Sep 10, 2010

to whom it may concern...

sweet friends - don't forget to enter my super-easy-to-win giveaway to CSN Stores! it's a free $45, for cryin' out loud! comment before midnight on september 15th, and good luck!


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?
- rebekah


  1. Rebekah,
    I read your blog all the time, but I rarely comment. This post is absolutely beautiful - I commend you on your confidence, and your self-love/acceptance. I've struggled with extremely disordered eating in the past, and I've experienced every comment in the book with regards to my weight. One day, I hope to have achieved a similar level of self-love and respect as you have. I am honestly blown away with how you've stood up for yourself :)

    Thank you, for being such an incredible inspiration. This world needs more people like you!
    <3 Tat

  2. beautiful. Everyone does love and everyone deserves not to be judged based off appearances. We are truly all beautiful---even if we are going through things that others just don't understand.

  3. Fantastic post,Rebekah.
    I find that when I catch myself judging someone else (either out loud or silently), it is because I am feeling pretty crappy about myself. It's an attempt to push others down so I can get higher. Pretty contemptible, if you ask me.
    But when I realize what's going on, that's when the real work of discovering WHY I feel that way and what needs to be done from there.

  4. I am a hyper-sensitive person who is easily affected by the words of others, so I know that I need to choose my words carefully in each situation. I'm a big advocate of thinking for A LONG TIME before you speak.

    I think compassion and positive reinforcement are so valuable but underutilized in so many relationships. A "great job" or a "you did that well" can do SO much for someone.

  5. Beautiful post reminding us all of the power of our words. I think that we all very often get caught up in "fat-talk", as I talked about on my blog earlier last week. And one very subtle but hurtful form of fat talk is so-called "compliments." I think that many of us are trying to be nice, sweet, or humorous when we comment on another person's weight in what we think is a positive way. But focusing on a person's size and shape (even if to tell them that you are envious or how great they looked at some point) we are contributing to our unhealthy culture in which there is too great a valuation on weight.

  6. Rebekah,
    you leave me speechless. Of your spirit, your incredibly beautiful spirit. To read your words is a blessing, and to have you as a friend is an honour and a gift. Never forget that.
    You have an impact on people, you make us think. Question. Change. For that we are to thank you.

    I am very much more aware of the impact of words today compared to before I developed anorexia. Back then my tongue sometimes spoke evil, harassing the bodies of other people. Never did I think that our bodies tell a story. A story of a human being marked by life. Rarely do we know this story, all we see is it's front page : the body. There are experiences behind the way we look, and we are not to judge.
    Because honestly, why should we judge our own and other peoples bodies? If we must judge, we are to do it positively, in a loving way. Embracing the fact that we are all unique, what could be more beautiful than that? I have scars on unique places, the person I met in the store has his own marks.

    This is connected to a wider issue - the tendency to look at other people with hatred, with judgement. Why do we fear what is different than us? Why do we choose to relate to other people with anxiety and pessimism? All this does is engaging us in negative circles, creating tension. Is it really impossible to change our perspective? To look beyond the colour of your skin, or your weight, or the religious symbol you carry and see that we share something fundamental : we are humans. We want to live a happy life, a healthy life, a life where we are respected and accepted. Maybe it is time to put our energy into making accept and love fundamental principles for our lives.

    Sorry about the rambling, but this post was just so beautiful.

  7. I agree with everyone who's commented - this is beautiful and so are you. :)

    It's really easy to judge people, and that's still something that I do, but I *never* tell anyone these judgments, because I know they don't deserve to be judged and have their feelings hurt. I try not to prejudge anyway, because what usually happens with me is that people's looks tend to change when I get to know them. If they're very pretty but catty and mean, they suddenly don't look as nice and it's the same with totally awesome people whose appearances don't conform to society's standards. People are so much more (and actually, sometimes, such as in the case of generally unpleasant people, less) than what they look like.

    Lovely post! :)

  8. I'm really impressed with how beautifully and eloquently you addressed this. Well done!

  9. I agree I agree!!! I was in that situation as well, and I've been picked on before, and it hurts. It hurts to make judgment on both ends. Whenever I made remarks in the past about someone, I felt icky inside. I never know what someone could be going through, or what their story is. But most importantly, I want to have that chance to possibly meet someone wonderful, you know? I remember when there was a time when it was nearly impossible for me to gain weight and months of testing I finally got a reason. During those months though I felt really self-conscious and inferior because of my very low weight. I don't think it's right to make assumptions about people. There's enough of that in the world.. why don't we just spread the compassion? To others and to ourselves!

    XOXO you are a beautiful person: mind, body, and soul!

  10. Well said girl! I totally agree. We do not know people's full stories, therefore we must not judge! It is hard to do at times but I just think to myself... I do not want someone judging me so I am not going to judge others!

    Great post! HUGS

  11. Beautifully said, Rebekah. Who are we to judge? We don't like when others judge us yet we have no problem doing the exact same thing. Talk about hypocritical. I'll admit that I do still judge but as the days go on, I'm learning to quiet the voice that criticizes while letting the voice that recognizes beauty in all things come forth.

  12. It's so true that when we look at a stranger, we NEVER know what is going on inside them, the struggles they are going through. We only have appearance to judge on. I wish more people judged with their hearts :(

  13. That's how you "Oh snap!" someone with class.

  14. "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."

    ---But isn't THIS judging? Do you ever think that this girl might just be sick like you were, with an illness. I see comments like this on so many blogs and it's frustrating. We shouldn't judge anyone for their weight OR assume the reason for their weight.

    If we can elimminate BOTH of those judgments, then we won't compare other people's bodies to our own in the same way.

  15. peacebeme - i actually was talking about the struggles i've been through when i was sick, and i had no hope. i felt for months like there were no answers for me, and the weight just kept falling off of me. i looked sick, and i felt defeated, and THAT'S why i want to love the girls who look like i did - because i have no idea what's behind their weight (anorexia, genetics, or health issues).

  16. gotcha :) feel much better that that is what you meant, i always think of that because of my illness too, hope no hard feelings

  17. this was beautifully written and a wonderful response to a comment that clearly affected you. very, very classy.

  18. Rebekah, I come from a long line of critical, judgmental women and it's taken me a long time to realize that the reason they are that way (and the reason I was too) is because they are most critical and judgmental of themselves. What we turn inward is what we turn outward. What a gift that you understand this and are able to so eloquently express and share it!


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