battling the demons of SHAME
I KNEW that my life was out of whack. I KNEW that I was not living a healthy lifestyle. I KNEW I was not living up to my own expectations. I KNEW I needed to make changes.
But, shame got in the way.
We can experience shame in any area of our lives: health, wealth, career, relationship…you name it. Shame is a POWERFUL emotion. Shame creeps in when our beliefs or values fail to align with our actions; when we KNOW we’re not doing the work or falling short of our greater goals. Shame can eat us alive if we let it, and can cripple the strongest among us in one fell swoop.
For most of my life, I have struggled with shame in all areas of my life but none more than when it came to my health and weight. I knew what healthy meant, and I even had the support, education and finances to afford to live a healthy lifestyle, but nonetheless, I didn’t use those tools, that education or those privileges to protect my health. Instead, I would make choices that I knew wouldn’t serve me (or my health) well, and then, would find myself overcome by feelings of shame, which would lead to me hiding those decisions or downplaying them or doubling down on those poor choices only to end up feeling even more shame as a result. It’s a cycle of self-destruction that is hard to explain if you’ve never been there…
Year after year, well into my adulthood, this cycle perpetuated: poor, unhealthy choice —> shame —> weight gain —> poor, unhealthy choice —> shame —> weight gain …
That’s right: in my case, knowing better didn’t lead to doing better. For over 25 years. Oof.
I can’t tell you exactly what changed, when or why the switch flipped…maybe I finally got tired of hiding and wallowing in my shame. My shoulders and heart were exhausted from carrying the heavy burden of self-blame. Whatever the case, thankfully, mercifully, it wasn’t too late for me to turn my health (and, in turn, my story) around.
I got real with myself; asked for help; prioritized and took control of my health. I still fought (and will always) fight the shame demon, but as I begin to live a healthier life of greater congruence - where my daily action is better aligned with my values and beliefs - these pervasive feelings of shame take up less room in my daily life. As I focus on bringing each aspect of my life (health, relationship, career, etc) into line with my own expectations and values - into congruency - I am able to live with a greater sense of health, peace and confidence.
Friends, no “diet” can make this kind of life-altering change happen. This type of change comes from changing your habits…changing your mindset…changing your priorities…getting real with yourself and committing to lifelong change. Don't let shame keep you from making changes that better serve you, your health and your heart. Yes, you will have to do the daily work, but I am living proof that doing that daily work is worth it!
Do you struggle with a life that is out of balance? Is your health suffering as a result? Do your daily actions and choices move you closer to your personal goals? Would creating congruency between what you WANT and what you DO improve your well-being and your health?