According to Brené Brown, "shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Women often experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations. Shame creates feelings of fear, blame and disconnect." She also says that shame is a silent epidemic, something everyone experiences and is associated with depression, grief, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction and violence.
Guilt, on the other hand is a feeling that something you did or thought was wrong...the deed was wrong.
There is a lot more to the psychology of shame and guilt that speaks to society's way of keeping our behavior managed which I won't go into. My purpose for discussing this is to help clarify the difference between being a bad person and doing something you might regret.
So many people equate a moment of bad judgment with their value as a human being. I find this to be especially true of people who find controlling their weight or eating, challenging. This is particularly true of women. Much of our self esteem is wrapped up in how we think the world perceives us physically. When we don't maintain the appearance we think society expects of us, we diminish ourselves as valuable humans. This is not only very damaging to our self esteem but it can lead to some pretty self destructive behavior.
When I was in my late teens, I would often go on starvation diets to reach some unattainable ideal weight. I may have been slightly overweight but depriving myself of food until I couldn't stand it, actually made me binge eat and gain back any weight I may have lost and then some. My shame kept me from having a social life for years in my twenties, because I felt people were judging me for the weight I had gained. I'm sure some were but in my mind everyone was judging me.
I still struggle with my weight. Even now, I am sometimes hesitant to go someplace where I should dress a certain way or can't cover up the way I feel comfortable. But I'm working on letting that go. Life is short. I deserve to live life to its fullest and so do you.
Feeling shame about the way you look robs you of some great opportunities in life. You are worthy of all life has to offer you. Your appearance, weight, age, size, level of ability, intelligence, marital status or anything superficial does not define you as a person. Your character and integrity is what makes you the person you are. You are beautiful inside and out.
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.