5 Steps to Let Go of Guilt- and Embrace your Body
Most problematic eaters experience guilt and shame daily and often it shapes their behaviours and actions towards themselves on a subconscious level. Guilt comes from believing the stories, rules and regulations you have set out for your life. When you fail to meet your own standards, this self defeating emotion takes over. If you are feeling guilt then some of these thoughts may sound familiar: “ I should have done better”
“ I am never going to get this”
“ I knew what to do…but I didn’t do it
Shame stems from guilty thoughts that build on each other and create distorted deep rooted belief systems about oneself. The might look like:
“ I am defective”
“ Im not worth fighting for”
“ Im an unlovable person”
Perfectionism is often associated with people who experience a high level of guilt and shame in their lives. If you have an unwritten rulebook that you are trying to follow and when you don’t follow the laid out rules you label the action or thought as wrong, bad, and a mistake you will find yourself caught in this spiral. Most often, this rulebook was written in childhood and is outdated and sprinkled with projection. In other words, guilt and shame comes from outdated files that create distorted thoughts and in turn self-destructive behaviour.
Letting go of Guilt and Shame
First we need the WILLINGNESS to release the stories that are formed from our thinking which create our problematic eating. They will pop up sometimes very unconsciously and when we have the willingness to explore the thought patterns behind our symptoms, real recovery begins. Once we truly understand that our destructive eating patterns and behaviours stem from our thinking, we realize that we have all the power in the world to heal ourselves. When we get caught up in the thoughts that are disempowering, self-sacrificing, self-destructive we can be sure that the behaviours to follow will also be just as toxic.
However, if you can notice the thoughts and transform them before they turn into stories and patterns then you can interrupt the behaviours and in this way, you can choose consciously the next right action. We all have old files that it we are acting and reacting to all the time. In order to update the files and are head from Windows 97 two Windows 2014, we must first acknowledge that the files we are running our outdated and have the willingness to update them.
Steps to Overcome Guilt and Shame :
- As you did for loneliness, set time aside for a “ Shame Party”. The best way to overcome shame is to feel it fully, and experience it without running. Notice the guilt in your body and the thoughts you have attached to this guilt as you sit quietly. Next, imagaine you are a small child and an adult is noticing the guilt and shame you have inflicted on yourself. Be gentle but notice and bring in compassion to this space. By being fully present to the shame you allow it to dissipate naturally.
- Observe the thoughts under the shame. Write out any and all thoughts that are associated with your shame and guilt. For example, “ I don’t exercise enough”, or “ I don’t deserve to be around people."
- Write all affirmative thoughts to your distortions above and decide how you can begin to BE those afirmations. For example, if your thought is “ I don’t want to go out tonight because I hate the way I look”. Your affirmative thought might be “ I know that there are ups and downs on this journey and today I will accept that it doent look perfect. I will not punish myself more by isolating and “beating myself up".
- Take “ selfish” action. Make a list of at least 5 things you can do differently to put yourself first end let go of the guilt and shame. For example, taking the night for yourself and enjoying a bubble bath or treating yourself to a massage.
- Write a list of the things you think you “should be doing”. Beside each one, write 3 actions steps you will take on a smaller level, to start working towards these goals. Recognize that you are choosing to let go of the “all or non” thinking here and embracing what is possible just for today. Put these steps in your calander as follow up. Begin to implement these steps one day at a time, one week at a time and create new habits, one step at a time.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this process, please share below and pass on to those it might serve :)