Stop Trying To Shame Yourself Into Change

As a culture we use shame to try to change our behavior. When has that ever worked for you? In my experience, shame just drives me further into emotional eating. I am listening to Brenè Brown’s audio recording The Power of Vulnerability for the third time. If you haven’t ever read one of her books or listened to her speak, please check her out. I loved it more than any of her books. My favorite takeaway quote is: “There is not one drop of empirical evidence that shows shame is a good way to change behavior”. She goes on to talk about how shame is so intertwined with addiction, we don’t know where one ends and the other begins. I think this is even more true when it comes to our relationship with food and weight. How many times have you said you ”should” go to the gym only to stay home, feel crappy and eat yourself into numb oblivion? How many times have you said you “should” eat the salad when you really wanted fettuccini alfredo and beat yourself up the rest of the night because you went with the pasta? Did you actually change your behavior in either scenario? No. Instead, you probably kept going because you had already “failed”. Then, you take it a step further. You call yourself names and feel even worse. This is shame, people! Shame will never help you change. The only way we can change is to love ourselves enough to treat ourselves with nurturing compassion. This will never happen when shame is in the picture. When we love someone, we treat them well. When we constantly shame ourselves, this is not rooted in love. When our actions are not rooted in love, we will never be good to our body. We will stay in the shame and punishment cycle. I can assure you, this doesn’t help. By addressing our underlying shame, we can release ourselves from this pain and start to give our body the love it deserves!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.

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