Just because you can’t see a persons struggle doesn’t mean it’s not there. Just because you can see a persons struggle doesn’t mean you get to judge them for it. All of us have something we are working through. Some issue, or vice, or unhealthy habit, or irrational tendency that has a negative affect on our lives. Every single human being has something. Our need to judge other people is just our ego trying to build itself up. It is also our ego that makes us take other people’s judgments to heart. The judgment of ourselves and others have a huge impact on our mental well being and I believe we should all be more cognizant of our shared humanity when we find ourselves judging someone else.
What does this have to do with my current mental health journey? Everything. The anxiety in my mind consistently tells me that I’m not good enough and that I can’t be better. It makes me hyper aware of other people’s judgement of me and their judgments of others. Therapy is helping a great deal and I feel like I’ve made quite a bit of progress. I’ve seen how this anxiety formed as survival instincts during an abusive childhood. I can see how it served me then to think and feel the way anxiety tells me to think and feel. I can clearly see how those irrational thoughts and feelings are only destructive to me and my relationships as an adult. I can see how I formed the coping mechanisms I have, specifically how I developed Binge Eating Disorder as my main coping mechanism. I hadn’t binged in over two months with the help of introducing better coping mechanisms and going to therapy.
Then I received some bad news. Without even thinking about it I grabbed junk snack food at the store and binged on it in the car. When I realized what I was doing the shame I felt was extreme. I again became very aware of people’s judgments of those who are overweight or obese. Today it literally feels like I have made no progress with my self image and the anxiety voice that tells me I’m fat and weak and worthless is quite loud. I mean, have I really made any progress if some bad news takes my mind back to square one?
The answer is yes. Yes, I have made great progress. I know this because I can see this as a small slip up. I can recognize that voice as being irrational and a tool that kept me under an abusers thumb. I can remind myself that I have worth and strength and mostly believe it. I can lean on the people around me for support instead of hiding my struggle. I can feel the anxiety in my mind and write about this issue I face to help me cope with it. I can recognize people’s judgments as their own irrational problem trying to build up their own ego and not as a true reflection of me.
You can’t see the anxiety in my mind, but it is there. You can see the binge eating disorder that has helped me cope in the past, you can see it on my hips and thighs, on my chubby belly and flabby arms. Before you judge someone else’s appearance, or someone else’s struggle, look at the issues your own ego is facing and decide to focus on self improvement instead of taking the easy way out and building up your own ego at the expense of another.