How easy it is to judge others, and how quick we are to do it.
Even though I am overweight, it's easy to quickly judge people who are more overweight--or that I perceive as being more overweight.
The thing is, our perception is skewed. One time I walked toward a building, and coming toward me I saw a woman who was overweight and kind of sloppy-looking. See how quick I was to judge? Did I see a busy, happy woman who was going to the library with her children in tow, taking time out of her day for them? Did I see a woman who was doing the best she could in spite of chronic fatigue? Did I see a good mother out for the afternoon with her children? Did I see someone who hadn't slept well in years and carried on in spite of it? No, I saw a woman who was overweight and kind of sloppy-looking. Snap judgment.
As I got closer, I saw the woman more clearly--and it was not someone who was coming toward me through the doors, it was my reflection. Two things came of that: I decided to lose weight, and dress a little better--and I stopped to think more about how judgmental I was.
I admit it didn't cure me. Sometimes I'll see someone who must weight at least 100 pounds more than me, and I'll say to myself, "That's incentive! I don't want to look like her." How quickly I forget that I don't know what's in her life, what it's like to walk in her shoes. I was at a walking path the other day and saw a woman who was so heavy it must have been painful to walk. My first thought was "Wow, look at her thighs!" I had to remind myself to admire her for the effort she is making. There she was, chugging along a 1.8 mile path with her dog. Not only was she exercising, she was taking care of a dog, more than I am willing to do.
We've taken to walking in the mall when it's my husband's turn to choose where/how we exercise. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window of a store, and I judge myself for what I see. I feel brisk, and young, and slim, as we stride along. Then I see how I look to others. I quickly look away. I don't like to think of myself as a short, fat woman. I'm not short; I'm average height, but to myself in the mirror I'm short and fat. I am at least 2 sizes bigger than that woman I saw at the library that day a few years ago. I know how that happened, but I am working to change it. So I quickly look away and focus on the fact that I am working to return to good health. Not only am I exercising, but I have a support system going with my husband. And it doesn't show in the mirror yet, or to those who see me, but we increased by one lap around yesterday.
So, next time you see someone overweight, or messy, or whatever strikes you on first impression, please don't judge them. There is no possible way to walk a mile in their shoes--unless it's your own reflection that you see. Then I hope you are trying to walk that mile, and more! Be kind to yourself while you are making changes, though. Stop judging yourself on only the outward things and look at the work you are doing to return to good health. One day at a time and all that. Rome wasn't built in a day--nor was it overthrown in a day.
Okay, I'll get the short fat lady off the soapbox now--she's got a walk to take.