I understand that I am late to the game on this… like… way late… like, this issue has been dead and buried.
That’s cool. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and figured I’d finally try and voice my own opinion on it.
Now, to begin this topic, we are going to start with a test. Get a pencil and paper ready… we’re going to write our answers down. Don’t worry, this won’t be hard.
Okay, here we go-
Which do you prefer:
A. “I want to see you succeed. Why don’t we do this together?”
B. “What’s wrong with you?”
Which do you prefer:
A. “You can do this! You can do the thing!”
B. “Are you stupid? What is your problem!?”
Which do you prefer:
A. “I know there’s a lot of issues right now. I know things look bleak. But, you’ve got this. You can manage it. I’ll help you if you need help.”
B. “Forget your fucking problems, and pull yourself up and do it, you loser!”
Which do you prefer:
A. “Look. I understand that life seems to have completely rolled you. I understand that some of this is in your control and some of it isn’t. I understand that things are terribly hard and you’re weak, hurting and in pain. But, let’s try and learn. Let’s move slowly, and let’s build until you’re able to run for the gold… that’s the best way to do things anyways. And when you fall, let’s take a moment to learn from it, to make sure we see the goals ahead and to not spend any time making yourself feel terribly for having a bad day. We all have bad days, and no one should feel guilty for having them.”
B. “What’s YOUR excuse?”
If you answered A to most of these or all of them. You’re probably pretty normal.
You see, I believe in “tough love.” Tough love is pretty tough, but often people forget the key word in tough love… “LOVE”…
I want to look at the biblical definition of love because often, people forget it when throwing around the “L” word… and they ESPECIALLY forget it when throwing around the “tough love” phrase. You probably know it, but that’s okay-
1st Cor 13 –
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Wow. Great verses, yes? I have underlined 4 – 7 to draw your attention.
I believe that often when we go towards a goal, we forget that how we do a thing is different that how someone else does a thing because of an immeasurable amount of factors.
Ultimately, yes a person can ONLY help themselves. Only THEY can figure out how to do a thing and in what way to go forward.
It’s EASY to say that doing a thing is EASY when you yourself have done the thing and found it to be easy.
You have done the thing based on your own circumstances, your own mental state, what is readily available to you, how you viewed the thing, your health, physical condition and past regarding the thing that you have accomplished.
But this does not mean that it is easy for everyone else, nor does it mean that even if the same exact things are applied to how the other person approaches it that they’ll succeed the same as you.
Each “thing” is a mystery that often comes with baggage, obstacles, views on the “thing”, upbringing, history, how you approach life, etc.
Assuming that the “thing” is easy, or doesn’t have excuses is not only ridiculous, it’s rude.
It’s rude because you do not know a person’s reason for not being able to do the “thing”. Or if they’re trying, have tried and failed, or want to try but have tried before and failed, or want to try and have never found a solution that works.
Yes, if you haven’t guessed at this point, I’m referring to weight. But, honestly, this can apply to a lot of things. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been made to feel inferior because I couldn’t do “the thing”… whatever the thing was.
I clearly remember telling someone one time that I couldn’t do math well. (this was after I’d graduated, and it had been proven that I honestly completely SUCK at math). The person dismissively replied, “Well, then you’ve already defeated yourself.”
Discounting the fact that I had tried for countless hours upon hours to actually get math correct. Discrediting my long nights of crying, and being yelled at because I “didn’t get it”… As if “math” was the sum of my being… I had “already defeated myself”…
I might add that the man that I was speaking with was a “math wizard” and was known for having been so basically since birth. This factor is IMPORTANT when speaking to someone who is not inherently good at something that you popped out of the warm and cuddly womb literally writing as the doctor handed you a pencil and paper after giving your bum a good smack.
I remember feeling lousy for a long while. It changed my view of this man that I actually admired and respected. At the time he was to be my father in law. I felt as though I could not make him proud what so ever, when at the same time, I felt as though he should understand that I was not good at math and that this was a fact. Not a feat that I was in need of “challenging”. I wanted him to understand that I wasn’t giving an “excuse”, that I was stating a “fact.”
