Let us not kid ourselves; IBS symptoms ARE embarrassing.
Embarrassment is common to people who suffer from digestive problems – so common, in fact, that many of us (men, I’m talking to you in particular) don’t even go to the doctor to find out what’s wrong.
One of the biggest problems with all this embarrassment is that it’s easy to start feeling unacceptable as a person when you have chronic humiliating symptoms. It might help to remember that you are not your body. Your body might be experiencing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but there’s nothing wrong with YOU. You are fine.
I know that might seem hard to believe when you’re feeling a lot of pain, or something really embarrassing has just happened, but consider this. The embarrassment of IBS is even more intense when your brain puts you through the same painful experience more than once. (Unintentionally, of course.)
What do I mean by that?
I mean that first you go through the experience itself and feel the embarrassment that time. Then later, your mind accesses the stored memory of the incident and puts you through the embarrassment all over again. To your brain, there is no past. Everything is happening right now. So when you remember an experience, you re-live it and feel all the bad feelings again. And again. And again.
This toxic cycle creates a neural pathway in your brain that can make you even more sensitive to the possibility of feeling embarrassed.
Am I saying that your brain is creating excessive embarrassment? Yes! And it’s doing that without your permission or knowledge. Well, except that now you do know.
So what can you do about it?
The simplest way I know of to reduce the intensity of remembered embarrassment is to use the technique of tapping. (If you don’t know what tapping is, please look at the video below to view the technique or remind yourself of the tapping points.)
Tapping may not get rid of all the embarrassment in your life, but it will help to change or block the neural pathways that keep you remembering and feeling old embarrassing incidents. That means you will tend to feel less prone to embarrassment and generally calmer.
So, here is a tapping script you can use to reduce embarrassment.
Set up statement: (tap on the side of your hand while repeating these sentences)
Even though I feel embarrassed about my body, I’m willing to consider another perspective.
Even though I’m embarrassed by these IBS symptoms, I know I’m okay as a person.
Even though I feel embarrassed by my digestive problems, I’ve decided to accept myself anyway.
Now tap gently with two fingers on each of the points listed while you say the following sentences: (If you don’t know where the points are, look at the video. Or if you have the No IBS Program, refer to your Quick Start guide.)
EyeBrow point: I’m embarrassed by my body.
Side of Eye: These IBS symptoms are so embarrassing.
Under Eye: Sometimes I wish I could be invisible.
Under Nose: It’s hard to live with this embarrassment.
CHin point: I never know when my digestion will embarrass me.
Collar Bone: I can’t stand living like this.
Under Arm: It’s so embarrassing.
Head point: I hate these embarrassing symptoms.
EB: What if I didn’t have to feel embarrassed by my body?
SE: That’s impossible. This problem is so unacceptable.
UE: I feel unacceptable.
UN: But what if I’m okay just as I am?
CH: My brain is tricking me into feeling more embarrassment than I have to.
CB: I’ve decided to let go of all this excess embarrassment.
UA: I’m releasing all my old, stored memories of embarrassment.
H: I’ve decided to accept myself no matter what.
You may want to tap through this two or three times. If you have a specific embarrassing situation that comes to mind, just focus on it (i.e. remember it) while you do the tapping.
Also, try tapping BEFORE you go someplace where you’re afraid you might have an embarrassing experience. Usually when you’re afraid of something, your brain is accessing an old stored memory of a bad experience (even though you’re probably not conscious of doing so.) This will help to reduce some of the stress ahead of time and, as I’m sure you know, when you’re less stressed, your digestion will tend to be calmer.
Please leave a comment below and let me know how the tapping works for you.
But before I go, let me rant a bit.
Embarrassment and digestive problems are so unacceptable that you might not even admit to yourself when you’re embarrassed. Well, no surprise if you’ve managed to stuff it down. It’s what we’re taught to do.
The embarrassment of IBS symptoms can rouse a big fear of rejection. And no wonder! There is a long tradition – at least in the Western world – telling you that your body is shameful and should be silent and compliant at all times. You want to be accepted, normal… maybe even perfect?
After all, perfect people don’t have any problems. (If there are any perfect people.) So it’s easy to feel even more embarrassment by imagining that you have flaws that other people don’t. You just don’t see their imperfections as clearly as you see your own. The reality is, pretty much everyone has something they want to hide…
And here’s the elephant in the closet: when it comes to digestion and… ahem… pooping, our society is in BIG denial. Digestive problems are the second biggest reason people miss work! We ALL have to poop – in fact our very LIVES depend on it.
So you’d think we’d all be a bit more mature when it comes to talking about digestion and digestive problems but, as a society, we’re still stuck with Victorian-era views. The subject of digestion and going to the bathroom is unmentionable in polite conversation, unless you are talking about your baby or your dog (in which case, it’s okay to talk ad nauseam about it.)
Why am I ranting about this? Because the next time you feel embarrassed I think it’s fair for you to consider this: maybe YOU’RE not the problem. Maybe the problem is our culture’s pretence that pooping and the digestive system are bad or dirty and that you’re the only one with the pooping problem.
Okay, I’ll shut up now. Please do leave me a comment or your own mini-rant. Thanks and see you next time.