There is quite a lot of talk on social media, sometimes even hitting the news circuit about a concept loosely called “fat shaming.” And fit folks are accused of it a lot because they don’t maintain a positive perspective when they perceive overweight people to be fat, and therefore, potentially unhealthy.
But is this concept really a valid one?
I can only imagine that “fat shaming” has been some kind of long term result of political correctness run amok.
There are only two major problems with it.
First truth: it takes power away from the people it is trying to protect. And, second truth: it assumes the impossible.
I’ll lay this out a bit. The explanation actually covers both truths at the same time because they are inter-related to each other.
In order for anyone to feel shame, they have to already believe the idea or statement inside themselves. If someone came up to me and made disparaging comments about my weight, I could only feel bad if I already felt bad about my weight to start with.
Back when I was clinically obese, when I heard people say things, I did feel bad, but it wasn’t because they said them. I felt bad because I didn’t want to be so fat. Their words resonated with my own inner truth. If I had been truly comfortable being overweight, their words would have had no power to make me feel anything.
When we are comfortable with our weight and appearance, congruent at all levels of being, then a few words that don’t resonate with our inner truth will have no power to make any of us feel anything.
This is a very different thing than some of the discrimination in some employment settings against folks who are overweight. The discrimination is an illegal act on the part of others based upon appearance. And that’s not what I’m describing here.
The “trigger,” if you like that term, of the “shaming” words can only affect you or me if we already believe it ourselves. So the way to manage the issue is to bring ourselves into congruence. That may mean loving ourselves exactly as we are and not worrying so much about weight. Or it may mean losing a few pounds. But it will resolve in the loss of the “trigger.”
Even allowing the word “trigger” implies that you’ve chosen to give the environment a lot of control over how you feel. Is that your intent? OK if it is. But it does put your mood and self worth in the hands of others. Or would taking a bit of your power back mean that you can choose to give up that kind of thinking?
Shame is indeed a corrosive emotion, deeply unpleasant, and hard to cope with. But it does come from within not from without. And the way to master resilience is through inner work, not accusing others of “shaming” behavior. Their behavior may be impolite, but for “shaming” to actually work, there have to be two willing parties.
A bitter pill perhaps, but choosing to regain your personal power means this excuse is over.