One of the most significant milestones in healing from shame is shifting from judging to understanding yourself. This way of seeing myself defused my shame and freed me from judging others. I learned to stop judging my thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and understand them instead.
Here are some examples:
Shame Mindset #1: Sleeping in means I am lazy.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that my melatonin levels are at their peak at 6 am when the rest of the world is waking up and at its lowest at 6 pm when the rest of the world is slowing down. Melatonin is the body’s sleep hormone.
Shame Mindset #2: Wetting my bed as a child meant I was bad.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that I had inherited the tendency to wet my bed. This is caused by delayed growth in the mechanism which reduces the amount of urine during sleep. It is also a common behaviour of a child who experiences family trauma.
Shame Mindset #3: Craving sweet food at certain times of the month meant I lacked will power.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that fluctuations in my female hormones affect my appetite.
Shame Mindset #4: Taking anti-depressants is a sign of weakness.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that my body does not regulate serotonin effectively during my menstrual cycle, and an anti-depressant can improve regulation during these times.
Shame Mindset #5: Obesity stems from overeating and lack of exercise.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that the causes behind my obesity were many and complex. It was a combination of genetics, food intolerances, fat cells which were formed when I was developing, and unhealthy patterns developed as a child.
Shame Mindset #6: My health is measured by how slim/petite I am.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that body type is not the sole basis for determining health. An overweight fit person can be healthier than a slim/petite unfit person.
Shame Mindset #7: Unless I’m thin I have no right to enjoy food.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that every human being, no matter their weight, benefits from choosing to eat and enjoy a healthy diet. Eating unhealthy food is detrimental whatever your size. Scientific research shows that people who have a slender body shape can suffer the same detrimental health issues and diseases, which are typically associated with the obese, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Shame Mindset #8: Having fat on my body means I am unhealthy
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that some body fat is unhealthier than others. The issue is where the fat is stored. Fat around the organs inside the abdomen can lead to heart disease and other problems. This is determined by the size of the abdomen in comparison to the hips.
Shame Mindset #9: Food does not affect my mood; I am just a temperamental person.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that eating a range of healthy whole foods over a week contributes to both my physical and emotional wellbeing. I have also discovered that I am intolerant to certain foods and this affects my physical and emotional wellbeing; I am moody, sore in my muscles and joints, and I feel fatigued.
Shame Mindset #10: My toxic childhood experience was my fault.
Understanding Mindset: I discovered that my parents were acting out of their own wounds and would have treated any child the same. Perhaps I could be the one who breaks this pattern in my family tree. Ultimately, I am responsible for how I choose to behave.
Life is not black and white. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Instead, look for the reason behind your behaviours. Understanding ourselves is an important step to healing. I have learned a lot and experienced much healing by looking at my life in this way. Each time you find you are judging yourself, ask why this is happening instead.