Shame-one of the most deep-rooted emotions, is really common among women when they have to face problems which involve their physical appearance and their weight. As a result, they can’t accept themselves as they are, they feel “different” and blame themselves. PCOS has a great impact on this mental and emotional issue. Where does shame come from? How can we face it and change it into something positive?
Why do we feel ashamed? It should be linked with a sense of guilty when we know we have done something wrong, we have behaved impolitely, or we have harmed someone.
In this case, shame is useful because it is the base to rebuild the social bond with the person we have damaged. It makes us feel uncomfortable, therefore we try to implements those sympathetic, friendly and collaborative gestures in order to favor a good respectful coexistence.
But why do we feel ashamed of our body shape, of our physical features we are not responsible for?We feel ashamed of our small breast or of our big breast, of out height, (we are either too short or too tall), of our generous belly and hips, of our hair, of our too big or too small feet. This kind of shame leads us to self-isolation.
It comes from a complex past experience which makes us feel unpleasantly naked, inferior, repugnant to the other people. We think we are ridiculous, unworthy, and different. The discomfort, which rises, may rapidly turn into humiliation. This feeling is not the result of actual external criticism, but we do think we are unworthy; this belief leads to deep sadness, mental confusion, and social isolation. We think that the other people share the same merciless opinion we have of ourselves. Actually, we are the only ones who judge ourselves harshly, we have no way out.
It is a negative self-evaluation, which lies on lack of self- confidence, but also on the comparison with a too powerful idealized inner-self. Every time we compare ourselves with it, we experience a bitter sense of failure because it is too powerful to keep up with. We want to look like our inner abstract model of super-woman, we want to become her. Of course, this target is superhuman, we can’t compete with it, hence the sense of failure comes with all its consequences: we feel wrong and unworthy. Anger, sense of guilty and anxiety will follow in a short time. That’s not enough because we take up a never-ending conflict with all the other women, we compare with- they play the role of the winners, we play the role of the losers.
As they are perfect, cheerful and happy, they become the screen we project our inner ideal model of superwoman on- the fracture between us and them is complete. Making friends will get difficult: and we will shut ourselves away, we won’t let anybody come closer, we will feel refused, we will never be part of the group. But we are ourselves the maker of our self-isolation.
Feeling ashamed of our body, of our physical features, of our shapes, of our ugliness leads to some very serious matters: a deeply self-judging attitude, a merciless condemnation, and a refusal of our identity. If all these elements come with a disease such as PCOS, they lead to general discomfort, isolation, and refusal of social relationships. We start feeding some secret deep anger which may give rise to:
- victim complex and resignation, passivity and apathy;
- need to revenge the injustice of the isolation by getting hypercritical and downgrading the other women’s emotional, physical and moral features (if we can’t compete with my body, I will win in other fields of life and I will get aggressive and very competitive);
- self-aggression with a set of “punishments” (sabotaging therapeutic and beauty treatments, food eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, promiscuity), even self-harm.
Shame is really a hard matter to deal with. What may help us? How can we get rid of it? First, we have to admit we suffer from it, that it is the reason for our self-harmful behaviors. We have to realize that it is not the reaction to the other people’s onion of us, but it comes from the opinion we have of ourselves. If we want to get over it, we will have to give more value to our subjectivity, to all the differences which make a human being unique. We must fall in love with our authentic self.
Working on the self-awareness is the main way to get rid of the shame. We have to recognize our recurring negative thoughts, our merciless self- judgments we use to make decisions, in order to realize that they are not axioms but they were born from our own believes. Keep away from: “I am too fat, the diet won’t work”, “I am ill, I am different from the other women, nothing will ever change in my life”, “I don’t want to go to the gym because I am too ugly, the others will make fun of me”, “I am horrible, I am a failure”, “I will be alone forever, no one will love me”.
This is a useful recipe to keep away from the shamefocus on your discomfort, change the way you look at yourself, take up loving yourself, accept yourself as you are including your positive features, not the negatives ones only. And get closer to your inner-self, be aware you are hurt and you need help and love. You are the first who must take care of yourself. Fall in love with you.