I met up with a couple of friends recently, women who I trust and love dearly and realized how incredibly lucky and grateful I am to have friends who are my safe place, with whom I can share my story candidly without fear of judgement. Sadly, I have a feeling that not many can say the same…
I speak candidly and privately with a lot of people, namely women, generally as a nutritionist and sometimes just as a friend or sounding board, who have such a distorted and negative self image that I feel genuinely heart broken after our conversations.
On one hand, I see a lot of myself in them and I empathize and understand where they are coming from. On the other hand I feel angry. I’m so angry that we live in a world where people, women especially, feel so much pressure to look a certain way or behave a certain way or live up to certain ideals, that they live in constant fear of judgement, that they go to such lengths to feel valued and accepted that they forget to live.
I met a women a few years back who loved swimming. But simply because she gained weight, did not swim for SEVEN YEARS for fear of being seen in a bathing suite and judged by others.
I spoke with another women who hated the way she looked so much that for years on end, she avoided mirrors.
Another woman told me that she was a dancing teacher and loved it; it was her passion but she gave it up completely when she gained weight because she was afraid of being made fun of and what people might think.
I myself, used to avoid telling people that I am a nutritionist until I lost weight because of fear of being judged and ridiculed by others – people I didn’t know even.
When my boyfriend pushed me to take on my first nutrition clients after I completed my first nutrition course, I fought him for weeks saying I’m not ready. Only to break down eventually and admit that I was ashamed of being the chubby nutritionist; I didn’t want to be ridiculed and feel like a failure.
Sure enough, when I did accept a couple of clients, at no fee, more for practice and to test the waters, I was embarrassed and I did have a client, who made me feel like crap. An unhappy middle aged woman who was insecure and who I genuinely tried to help. She did ridicule me with others and every single thing I was afraid of, happened. And you know what?! I felt like a total and complete failure and cried my eyes out, I felt sorry for myself. Until I reminded myself that I SURVIVED. That my value is not based on someone’s inability to see my worth. I don’t need anyone’s approval to be who I am, and neither does anyone else.
I became stronger, it hurt me like you wouldn’t believe, I thought about quitting if I’m being totally honest, but then i thought to myself, am I really going to give up on something I love and am passionate about because of one person? or even multiple people? Why would I do that? I know I have something of value to offer. I kept going and I’m so glad I did.
Eventually, you realize that the ones who cause you harm are the ones who have a lot of pain inside them. I’m not saying you should sit there and take it. I didn’t. I no longer keep any form of contact with people who needlessly bring negativity to my life or make me feel bad. Neither do I hold a grudge however, or cause them any harm. I wish her, and everyone, well but I don’t need negativity in my life.
So when I say I know what it feels like, believe me I do.
Which brings me to my next question; WHY?
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to each other? Why make ourselves and each other miserable for no valid reason whatsoever? Why bring others down to lift yourself up?
There’s room for us all in this world, for all of us to do something beautiful with our lives, there’s no competition, we are stronger together than we are alone. Let’s help each other. Let’s be a safe place for other women to talk freely without fear of being judged or stabbed in the back. Let’s teach our kids kindness and love and understanding. There is no need to mean to be hateful to be spiteful and hurtful.
We need to change the narrative. We need to be happy with who we are; to take care of ourselves and allow ourselves the room to grow and learn to be exactly who we are. Only then will we be able to be free.
You never know what someone is going through, many people have been dealt a bad hand in life, which is incredibly unfair. But life isn’t fair. If there’s one thing I believe without a doubt it’s that everyone alive knows suffering. Every single human being understands suffering. Everyone has their own individual story of course; some may seem fortunate, and they very well may be. But not all the glitters is gold. We all know suffering. The more I speak with different people the clearer this becomes, everyone, without exception, had been through a tough time at one point or an other. More often than not, through no fault of their own. But what we do after that, what we make of ourselves, who we become in spite of it, that is what makes us who we are. That is what makes us stronger. It is our responsibility to turn something painful into personal growth.
Happiness is an inside job that we all need to work on from time to time. Only when we value ourselves will we be able to help others, to feel empathy, to forgive, to love, to be free.
I know this has nothing really to do with physical healthy and nutrition, but wellness is an inside job too. Creating a world full of anxiety, needless stress, impossible ideals, low self esteem and self doubt will never do good to anyone.
True wellness, at least to me, is the connection of mind, body and soul. I shared this in hopes that if you are going through a tough time, just know that you never need permission to be exactly who you are, regardless of what people may think. If there is something that sparks joy inside of you, whatever it may be, pursue it! Share it! Never hide who you are or stop doing what you love for fear of judgement.
Thank you for being here, reading this and allowing me the space to share it! I genuinely hope that, if nothing else, this is some food of thought and that we together can create a kinder world and love ourselves and each other ❤
Until my next post, be well xXx