This is a lesson I learned from a young woman years ago, and its a lesson I’ve since kept close to my heart.
It was 2003- I was 23 years old, and one of my friends had recently started dating a petite, beautiful southern Californian “belle”. She was perfect. Thin, delicate, clothes always in style, hair and makeup perfectly done. Originally, I very much disliked her, perhaps even bordering on hate- probably most likely because of how insecure she made me feel (even though I’m not sure I knew this at the time). In all honesty I had no reason to dislike her. She never purposefully made me feel bad. In fact, she was actually quite wonderful- she was always sweet, kind, and never had anything mean to say. Yet I held a great disdain for her. Then one day it all changed.
Out of the blue, she tells me she suffers from anxiety, and in that moment my whole world shifted.
The thought that I had, the thought that has remained since that moment was “whoa- even pretty people have problems”. Now of course 14 years later this is something I know to be true and don’t need pointed out, but sometimes I still need to remind myself of it.
Looking in to someone’s life it’s easy to see how great we think they have it, but we don’t get to see what’s inside their heads or inside their bedrooms.
We have no idea the demons they struggle with, and we sure as heck can’t say that their lives are amazing- because we don’t live them.
Why do I bring this up? This point that is beaten down to a pulp every day? Because I for one need to be reminded of it on the regular. I need to be reminded that when I wish I had it like someone else, I have no idea what I’m actually wishing for. And I also have to say- even the most “perfect” people- the ones we might all be aspiring to be like- have “screw it” parties with crappy pizza and too much wine and do things in the moment they regret later (and yes that’s what precipitated this blog post).
I send so much information out every day about “making healthy choices” and “get your body moving” and I realized maybe people think that it’s easy for me to say or do, because of the industry I’m in. It isn’t always easy. Whether you’re a financial advisor, personal trainer, doctor, or teacher, it doesn’t matter- we all fall prey from time to time to the whims of the moment. We all have our “screw it” moments.
What differentiates people is what you do after that moment.
Do you continue down the path, or do you let it be a onetime thing and get back on the horse?
This is what will end up defining us long term- if we let the positive behaviors be greater than the “negative”, if we forgive ourselves when we fall off, and if we are kind to ourselves as we get back on. You are not weak, or stupid, or any of the other words you might use to beat yourself up over your moments. You are human- influenced by the whims of emotions, your brain in a constant state of searching to feel good.
So what is the takeaway from this?
Remember that regardless of how you perceive someone, they might not have it together the way you think they do (even pretty people have problems). Everyone will have moments where they fall off the proverbial horse and must get back on, and what defines them (and you) will be how long it takes to get up and get going again. And don’t waste time beating yourself up. It isn’t worth it.