I find it horrifying when I hear stories of individuals who have had some disease and are afraid to report it because of the shame of it manifesting in some manner around the genital area or the anus. One such case happened in my family, no less, where hemorrhoids went unreported until pain was so severe that it was no longer possible to sit down without difficulty and pain.
Luckily, this didn’t have consequences as tragic as those of some more distant acquaintances, where the person in question, who had a case of hernia, failed to visit the doctor until it was too late. They died after surgery, with cause of death being late treatment of hernia due to shame of reporting the situation because the protrusion was so close to the penis – namely shame of one’s own body.
I hear stories of women who have no idea what healthy female genitalia are supposed to look or feel like, having always been ashamed to ask about it, having never seen any female genitalia except maybe their own and it’s not even certain if they’ve seen theirs, at least in the mirror. So they carry some disease or other with them until it is eventually discovered, with more or less dramatic outcomes, or they don’t maintain proper hygiene of that area.
What irks me most about people who are ashamed of their naked bodies – besides the fact that they may unwittingly be spreading diseases – is the fact that they are OK to carry with them 24 hours a day, every day of the year, a thing that they are so utterly ashamed of – their body. Even worse, they never do anything about their shame. I’m not talking about losing weight or building abs. I’m talking about the simplest thing in the world – accepting – that is – creating a mental state where they declare “This is my body, such as it is; I love it and always will!” (You don’t improve upon a situation unless you first accept the status quo.)
While it’s not required to be naked (except when keeping personal hygiene) to show that love, I find it helpful – especially in social settings – because other people can see things on your body which you can’t – either because they are out of your sight, or because you have a certain bias towards your own body. Bias distorts perception. Feedback from others, even when it’s not verbal, helps you with things which you can’t see and simultaneously corrects your bias.
Of course, like I said previously, taking off all of your clothes in the wrong environment may be a poor decision, even from a moral standpoint, so caution should always be exercised, even when you have no shame whatsoever. But how to actually get to this “shameless” state from wherever in the shame spectrum you are? I’ll write about my view of this in the next installment, so tune in so you don’t miss out.