Guilt and Shame

I will use the term shame in this page. Guilt has a logic attached to it - a jury can find you guilty or innocent. Therefore there is the underlying connotation that is it merited.

Interestingly, new clients overwhelmingly use the term guilt. It makes me wonder if that very term is legitimising what should not be legitimised. I am talking about innapropriate shame 

See this page for more on this.

From now on, please take the term shame to be innapropriate shame.

Shame and Food Compulsion

Everyone who works with me -without exception - has shame around their eating.

The truth is that the food is not the source of the shame, it is expressing shame that was foisted into them. How? By eating chaotically then feeling shame, by buying into the toxic airbrushed perfectionism of the diet and beauty industries, through the deprivation - food rebellion of the metronome

At the same time as expressing shame, food is used to provide fleeting comfort from the incessant grind of the shame and struggle.

If we can tackle and dismantle the shame directly, we have no need to turn to food.

How Shame Gets Foisted Onto Us

*Children are often shamed by their caregivers (who were probably taught this by their own caregivers). I have noticed in coaching that if you were brought up by anyone with mental health issues, this is a big factor. 

Children interpet lack of unconditional positive regard as a message that they are worthless.


*Culture shames women to keep them in a powerless state. The main weapon here is body perfectionism, but there are endless permutations of this. 


*Culture shames men too. Body perfectionism is also rife here, but there is also the message about squashing your emotions.


*Trauma does not necessarily end in shaming, but because our culture does not understand about trauma as initiation and moving to stage 3, trauma will 99% of the time result in deep shaming.

See this podcast episode for more on stage 3.

This is not an exhaustive list. 

How have you been inappropriately shamed in your life?

Why Shame Is So Powerful

...because of Cavebrain. Remember the two questions of cavebrain:

Q1 Am I in immediate danger?

Q2 Does the tribe accept me?

Shame says NO to Q2, and consequently Q1 - because Cavebrain needs the tribe to survive.

Shame silences 

Shame is felt in the stomach

Shame says: I am The Truth

Shame makes you work harder than a workaholic workhorse to try to get tribal acceptance

Shame’s strategies for gaining acceptance ultimately NEVER work

The Great News: You CAN Dismantle Your Shame

Shame has been the most powerful block to my life, but I have found that the following have been life changing.


#1 Find A Tribe

This one is leveraged by many businesses in conferences etc. The key is to find a tribe for more than a weekend. You only need 3 or 4 for your Cavebrain to start feeling the benefit.

Group coaching - meetup groups - mini tribes in your workplace - reconnecting with old friends - sport clubs -  hobby clubs

#2 Boundaries

If anyone who shamed you is still in your life, create healthy boundaries to protect yourself from slipping into people pleasing and/or resentment. 

Dodging Energy Vampires by Christiane Northrup is an excellent antidote to people pleasing and has changed my life.

This page on boundaries is helpful.

#3 De- Addict Yourself From Your Stress Hormones

Stress is surprisingly addictive, and living in shame is super stressful. 

More to come on this, but for the moment here is my morning meditation routine

#A Meditation focusing on deep breathing

#B The Energy Breath to activate the pineal gland

# C Water Rising meditation (until the first bell on the audio)


#4 Grounding

This could go under #3 but when people think of meditation they think of their head! So I wanted to flag it up.

Being ungrounded is so tied up with food compulsion. And grounding yourself is a powerful way to reconnect with your body, to learn to feel safe in it. 

The Body Confident Project is a great way to do this as well as heloing to break down that body shame that culture tries to get us to buy into.

#5 Physical Activity

...breed physical resilience, which acts against shame because it helps you feel not totally dependent on the tribe.