You’re fat. Lose weight.
Imagine my surprise when I opened an anonymous handwritten letter addressed to me and read that.
“Anonymous” said she remembered how thin I used to be. She was doing me a favor by recommending a weight loss product that really worked.
Well, she obviously knew me. Within the last year, I’d had a baby and still couldn’t fit back into my pre-baby jeans.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve struggled with being comfortable with who you are.
Maybe you fear not measuring up or meeting other’s expectations.
It can be frustrating and leave you feeling unworthy.
The note confirmed what I already thought about myself– I’m fat–but didn’t want to say out loud. Even though I thought everyone was thinking it.
Well, the “friend” turned out to be a weight loss company. It was a clever ad campaign. They sent out “anonymous” hand-written notes from “friends” with an ad for a weight loss product attached.
They counted on people feeling bad about themselves and being desperate for change
And, it worked.
As hurtful as it was, it was also genius. They’d tapped in to what a lot of us feel but are afraid to say: “Something’s wrong with me.”
That feeling has a name.
It’s called shame. And it can affect every area of your life, including your marriage.
Few know what it looks like, but everyone knows what it feels like. It’s the most common but least talked about of all human emotions.
It’s the feeling you get when you go on Facebook and see your friends’ happy faces and great vacations. Or read their long endearing love letters to their spouses on their anniversaries. You start to feel bad about yourself.
It’s the same feeling that makes you go to church Sunday morning with a smile smacked across your face when you really want to cry.
Shame is that feeling that tells you you’re flawed. You’re bad.
- I’m not enough.
- I don’t measure up.
- Who do I think I am?
- I’ll never be as good as they are.
After reading the note–right on cue–I shied away from the very thing that could’ve helped me.
I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to know. I even debated if I should tell my husbandToo many times instead of moving towards people when we feel shame, we move towards secrecy or isolation.
It’s only in relationships we experience compassion, empathy, and understanding. Healing. The only things that can soothe the feeling of shame. Hearing “me, too” or ” I understand” or ” “I get it.”
So how do you get a grip on shame, so it can’t keep its grip on you?
- Tell someone.
- Accept compassion.
- Challenge your thoughts.
- Everything can’t be your fault; if it is, that makes you God.
- Recognize triggers.
- Realize you can’t control what other people think.
Someone had said what I already believed about myself. And, I was hurt.
But. . . I still told my sister. She told me her friend had received the same note. And her friend was just as upset as I was.
We got sucked right in because it enforced our own self-defeating thoughts.
No matter who you are or what you have, shame is a difficult feeling to escape.
But it’s not impossible.
What has you in its grip? And, what are you willing to do to get out of it?
You don’t have to perfect to get the marriage you want.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understand how tiring a tough marriage can be. She believes you deserve to be happy. She went from the brink of divorce to having a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical principles. She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.
In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.