The Power of Embarrassment

The Power of Embarrassment

How often are you feeling embarrassed about having IBS? IBS is, I think, one of the more ‘embarrassing’ afflictions out there, due to the nature of the thing. While being embarrassed because of a particularly embarrassing incident, you know, like extreme flatulence at a dinner party, I think it is important to take a hard look at just how often you are having a feeling of embarrassment or shame when nothing specifically embarrassing is going on. It is important to keep this particular emotion at bay if we are to continue recovering from IBS by means of improving our self-confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.


Embarrassment is the product of guilt, pride and shame. Due to our thought that there is something very wrong with us, we begin to feel awkward, nervous and out of place in public, whether it at be at work or with those intimate within our lives. As I alluded before, I have found myself feeling embarrassed or questioning my own validity because of IBS. It seems to make sense when I’m having a particularly bad flare up or something…uh…bodily, is going on, but I’m having some trouble with why I’m feeling this way when there is NOTHING unusual going on. I believe that it is because I have somehow, inadvertently, made IBS a part of my being. So now, Todd is a father, social worker, writer, musician who has IBS. This is not cool. Sing it with me now, ‘Which one of these things, doesn’t belong here?’. Yah, that’s right; IBS. IBS is an illness that we can only do our best to control. By making it a part of who you are at your core, you can expect any number of negative feelings to arise because of it. Embarrassment is surely one of those things.

How to remove feelings of embarrassment?

I should say that I’m not completely sure how to remove this particular emotion from my current life. It’s kind of sneaky. What I mean, is that these feelings of low self-worth and embarrassment will come up at strange times, like when I meet someone new. It could be the lady ringing up my groceries at the store; it’s a problem. What I am sure of, is that it is IBS related. I’ve struggled with mental illness and have had serious issues with shame and fear before. This is different. It’s like I can’t forget about the IBS completely and it continues to insert itself into my identity. For now, I will continue to speak with my therapist about it and find some ways to alleviate this issue. I think that it’s about self-confidence and certainly about empowerment. If we can find that spark of empowerment, it’s possible that the embarrassment will diminish. What I have done to combat embarrassment is to use my mindfulness tools. When I feel the emotion come up to my consciousness, I do my best to simply address the fact that I’ve had the thought and then quickly let it go. Takes some practice, but I’ll continue to try. To be continued…I need to think about this some more.

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