is AWESOME, it wasn’t what we were looking for.

As I was reading the review, I nodded along for a bit. Then I had to stop as the reviewer went on and on about how Rachel was fat shaming folks by writing lines like:

  • “There are no overweight animals in nature.”
  •  She described her breastfeeding E-size boobs as “Enormous, as in Yowza.”
  • “It’s so simple to lose weight…It’s simple, but not easy.”

That’s when I stopped reading. Here’s a thinker:

SHAME IS A CHOICE.

Just like being overweight, choosing to feel shame is a choice. Just like losing weight, deciding to let go of shame is really hard. I’m not denying that. But no one can make you feel a certain way without your consent. Therefore, no one can make you feel shame about being overweight without your consent.

Shame is time stolen by the devil. While guilt can be productive and motivate change or better behavior, shame serves no function other than to make you feel bad about yourself. Shame is absolutely useless, just like all the extra fat I’m carrying around right now.

One of the biggest problems in our society today is how we point fingers at others who make us feel a certain way. Guess what? You are the only one in charge of that. If you don’t agree with other people’s opinions, that’s just fine. If you don’t think losing weight is simple, that’s fine. But choosing to feel bad because of someone else’s thoughts is not fine. Also, choosing to point fingers is also not fine.

Now, I’m not saying it’s an easy habit to break. Just like reaching for the red wine or chips (me!), it’s a hard habit to break. What you can do instead is get really curious. If you feel yourself getting defensive while reading or hearing something, stop and investigate why. It might be because underneath there is some underlying shame about that particular topic. Maybe you read about homeschooling and felt defensive. Maybe you heard about another person doing a business idea you’d thought about and felt a certain kind of way. It’s likely the shame monster is trying to rear it ugly head. So, ask questions.

Are you actually just fine with your weight and no one else, especially a rich thin woman, can make you feel a certain way? Good, then you can just be happy for her and be happy for you.

Are you actually totally enjoying the free time you have when your kids are at school, satisfied with their schooling and their character? Good! Then be happy for that person and for yourself.

Can you acknowledge that your season in life isn’t the best for a new business but when it is you’re going to rock it? Fine! Then be happy for that person and for yourself.

These are some “light-hearted” examples that life coaching can help with. There are, of course, some traumatic events that cause shame that require therapy. Still, I stand by this idea:

Shame, like any other emotion is a choice.

It does take some serious mind-management to conquer it but it can be done.

Girl, stop feeling shame. Also, stop shaming people about shaming people. 😉

 

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