Finding Support When You’re Struggling with Shame

By Dr. Gretchen KubackyThriving, , ,

If you find yourself struggling  to do the things you know you need to do in order to improve your health, or ashamed or embarrassed by your failure to change, you might be helped by the following approaches:

  • Find a friend who has similar challenges.  She could be a person you see regularly, or someone you locate in an online support group.  Talk to her about your concerns, and get some validation from her.  Perhaps she will have ideas about how to overcome your shame.
  • Start seeing a psychologist who can help you uncover and work through the roots of your shame.
  • Take it slowly, be kind to yourself, and adjust as needed.  For example, if you’re too embarrassed to show up at the gym, find comfortable, attractive workout clothes that downplay the “ugly” parts.  Make a schedule for showing up.  Get a friend to go with you, or to help you be accountable.  Commit to doing just 15 or 20 minutes, and build on that.  Make sure you don’t do anything that’s going to injure you, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while, and try to make the experience as pleasant as possible.  Get a stylish, BPA-free water bottle.  Download some new inspirational music to your iPod.
  • Utilize the process of journaling to record your thoughts and feelings.  When you catch yourself writing negative things like “I’m so fat,” “I could barely do half,” “I’m too slow,” counter them, in writing, with positive statements, like “I showed up – again!,” or “I did more today than I did yesterday, and I’m proud of myself.”

 

When you begin to bring consciousness to your shame and embarrassment, and practice gently pushing your own limitations and boundaries, with gentle support, you’ll find the shame and embarrassment fading away.