Understanding The Shame Spiral

One of the definitions in the Urban Dictionary of the Shame Spiral is this:

“A phenomenon that occurs when one is not only ashamed f something, but “ashamed” that one is ashamed, resulting in an endless decrease in self-confidence and an exponential increase in self-loathing.  As a self-conscious emotion, shame informs us of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, regret, or disconnection. Shame is a clear signal that our positive feelings have been interrupted. Shame is often confused with guilt--an emotion we might experience as a result of a wrongdoing about which we might feel remorseful and wish to make amends.“

Regardless of the trigger, when shame is experienced, the deterioration of an esteemed sense of self can be devastating.  Never is this more apparent than in our attempts to gain control of our diet and food intake.

This causes many of us hide who we really are. We bury our shame thinking that if anyone knew we would no longer be accepted. Have you ever..

  • Experienced body shame?

  • Been told you were not good enough in the body you lived in?

  • Been disapproved of for looking a certain way, wearing a certain type of clothing or living in a higher-weight (or lower-weight) body?

  • Been told that certain foods were “wrong” or “bad”?

Early childhood memories of feeling shamed about the way your body looks or your relationship to food can trigger ongoing shame in adulthood. This could perhaps also lead to bad food choices and eating disorder behaviors. When we choose to act on urges we surrender to our animalistic side and lower the flame of our soul just a bit and let our reptilian brains take over.

But when we remain conscious of the reptilian brain and it’s urges, we turn our inner flame into a blaze and allow our soul to  soar to its full potential. Radical acceptance arises as we cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion, and it reveals the sacred presence that shines through our own, and all beings. 

I understand shame and have experienced it around my own food choices and body image. I can help you bring your shame into the light where it cannot continue to exist.  We will explore how to cultivate the forgiveness and compassion which allows us to embrace ourselves and others with an open and wise heart. You deserve nothing less. The antidote to shame is awareness empathy and in working with a qualified wellness coach is your first step into the light.

Justine Divett