I like to pole dance. Gasp! Oh no! For Shame!!!
Let’s pull back here. We see shaming everywhere. We shame people for their bodies, for their habits, for their likes and dislikes, and the list could go on and on. It has gotten under my skin a lot. The most detrimental shame, though, is the self shame most of us fall into, for many of the same things other people shame us for.
Personal shame can be very educational. For instance, I am slightly ashamed that I have allowed myself to gain so much weight recently. The shame is not because I have new layers of fat, it is because I have made choices that have lead me to be unhealthy. So, I have started changing my behavior to be more healthy, such as eating better, going for walks, and pole dancing. A sense of personal shame that leads to better behaviors is okay. If my husband shamed me for my weight and I decided to lose it to better please him, that would not be okay.
Let me try to explain the difference here. I love myself and I want to do good things for me. This is all very egocentric mind you. The goal is for me to better myself simply because I love myself. If I love my self as Gabriel Iglesias considers “fluffy” (he is hilarious and you should Google him as soon as you are done here) then I have no reason to change. I love me and I am doing what I feel is best for me. Chocolate cake included.
Getting away from body specifications, this can apply to all areas of life. Education, job, hobbies, food, on and on. If, and only if, you feel ashamed for your preferences should you change them. Another person’s tastes a preferences should not impact your choices for you.
This is why I brought up pole dancing. I get mixed reactions when I tell people I dance. I have a professional career and people tend to get a bit dicey when it comes up. “You shouldn’t brag about that.” or “That’s wrong.” amid a few other things. I also get positive comments, which is great, but I am addressing the negatives.
I am not ashamed of my dancing and I like to tell people about it. The community of pole dancers is growing and growing and there is nothing shameful about it. It is also a fabulous workout. Can it be sexualized? Yes, but so can ballroom dancing. Seriously people, the tango!
So here it is. If you are ashamed of what you are doing, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Personal shame should change your behavior to make you better and happier. If you love what you are doing, even if it is a bit taboo, don’t let other people make you feel shamed for it. Love yourself and do you. It aint their life!
But, Julie, how will I know if I am feeling personal shame or someone is shaming me? Easy peasy lemon squeezy. If you are willing to talk about it then chances are you don’t feel personal shame, someone is making you feel ashamed. If you are hiding your behavior, avoiding letting people see you engaging in that behavior (here is to you secret brownie eater), then you are feeling personal shame. The question is why? If it is an internal thing, such as you know you want to be healthy and you ate the whole cheesecake anyway, let that be your guide to stopping bad behavior. If it is because your boyfriend said you need to lose some weight, feel free to drop the 180lbs of man meat dragging you down.
Side note, if you have asked people to keep you accountable, some of this doesn’t apply. People make suggestions all the time, especially if you have posted you are trying to lose weight, get healthy, learn a new skill, and everything in between. Only you can decide which shame you are feeling and change your behavior accordingly.
Do you beautiful person and let me know how it goes!