What to say when someone shames you

How to stay true to your own choices despite the negative messages and people in your life

We’re bombarded with thousands of messages every day via social media, television, radio, magazines, billboards, and the people in our lives. Sometimes those messages are judgemental, prejudiced and shaming.

Over and over each day we’re told how we’re supposed to look, act, dress, eat, move, and live in order to be accepted, loved, admired or desired.

There’s an incredible amount of money tied up in making people feel like they need to be different or better! (Buy this face cream, go on this diet, you need this supplement…)
Some messages will make you feel guilty, ashamed, inferior or like you need to be someone other than your true self. These messages can make it incredibly hard for us to feel empowered to make our own choices, accept and love our own body as it is right now, and just enjoy being who we are.


Over the next 7 days, I encourage you to pay particular attention to any external sources that make you feel bad about yourself.

Social media, television, magazines and news sources:

Are there pictures, articles or posts that make you feel ashamed or guilty about your body, food choices, or other areas of your life? Unfollow, stop reading, stop subscribing. Instead seek out sources that make you feel inspired and empowered to be yourself and choose your own path.


It’s common to have colleagues, friends or family in your life who make you feel bad about who you are. They might explicitly or implicitly judge your body or life choices, making it hard for you to feel good about yourself. They may not even realise they are doing it, or they may mistakenly think they are being helpful. Take note of who triggers feelings of guilt, shame, self-doubt or inferiority. You may need to limit contact with some people (who are not close to you), while for others you may need to set up some boundaries.


What to say when someone shames you

Ways to deal with people who judge or shame your appearance or your choices.  Some options you might explore if you feel comfortable:

Mention how you feel bad

“I feel terrible when we discuss my weight, so I’d prefer we don’t discuss it any more.”

“I feel awful when you judge my choices.”

Ask for their support instead

“I’d really love your unconditional love/support right now, please understand that pointing out my shortcomings is not helping me.”

or  “I’ve found this makes me feel emotionally, mentally and physically strong and healthy, so I know it’s what I need right now.  I’d love your support with that.”

Point out no one is perfect

“Everyone I know has flaws, we’re human. I’m working on doing my best. I adore you and all my other friends as you are.”

Share an alternative viewpoint

One I’ve used a lot when people mention someone’s size to me – “Actually we can’t tell someone’s health by looking at them. Fit and healthy comes in all sizes, just like unwell comes in all sizes too.”
Perhaps you can share your alternative viewpoint and share your source?

Remind them it’s your choice, your body

“I know you feel/think/act differently to me on this issue, but I believe a big part of being healthy and well is making my own choices that suit me.”

Play the true expert card

“I prefer not to follow nutrition/exercise trends. I’m happy to get my advice from health professionals, especially ones who know me and my life.”


Respect your own mountain of experience.

You are the best person to work out your best way to live. You may seek the help of true experts, but you are still the boss of your life. No one can tell you how to live, how to look, what to eat or how to move.


Moderation Movement event