With my recent entry into a weight-loss contest, I have been the victim of some judgmental comments. Some of them are just good-natured ribbing from my friends (you don't need to lose that much! they'll laugh you out of there!) but some of them have been a little hurtful - implying I don't "deserve" the chance as much as others since I "only" have 50 pounds to lose.
One of my favorite quotes (attributed to Plato) is "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
We never know what someone is going through if we just look at the surface. We don't know the "back story" - it's not always readily available, and we should hold our judgment if we don't have all the facts. Heck, I am of the opinion that we should hold it anyway, and just be kind.
I have learned in my field not to judge. It's a lesson I learned the hard way. As a hotel manager, I come across scores of people every day. A recent encounter brought this home for me even more.
I went to a local chocolate shop to pick up some gifts for a Facebook giveaway we were doing at work. It's the cutest little chocolate shop ever, and we have spent thousands and thousands of dollars there since the hotel opened. I had worked out a discount with the retail manager to get 20% off their signature item and 10% off all other gifts.
Almost every time I went in to make a purchase, there was confusion over our discount. They would say we 'weren't in the book' but then I'd mention the manager's name and they'd key in our discount.
A few days before Christmas we were in the book - but it listed only our 20% discount. A manager was called over (a different lady than I had worked with) and she was immediately hostile as I tried to explain my discounts - saying "not even a CEO of a major company would get that" and just being mean. When I told her I would buy my chocolate elsewhere, I was met with a curt "That's your prerogative" and she dismissed me with an icy cold stare. I told her I wasn't buying any of the chocolate I came in for and left. Once I got to my car I started calling people to tell them about my encounter with the (um let's say it rhymed with "witch") from the chocolate store.
Hmmph. I left the store without making my purchases, and immediately set out to find the CEO of the company to write a letter about my experience. To wrap this story up, let's say I finally got in touch with him, wrote him an eloquent letter and told him that her refusal to give me my discount (which amounted to all of $1.77 on this occasion) just cost his company my business. Was it worth it?
Among his sincerest apologies, and after a lengthy conversation, he shared with me that this woman's husband had recently been killed.
Wow. OK, so this did not excuse her behavior, because I simply had no way of knowing that at the time. But had I remembered my quote (Be kind - everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle) I might have at least shown her through my actions (which, unlike hers, are completely in my control) that I was not being judgmental of her actions. Yes, I later bawled at the realization that her "meanness" was because of the extreme hurt she was feeling at having lost her husband (right around Christmastime no less). But I simply didn't know. But I still should have been kind, and not met her tone with a tone of my own.
I am taking steps to heal myself, inside-out and outside-in. Although I don't always care to share what my "battle" is, I do know that everyone deserves a chance to better themselves, through any means available. I am taking that chance by the horns, and if it's meant to be it will be! In reviewing the other entries, I was moved by the struggles, some apparent, some under the surface not meant to be revealed now, but apparent in the fact that they are at an unhealthy weight and attempting to fix that.
My 50 pounds is my mountain. It's a battle I am fighting and I appreciate the support of those who know how much this means to me. It's as important to me, in my perspective, as someone who needs to lose 150 pounds. Getting healthy isn't something to be reserved for those who are the most unhealthy. No matter where you are in your journey - be it 200 pounds from your goal or 20 pounds from your goal - the struggle mentally is the same - those who have struggled know how that feels, to try and get your mind and body aligned in joining the fight. It's still worth fighting for, even if others "judge" your journey based on what you have to lose.
Fight on, friends of all sizes! We are worth it! Consider this:
|"It's not the size of the dog in the fight...it's the size of the fight in the dog." ~ Mark Twain|