When I began my heath-coaching journey, someone said to me, “you may find it difficult for people to take you seriously because you’ve never been overweight.”
It was an interesting perspective, but I questioned why I need to have ever been overweight to understand the mentality of women who are silently struggling with something – be it weight, or anxiety, confidence or wellness.
I may have never been “overweight” but I have lived in a mindset that felt my body was at least 20-40 pounds heavier than is should have been for about 20 years. That’s a struggle I faced every day and the reality is, even women who project a comfort on the outside may be battling a real internal struggle, too.
The battle doesn’t have to be about weight. Mine has been for many years. I looked at myself in the mirror and critiqued every part of my body that I felt was unworthy. I didn’t need to be morbidly obese to want to make a change.
Wellness isn’t just about weight, it’s about mentally feeling your best. We all have crosses to carry and demons to fight.
Some of those are struggles really are physical and some are emotional. The thing is, we don’t need to see someone else’s struggle to know if it is really real or not.
There are a lot of things we dream about and a lot of things that make an impact on us. I know people who have been sexually abused. I know women who are divorced and don’t know how to take the first step in getting back into the dating world. I know women who have been overweight their entire lives. I know women who have children diagnosed with learning disorders. I have friends and family who have struggled with infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth.
In the grand scheme of things, my problems may seem small to handle in comparison – but the reality is, they are my problems and so, to me, they are real and big; just as your problems are to you.
So you can’t tell a mom who has never had a miscarriage that she cannot empathize with her friend who has gone through one. You can’t tell a person who has never been an alcoholic that she can’t understand and support a friend who has been sober for 15 years.
True, I have never been overweight, but I have been blessed enough with the gift to understand the struggle we all have when we’re dealing with whatever issue that may seem overwhelming to face.
I’m a calm and friendly face to talk to, and the reality is, body image is very rarely stemming from actual weight struggles. Our “body” issues can go back very far into our growth as we start to think about how “everybody” is going to perceive us. “Everybody” takes on an existence of its’ own and all of a sudden, perception is reality.
My perception of my body for the longest time was that it needed to be toned and firmed and starved and beaten into submission. Just over the past couple years have I decided to love it and treat it with compassion and generosity.
My point is, we don’t need to live everyone’s problems to understand what someone is dealing with. We just need someone to help us approach it with compassion, love, guidance and trust.