COULD I become good at math if given the right circumstances and learning conditions, teachers, and precise theory that worked well for me? Probably. But, again, I am mentioning that there are a list of factors when it comes to a “thing” and why or why not a person is or isn’t good at the thing.
This is no different than a thing like “weightloss”… oh sure, every single person on the planet can go on a strict calorie counting regimen and exercise two hours a day and drop a ton of weight. But, if certain things are not worked out in the process of this, this might not be lasting.
You see, extra body “baggage” often comes with other “baggage”. It’s almost always emotional. I am convinced that in some cases, the heaviness of a person heart literally affects their ability to lose weight, hence causing them to gain it more quickly and lose it much harder.
I was not born fat. I wasn’t fat until I hit a specific time in my life, and that time came with a lavish amount of pain. After this lavish amount of pain hit me (and at the time, I was only 8… then 9, … then 10) my weight spiraled out of control.
But let me explain you a thing that was bizarre about this particular “spiraling of weight”… I didn’t change my eating habits. No, in fact, the only thing that truly seemed to change in my life was how ridiculously depressed I was and how no one seemed to listen to me whenever I spoke up about how much I was hurting inside due to multiple factors in my life. (again, factors).
Now, don’t get me wrong. We all moved to Toronto Canada at this point (another factor that hurt me deeply as I had to leave all friends, family, and other kin behind), and during our time there we all indulged a little extra in food. Mostly around the holidays.
But funnily enough, when we moved BACK to Southern California, the “extra weight” that my parents put on dropped off of their bodies like magic. But mine did not. I grew a little, so I got a bit thinner, but I did not magically become thin.
Now, my father has always been big, but he lost weight. I did not.
Here’s where I start explaining this “factors” thing again.
Weight is like this… anyone can gain it. It’s not discriminate. It often makes people slow and unhappy. But, weight spiraling out of control can be related to a number of things.
Like a person’s own body. You see, I grew up with my mother and father. THEY bought the food that was in the house (not “mostly junk”) and fed it to me until a certain age. And yet, my mother and sister were always a thin- medium (my sister is still a stick), but I am “obese.” How can that be?
I have unfortunately in my life been treated as if my weight gain is entirely my fault when in reality, I don’t even truly know the cause of it, AND I’ve continued to get heavier throughout my life. If anyone is proof that diets do not work, I am. I have literally been on a diet my entire existence (or at least since I have gotten heavier)… depriving myself of food or things that I wanted to eat only caused my insides to rage and feel as if I was losing more control over my own life and it made me eat more or binge eat (on occasion, I’ve never binge eaten for days, or even weeks).
But, I ask myself again… why am I fat? I don’t know.
Okay, then the proper question is, “why can’t I get thin?” …
Well, another list of factors…
I have TRIED to get thin. As you will recall, I’ve been on a diet for many years, many different times with many different plans. Funnily enough, when my parents did the “atkins” plan to lose weight. They actually did! In fact, everyone in the family lost weight! That was/is… except for me. I was even exercising some at the time expecting to jump on the scale and see it move. A little… at all… any? Nothing…
This was actually when I became (for a brief period in my life) anorexic. Because I was tired of being fat. Being told that the reason that I was fat was all my fault. (because people who are fat MUST be sneaking large cakes into their bedroom every night and eating them… let me be clear… I was not.)
To this day, the changes I’ve made in my diet to “get thinner” have been leaps and bounds of progress. I no longer have chips in my house on a regular basis. Or soda, which I stopped drinking when I was seventeen in an attempt to get thinner and now only drink water or tea. I do not eat “dessert” every night or even every other night (as my mother claims that I must be doing).
The thing that is worse than not knowing WHY you are fat is realizing that other people believe that it is your FAULT that you are fat. When they start giving you the “eye” because you took that extra slice of pizza… but wait a second! They did too! And thirds, and fourths… but if YOU did it, that’s just proof that your being overweight is your own damn fault.
You see, it’s difficult to exist in a world where everyone around you eats the same way you do, or even WORSE than you do but yet, the fact that you’re fat is YOUR fault. This makes it difficult for the fat person to even understand what the problem is to begin with.
