Have you ever had one of those moments when you say something really profound, but you didn’t mean to? I mean . . . you don’t even realize just how profound it was until it touches someone else, or it stops you in your tracks?
Here’s an example. I was chatting with a friend about weight. We were discussing people who sincerely struggle with a cycle of weight . . . they lose it. Then they gain it. They lose it, and they gain more. They’re certain they will never do that again, and they commit that this time they will lose it for good. And . . . it comes back once again.
Why the discussion? It may or may not have something to do with the challenge I have personally faced in the past . . . since the time that I was in junior high school. We’re talking about a 35-year-old weight roller coaster. But recently I have learned so much from these cycles. I am a pattern girl. (What even is that?) Well . . . I really thrive when I can find types of people that keep showing up in my life, similar experiences that keep happening, or the underlying reason that I do the same things over and over, and so on. I want to shout for joy as I tell you that I believe I have finally ended this weight cycle for me.
However, as I was sharing my thoughts with my friend, I hadn’t yet ended the cycle. I knew I was so close . . . my breakthrough was just around the corner. But as we described the problem that - ever so many people face - whether in body image or a plethora of other examples, this is the profound thought that escaped my lips:
“I don’t have to apologize for my journey.”
So what do I mean by that?
Simply this. Every one of us is on a journey. We are all trying to be our very best selves. We wouldn’t learn much if we became our best selves in the first 3-5 years of our lives. That’s why we call it a “life’s journey.” I believe I am on this planet to become the very best me. And I feel that you are on this planet to become the very best you. But “becoming” is a process. In my experience I feel I have been given a perfectly prepared package of problems for me to face in this life. Not because I did anything wrong or because of an unjust God. Quite the opposite. I believe that these challenges have been divinely prepared to assist me to become the very best me. For real.
When Shame Hangs Around
While I consider my sincere belief that challenges are a blessing rather than a curse, I also recognize that I have carried a lot of shame over the years because of this cycle. It’s been kind of like this . . . when the bathroom scale displayed socially acceptable numbers, I felt worthy to show up in the world. When the numbers were higher than I deemed appropriate, Shame came to stay at my house, told me I probably shouldn’t leave the house, assured me that I wasn’t worthy of love, and reminded me that this was the umpteenth time I had been through the cycle. Just to make sure I was left in utter defeat, Shame ended the conversation by planting in my mind that, without a doubt, all my friends were talking about it.
Who has time to sit and worry about whether I’m up twenty pounds or not?
Journey of a Lifetime
I am on a journey. You are on a journey. And it is part of the human experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s our relationship with money, our experience with holding down a job, whether or not our mornings are productive this month, or even if we’re having a good hair day or a bad one. It is your journey. It is my journey.
It’s time to be more gentle with ourselves. We have a lot to learn in this life, and that’s okay. There will be ups, and there will be downs. Some days will be easier to smile than others. I believe that all these things will give us experience and be for our good.
So when we find ourselves . . . once again . . . less than our ideal, you and I can both hold our heads high and say with relief, “I don’t have to apologize for my journey.”