For example, I have often confused and angry at myself for not being able to overcome the 25-year struggle I’ve had with my weight. With most other issues in my life, once I “put my mind to it,” I have been able to accomplish what I set out to do. Getting back to the weight and size that feel authentic to me, however, has been very hard.
Not understanding why I seemed unable to overcome this challenge often left me feeling bad about myself. Often I focused on what other people might think about me, assuming that others were making judgments about my character and my inner strength based on my physical size. Of course, with that self-judgment, self-criticism, and self-flagellation, I felt more anxious and thus more inclined to eat the kind of foods that would give me the sense of feeling “protected” from criticism (mine as well as others).
Then I had a revelation. Every last one of us has something that is hard for us to learn, overcome, deal with, or work through. Some things that come very easily for me are hard for other people. And what may come easily for others may be challenging for me. That is, everybody is in the slow group about something.
Once I got that realization, I let go of self-judgment, assumptions about what others might think about me, and what other people actually think about me. Instead of judgment, I became able to extend love, grace, and patience toward myself. And as I thought about the reality that everyone has one thing or other that takes them longer to learn, understand, move on from, etc, also helped be to be more loving, gentle, patient, forgiving toward others.
This realization that we are all challenged in some way or other has changed my life. I got it that because we travel different journeys, are here learning different lessons, and have different contributions to make, of course, we have different life challenges. And of course, we are students and teachers one of the other.
It is okay to own what your life challenges may be. It doesn’t mean that you are weak, deserving judgment, or irreparably flawed. It does mean that you are human. And that’s a beautiful thing. Honoring the beauty of our shared humanity, is the path to unconditional love toward yourself and others. This path always leads to healing and wholeness.