Ashamed of the way I look

Postby Abex » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:08 pm

So I ordered my uniform for work it doesn't fit. I've never considered myself of as huge, I knew I wasn't skinny, and I've always had really low self esteem it's just something that I've got used to. When my uniform didn't fit I started panicking because I'm so worried to tell my boss it doesn't fit because it took so long to come and she was getting annoyed .The girls in my job are bitchy and would say things about me behind my back like they have other girls who aren't skinny. I am getting really bad anxiety about this I am even thinking of leaving.I can't tell my mam cause she will shout at me and and make me feel worse and I can't tell my boyfriend cos I'm to embarrassed. I really don't know what to do I just feel ashamed
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:46 pm

Abex wrote: I really don't know what to do I just feel ashamed

Our emotions serve a purpose. Over thousands and thousands of years, emotions are a crucial element that allows our species to not only survive, but thrive. All emotions are universal, yet most are culturally defined.

“Shame” is a culturally defined emotion that serves the collective group more than the individual. It is a way to ensure a degree of conformity, helping share and enforce certain values that in general allow the group to prosper. This can be vital in a group facing the need to survive, but is not so valued in a group where basic needs are being met. For instance, facing a natural disaster or an enemy across the battlefield, a sense of shame can motivate some individuals to share resources or not flee the group. Note, the shame is based on perceived behaviors the individual supposedly can control, such as not fleeing in the face of the enemy.

The questions any individual that feels shame must ask themselves, “Should I feel shame? Are there behaviors I am engaging in or want to engage in that are shameful?”

Most people know the answer fairly quickly and intuitively. If you are born without sight, it is beyond your control and not something that should trigger shame as an emotion. And most people don’t shame a blind person. As stated above, shame is generally based on some perceived behavior that a person should be able to control. An example, and it seems to fit this post, is “fat shaming”. People that engage in shaming behavior, e.g. your coworkers, believe your body shape, your weight is something you can control. They believe you can engage in behaviors that are healthier and that you are not meeting the cultural norms of the group.

When a person cannot control their weight for reason X, the general approach is to inform the group. Word spreads throughout the group that person X has condition Y and shaming diminishes or goes away. When an outsider then tries to shame person X, the group will even defend person X.

Being that you are embarrassed, that you believe your mothers reaction would be negative, that you can’t tell your boyfriend, that you feel shame to approach your boss and coworkers, this suggests that you don’t have condition X that prohibits you from taking better care of yourself. Instead, it suggests that you engage in behaviors that by standards of the group you associate with that are shameful. What are these behaviors of which you are ashamed?

All of the above does not excuse the shaming behaviors. I’m not defending your mother, boss, coworkers, or boyfriend. I am simply pointing out a reality of life. I am pointing out that shaming exists as part of any social group. Even groups that claim shaming is wrong, will hypocritically shame anyone that they believe is participating in the act of shaming.

Shaming has always existed, exists today, and will always exist.

Given this reality, what are you going to do? What are your options in life?

-1- Is start to build your self esteem. This requires time, effort, and commitment on your part. It is easier said than done, but it is the only true path you have forward. I doubt you wish to live your entire life with low self esteem, so start today, make a commitment to yourself today. And the way you build self esteem is by setting small goals, small things you can accomplish. Create an “I can” list or a list of accomplishments you can be proud of rather than ashamed of. Then add to this list each day, each week. Work on growing this list.

-2- Be honest with yourself. If there are things you want to improve and are ashamed of, make those a priority. But don’t pursue these things because of other people, pursue them as things you want.

-3- Don’t buy into “shaming.” Understand that shaming is a universal, but culturally defined group adaptation intended to help the group survive. Once you recognize and understand shaming for what it is, then it is much easier to simply ignore. Don’t blame people, don’t get angry, and don’t let what anyone says or group norms define you.

People try to shame me on a regular basis. I don’t conform to their norms. I don’t care, nor do I blame. I understand what they are wanting of me. They are trying to get me to conform to their beliefs. Good on them. I don’t care, I harbor no resentment as they are simply doing what thousands of years of survival has ingrained within all of us. Instead, I enjoy, smile, and simply focus on me.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have or experience shame. But whatever shame I do hold, it is self imposed. I am ashamed of myself, because I promised myself I would accomplish X or Y and I failed to follow through. I made a commitment to myself or I violated a value I hold, therefore I experience shame. But, NO ONE else will ever shame me without my consent.

Currently you are consenting to let others shame you.

If I were you, I would set my goals, determine on my own what I might be ashamed of, and then I would have a conversation with my boss, coworkers, Mom, boyfriend, etc. If there are things I am ashamed of, I would be honest with myself and with others. I would not bare my soul, but I would be clear with them about certain things I intended to improve. I might even ask for their help. Then I would follow the above 3 points, and move forward in life.
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Postby TheCloud » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:47 am

Your main problem isn't your size. Neither is it your coworker's bitchy comments, nor even your boss' or your mother's displeasure. Your main problem is that you've started using your anxiety as a way to control your life. If you keep going down that path, your hope will gradually vanish. You need to work your way into the light, not disappear into the dark.

There is one truth that is universal in mental health, and that is that the more open you are to life and experience and other people, the more you grow. If you close yourself off, you regress. It's okay to start with something small and carefully open yourself up to someone trustworthy. The more you do it, the easier it will get. Eventually you'll become able to be calm even when someone is deliberately trying to hurt you. But if you do the opposite, and use anxiety against people to shut yourself off more and more, you might end up with a mental disorder that can't be cured.

You're still in a place right now where you can help yourself. And there are definitely people who want to see you thrive, to have a conversation with you and hear your deep thoughts and feelings. It only takes a little bit of light, a little bit of willingness to try, to start on the path to getting better. Just that little bit, and you can save yourself.
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