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dear anonymous -
first of all, i wish you had left your name when you commented. this blog is a place where we embrace ourselves, and i don't like it when anyone feels they can't be who they are. not cool. but that's neither here nore there.
secondly, i want to thank you. no, seriously! you brought to mind an issue i've been struggling with, an important lesson that by god's grace i've accepted over the last year or two: the importance of not judging others.
when you commented on my weight, did you realize how that would crush me? although i am proud of who i am, i'm still human and vulnerable to criticism. did you stop and think about that before you pressed submit?
you mentioned how i looked "before i lost of bunch of weight..." did you know i lost that weight because i was bedridden? that i slept 20 hours a day and just got up to pee? that i had to call my mom to carry me down the stairs? i didn't crash-diet, i was in a medicated coma. not shockingly, food wasn't too appealing. it took energy, and i didn't have any. simple as that.
if you had been in contact with me over the last few years, you would have know that i've desperately struggled with my body. praise God that improving body image is now one of my biggest passions. and i still struggle with eating enough and exercising to this day. i still am so grateful for each mile i can walk, because there was a time i couldn't walk any. did you know that?
all questions aside, that's not what i'm thanking you for. i appreciate your comment because it brought to light a realization i've had since i got sick that's worth mentioning: who am i to judge anyone because of their body?
when i see someone walking down the street, the only thing i know about them is their appearance. how on earth do i think i have any business commenting on what they look like, when i don't know them? i hate to admit i used to gossip mercilessly about anyone i deemed too fat, dressed too slutty, or wore too much makeup.
the second i opened my smart mouth, all i accomplished was showering my pride, arrogance, and hate on everyone around me. i thought i was better than this person because in my mind, i wasn't "too" anything (although i did hate my own body, but that's another story). how it shames me to even admit that! sadly, it took me years before i could face my own shortcomings, realize God is the only true Judge, and in turn accept we all struggle, we all have flaws, and we all have a story behind them.
that critically obese person at the store? they are an incredible gift of God. who knows what they are struggling with in their own life? people have no more or less worth because of their weight, and if i truly cared about their health, i would pray for their lives and heart instead of mocking their body. that trashy-looking girl at the movies? who knows what she's been through? what does she deal with on a daily basis that i've only seen in movies? if i really cared, i would hug her instead of condemn her. that girl whose bones jut out from her skin? after the weight struggles i've gone through, if anyone loves this girl, it should be me. how dare i make her as the butt of my jokes, when i've been that girl! i could be the one voice she needs to keep believing there's hope in life, and each time i criticize her, i confirm her worst fears.
there's been a huge focus on self-love over the last few weeks, and i'm thrilled! before you can help others, you certainly must deal with yourself.
but sometimes, i think it's easy to forget the power in our words. it's not just about fat-talk, although that's a pretty big deal. more than that, though, we need to deal with what doesn't happen when we judge - love. when we choose to criticize someone, not only do we reenforce our own negativity, but we sever any chance we had to positively impact that person, and that might have been the only kind word they got for quite some time.
next time we're tempted to judge, let's own up to the fact it probably comes from our own insecurities. how about we stop and consider what they're going through first, or compliment them instead? we have millions of opportunities to impact lives for the better - why not take them?
so anonymous, thanks for bringing that up, and thanks for reconfirming what i already knew to be true - because i am wonderfully made, i treat my body right. because i treat my body right, i accept what i see in the mirror. because i accept what i see, what you see doesn't threaten me. i know who i am and the victory that my life is. do you, anonymous?
are you aware of how your words impact others?
what can we do to build others up instead of tear them apart?