My Ode to Humiliation As My Beacon of Change

16 April 2024
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It has become one of my anchored coaching tools to help people understand the gift of humiliation. Your depth of despair, when you truly feel with every core of your being that you cannot handle yourself the way you currently are, is coming from a place of worthiness.

Today I got to explore beautifully secluded beaches close to my temporary nomad home in the Western Cape. Well, it was like serious leg day and upper body training to get to them, with the paths requiring so much physical activity. Still, I wouldn't have changed it for the world because the silence was spectacular, the scenery was gorgeous, and the seclusion allowed me to reflect on what this experience would have been like for me a couple of years ago.

You see, at certain points, either needing my core strength to navigate down the rock faces and onto the soft beach sand or upper body strength to heave myself from one level of rocks onto the other, I needed the assistance of my friend, who is about 20 kilos lighter than me.

You would think having to ask for the leg up and the tug of my arm would be filled with humiliation, but where I come from with my body, my whole focus was on how easy it was to get to do what I was doing on my own. You see, this is the strongest and lightest my body has been in all my years of travelling, which is well over a decade.

Asking for a hand from my friend was nothing in comparison to the desperate humiliation I had experienced with my body in the past.

Amazingly, I am so grateful for knowing what humiliation feels like, because I know that I would not have transformed my body without it. Reflecting, I know that I never would have anchored the willingness to transform my body without that lowest feeling of humiliation.

Many years ago, when I used to fly, I would need to call the flight assistant and ask for an extension piece for the seat belt. I bet some of you didn’t even know you could ask for those if the seatbelt is too small to fit around your body. Yes, I was that big. I remember countless flights, needing to squeeze myself into the seat, with the armrest not managing to go completely down because of the size of my body. Before I got onto the plane, I was often uncomfortable at the thought of who might be sitting next to me, with the concern that I would spill over into their seats.

This began the journey of my wanting to improve my body to feel more comfortable as a traveller. However, like so many moments of determination and best intentions for myself, I'm sure you can relate to thinking this is the time of certainty when I am sure I will have the willingness to follow through and my life will be different. Only for old patterns to kick in and the willingness to dwindle.

I wish it were so easy that intention is all we need to follow through on what we know is best for ourselves.
That would make every resolution a walk in the park.

I learned the hard way that it doesn't work that way. However, it did spark a little something in me to try a bit harder to shed the weight.

Fast forward a few years and being a couple of kilos lighter. I went on a beautiful trip to Belgium with two friends who were much slender and fitter than me. There was always an undercurrent of awareness that my weight was slowing me down, however, it took one particular outing to feel a depth of humiliation that changed my life forever.

Our adventure was to climb approximately 350 stairs, which were narrow and spiraled, to reach the top of a church tower and see how the church bells worked. We would also see the most spectacular view of the city. While standing in the queue to pay, there was a sign that said people needed to be moderately fit to climb the 300-odd stairs. Although I looked at the sign a few times, I also took in all the people around me, who were of different ages and sizes, and I convinced myself that this would not be too much of a struggle.

To my absolute horror and dismay, to this day, climbing those stairs was one of the most torturous and definitely the most humiliating experiences for my overweight body.

I didn't expect that my fitter friends needed to do the climb with me, but I never expected the anxiety that kicked in knowing they had reached the top with ease and I was still lugging my exhausted, aching body up.

Because of the design of the narrow spiral stairs, there was no way to turn around. I was forced to continue up. What built up inside of me was a feeling of desperate exhaustion. My body felt as though I would crumble into pieces if I lifted one more leg, one more time up, another step.

At certain points, there was a railing, and I would pull myself along using my arms, which also started to burn, and I felt as though they were going to break. All I wanted to do was cry. All I wanted to do was stop.

Closer to the top, a desperate anger kicked in because my friends had done two things. One thought this was a good idea in the first place, and two did not pace themselves so they could keep an eye on me and support me. Especially knowing that I was not as fit as them and had a heavy body to lug around.

By the time I reached the top, there was no part of me that enjoyed the mechanics that rang the church bells through the city or the breathtaking view before me. All I felt was the weight of my body and the desperate humiliation that had settled in.

It took me years to realise that my ego waited patiently for that moment.

You see, it's easy to have intention and want to do what is best for ourselves, but it all lies in a very particular voice within our heads, which I refer to as the archetype of the transformer when I guide people to meet their egos. The transformer is the custodian of change, and it listens and feels into the body and only allows us to anchor deeply into our willpower and do the tough, uncomfortable, and determined things when it knows we have hit the lowest point and still has determination within us to strive for everlasting change.

I didn't understand at the time that feeling desperate humiliation and saying to myself, “Never again," rose from a deep place of self-worth and not a place of broken low esteem.

It has become one of my anchored coaching tools to help people understand the gift of humiliation. Your depth of despair, when you truly feel with every core of your being that you cannot handle yourself the way you currently are, is coming from a place of worthiness.

That is when the transformer allows us to kick into action, and then we become unstoppable because the willpower is ignited and the willingness to do whatever it takes to change who we are and what we do not love about ourselves is awakened.

Much of the messaging about bringing about change to get ourselves unstuck points to remaining positive and having that vision ahead of you that only speaks of the good feeling that will come once you reach it.

I ask you to ponder that the key to getting yourself unstuck is defying the messages of perfect goals, happy feelings, and dreamy vision boards. I dare you to allow yourself to feel the worst you possibly can so that you can gift yourself with the opportunity to test your self-love and worthiness that ignite in the broken and seemingly defeated moment.

Be kind to yourself (in unconventional ways)

Jodene Shaer - Personal Transformation Coach

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