*This video gives you a peek into my own potential “shame and blame hangover.”
Ever have a day or evening of blowing your diet and exercise goals and wake up with this sense of a dense, dark cloud looming over your every step? You feel bad, for yet again, not following through on your plan to eat better and get your steps in. And even though it is only one night, that’s no excuse, you know better and are bummed you aren’t doing better.
You may have a “shame and blame hangover.”
The Shame and Blame Hangover typically comes after you’ve thoroughly polluted yourself with an onslaught of negative thoughts. Ya know, the running commentary starting with something you did (ate dessert) and ends up with something you didn’t do (reach your weight loss goal this week). It’s a totally yucky, somewhat foggy feeling that comes after berating yourself.
And boy that internal voice can get pretty vicious. The inner critic can demean you for having no self-control. It can remind you how you never do anything right. Call you names like lazy. Fat. Ugly. Or at the very worst, can convince you into thinking you’re worthless. And there is no hope.
We all have varying intensities of our inner voice’s nastiness. And we all have our own struggle and reckoning with how much we fall prey to our inner critic.
Shame and blame hangover typically drain our energy –our zest for life. We feel less spirited. In fact, we may find it challenging to muster up an authentic smile. A shame and blame hangover also leaves us feeling distracted. Our brain feels like it’s in a bit of a fog, unable to bring our full attention to the present moment. Being hungover also makes it near impossible to celebrate others. Perhaps you’ve noticed how annoyed you get when your friend calls to share how much fun she had in her yoga class. Or at last weekend’s date. You see, just like alcohol leaves a hangover, shaming ourselves has a similar residual effect and takes some time before we return to our best self.
If you suspect you’ve had a shame and blame hangover (or two or 50), then I have two questions for you to consider:
Do you use shame or blame as a way to motivate yourself?
Or do you use shame and blame to keep you stuck?
I see people use both scenarios. I see those who shame themselves into the gym for body-killing workouts for seven straight days in a row. And I hear others use shame and blame as a way to stay stuck by convincing themselves they can never make progress.
Either I tell myself I suck to create action.
Or I tell myself I suck to stay stuck, unable to act.
But guess what—either way, shaming and blaming is a form of self-harm. And when we beat ourselves up, we only perpetuate the need for another band–aid or salve to help us feel better. Even if only for a moment.
Why? Because the body always looks for ways to help us feel better. It’s coded in our survival cells.
Maybe that’s a drink. Or a pill. A tinder-hookup or a bag of Doritos eaten in the confines of the closet.
The body doesn’t exactly know what you’ll use to feel better. It just knows it wants you to feel better, even temporarily.
So where do we start? As usual, I’m going to ask you to become aware. To meet yourself without judgment and with compassion so you can better understand yourself and your choices.
Ask Yourself and Journal:
- Are you willing to recognize when you have a shame and blame hangover?
- Are you willing to acknowledge, (but not listen to) the poisonous words your inner critic is feeding you?
- And are you willing to notice what type of event (eating/exercise/tight clothes) triggers your inner critic into polluting your spirit?
Throughout the month of May (#mentalhealthmonth), I’ll be writing and posting about the damaging effects we produce when we shame and blame ourselves and our body and offer some unique tips for breaking through and feeling better.
“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” Elizabeth Gilbert