“Hey, come over for pizza and ice cream friday night!”
“IT’S YOUR FAULT THAT YOU’RE FAT! LOOK AT HOW YOU EAT!”
Serious problem here.
Serious problem with how my parents raised me as well. This is another factor. Another factor is that I was never taught by example OR by simple force to do any exercise what so ever. My mother proudly states that she gets her “exercise” by “going up and down dem starrrs…” which is apparently why she’s seventy lbs light than I am… yup. I guess going up and down stairs four times a day will do it by jove! (she of course forgets that I used to live in that same house and do the same thing and that I now live in a building with stairs which I climb on average once a day… hey, three more times and I can lose seventy pounds).
I know very little about exercise and when I’ve tried it, I’ve found that quite a bit of it was not for me. Not because I don’t want to do it but because of the NEXT factor.
I am missing a whole part of my hip. Nothing wrong with it, I was just born that way. Doing “leg lifts” or “squats” is more like “I think I might legitimately be in the seventh circle of hell right now”. Mostly for exercise, I walk. I was told by a doctor that I shouldn’t run, but on occasion recently, I do that too.
I will absolutely admit that I need to push myself harder in the exercise department and I would probably lose a ton of weight.
Here comes another factor. I have never in my life learned how to push myself at anything. I am one of those people who ALWAYS wakes up tired, NEVER seems to wake up during the day, and is usually crawling into bed by 4PM… My body does NOT seem to turn food into energy regardless of what I’m eating. Soup, salad, oatmeal, chicken, beans and veggies just seem to do NOTHING in my body but make me sluggish. Yes, junk food makes this even worse.
My life recently though has looked very similar to the diet that I have just presented you… more vegetables. More salads, lentils, beans, water, tea, more chicken and turkey, less food overall… and yet here we are… obese.
Let’s talk about the last thing… I have been sick for nearly a year. In fact, at the end of July, it will in fact be a year. This illness involves chronic, pain that exists in… well, let’s just be frank, my genitals. Yup. This stuff CAN happen.
Here’s where the vicious cycle thing happens. There’s a good chance that my pain is upset by the fact that I’m heavy… but my pain is making doing anything VERY hard. If you don’t know, I am married. There is no intimacy there… there hasn’t been for a while in a way that is not painful for me. This only makes me more depressed, and stress and depression feed this condition andddddd we start back at the beginning.
So what is my point in this TL;DR post?
My point is that regardless of “the thing” – whatever the thing is, there are tons of reasons for why a person might or might not have accomplished that same thing that you accomplished, and that means that you don’t really have the right to explain to them that they’re a moron, unmotivated, stupid, etc…
So, what is wrong with this picture?
The answer is the lack of “love” (when looked at in 1 Cor 13)… It’s GREAT that you “have no excuses”… (and a ton of pride in YOURSELF… which, I’m not even going to touch right now)
I have a lot of them, and growing up I was told, “stop with your excuses” most of my life… instead of “yes you can,” and “I’ll help you”… I was treated as if my pains, aches, and disturbances were mere “excuses” so that I wouldn’t have to do a “thing”…
Little did my parents know that I actually HAD a dislocated hip… that I actually DID get migraines / headaches on a regular basis because of my back that often caused me to vomit. Little did they know that I had a chronic illness that made eating make me sick (something that I haven’t even touched on here, ask me questions below). That I actually WASN’T sleeping at night and that I had the energy of a seventy year old at 11/12… And that yes, I’m sure that ALL of this could be at least “helped” from weight loss…
BUT I AM LEARNING… I might be learning until I’m dead for heavens sake because I still haven’t figured it out.
Some people DO and they move on. Others it takes a long amount of time due to a list of factors.
But, you might have easily (or with some work and your own obstacles) have accomplished the thing. Seriously… good for you… now do a sister a favor and back her up instead of acting like she’s weak, giving excuses, and just has a “problem” … the reality is that she KNOWS that she has problems and those problems have caused her to want to give up, not PUSH FORWARD… even though I am.