Shame is heavy and suffocating with invisible chains that keep the prisoner from moving in to a place of peace.
My former pastor defines shame memorably saying, “Guilt says you did something wrong. Shame says you ARE something wrong.”
You are something wrong.
Have you ever entertained that thought?
Over the years, shame about choices in my life kept me sidelined and insecure.
Not all shame is self-imposed. You know this already, though.
Some is heaped on you without your consent.
Are you familiar with body shaming? It begins with the subtle comments regarding someone’s body shape or size.
There are two ends of the body shaming spectrum. Underweight and overweight. Each of us can plot our own point on the vastness between the two ends of the spectrum.
Underweight body-shaming often sounds like…
Do you shop in the kid’s section? Do you have an eating disorder? You are so tiny. Better hope a strong wind doesn’t blow because you’ll get swept away. How much do you weigh?
Overweight body-shaming often sounds like…
How are you doing with your diet? Do you ever think about cutting out ____________ from your eating habits? Will you be able to fit in a booth? Did you know that food can be an addiction? How much do you weigh? Have you tried _______ [name of latest diet or MLM product]?
These are cringe worthy, friends.
I live near one end of the spectrum, and it is truly alarming how frequently people comment on my size. I wonder why this is socially acceptable? Here’s what I can tell you, it’s hurtful.
I am a grown woman. I have given birth to three children. No, I don’t shop in the kid’s section. Want to know why? One word. Hips.
No, I don’t have an eating disorder. I do have a thyroid disease that makes keeping a steady weight difficult.
Yes, I am well aware of my size. It keeps me from going shopping with friends. It keeps me in tears as I attempt to find a swimsuit, dress, or pair of jeans.
I wake up every day understanding that I am little, but I do not need anyone to keep me feeling little.
Please be careful with your words. We can do wonderful things when we are thoughtful and kind with the words we speak over each other.
If you need a place to practice, may I suggest you start with maturing teenage boys? Hold your tongue when you feel compelled to tell them how they look so much younger than their actual age. If you think they are so tiny, try keeping it to yourself.
Need more practice? Avoid the tendency to ask a young lady about her height or acne or…
We all understand, right?
Words have a lasting impact. The person who said “words could never hurt me” was a liar. Choose wisely.
#sowkind starts before a word is ever spoken aloud.
[Quote credit: Max Lucado]