Shame can hurt but it can also motivate

Shame is considered quite rightly to be a negative emotion yet because it is so powerful an emotion it has been used over the centuries to try to change a person’s behaviour. The most obvious example that springs to mind are the stocks.

[…] Shame has been identified as having an important role in self-regulation in its capacity to establish or modify a person’s behaviour and thoughts, usually as the result of an act or omission, or a sense of a personal failing or defect, which will elicit contempt or derision from others. But the experience of shame can help to reinforce social norms within the organisation and so help social cohesion.

It seems to me society has gone from one extreme to another. While public shaming is considered by most to be a step too far telling people that they are perfect just the way they are (while great for their self-esteem) is not honest or helpful in many situations.

Would you tell a girl starving herself to death from Anorexia that she was beautiful and healthy just the way she is or would you tell her the harsh truth that she needs help and may die if she doesn’t get help. What is crueller, telling her the truth or going along with her delusion? Which one is most likely to help her?

A person with Anorexia views their body as fat no matter what the reality is because it is a mental illness

The same should apply to boys who want to be called girls and girls who want to be called boys. Someone needs to gently tell them that they have a mental illness and that their physical body determines what biological sex they are not their mind. They also need to be told that no matter what physical and hormonal changes they make to their biological body they can only ever be a facsimile of the other sex.

The same also applies to those of us who are overweight. It is shame that motivates me to lose weight and it is shame that prevents me from getting any bigger than I already am. I don’t need others to fat shame me as I have eyes and I own a mirror. I don’t like how clothes look on me right now and the beautiful dresses in the shops that I want to buy don’t look any good on a figure with a bump in the middle.

In this recent story on Stuff the young woman in the article didn’t like how she felt when she was publicly shamed by a callous air hostess.

“To make matters worse when I went onto the airplane I couldn’t fit the seat belt. The airline hostess found it appropriate to announce in the middle of a quiet plane that due to my size, i would need to use the seat belt extension that mums travelling w babies needed and maybe next time I should consider booking 2 seats to accommodate for my size to ensure a more “comfterble” flight for myself and other passengers.

“The feeling of pure embarrassment and shame is something I’ll never forget.”

It was a horrible experience for her and the air hostess was wrong to tell her those cold hard facts publicly but look at the motivation that experience gave that young woman.

The day I started LOVING myself enough to start taking care of ME and nourishing my body was the day I turned a new page.

“Both my physical and mental health have transformed so much since then and I am so PROUD. The girl on the right side is alot healthier, a whole lot happier and has so much confidence now (maybe a lil too much 😂). More importantly she LOVES HERSELF! Don’t forget babes, no matter your size or shape, colour or culture, you are worth just as much as everyone else. Love yourself enough to take a stand for yourself and doing things for YOU. The rest will start to fall into place from there. I am a walking testament to that.”

Before and after pictures tell the story of Kayla Martin’s weight loss. The photo at left was taken at the airport before Martin boarded a flight to Queensland, and says she was ‘fat shamed’ by the airline crew.

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