I once read that shame serves no useful purpose. That guilt can keep a person from repeating a mistake, but shame does nothing but make you miserable. But, since I've been married, I've learned that that's not true. Shame, self-hatred, they are the get out of jail free cards of marriage.
I am fat. Not obese, but bigger than I really need to be. And, to tell the truth, I'm okay with that. I'd like to tighten my abs a little so I don't look pregnant, but I could be a size 14 forever and have no problem with that. But I have to hate it. I have to be ashamed of it and make myself miserable trying to change it. Because then, I at least know there's a problem. If I hate myself for my size and shape, it can be said "Well, she got up around 140, but at least she knew there was a problem. At least she knew it was bad." Because, somehow, to accept and like myself at this size would be to let myself go. And there's nothing worse than having let yourself go. Women get divorced for having let themselves go. Men leave over that shit. So, you see, self-hatred serves a purpose. Shame has a reason for being. It shows that we still want to impress. Being willing to spend the rest of one's life in a futile struggle against inevitability shows that we care. It shows that at least we haven't let ourselves go.