For years and years I lived in constant fear of judgement.
I was scared of others judging me for what I ate, wore, how I spoke, what I drove, who I dated and more.
Often I would miss out on opportunities that I would have loved to partake in because I was so terrified of others judging me while I was out.
My personal fear stemmed from the fact that I was a really heavy individual for most of my life; it wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I finally broke free of the obesity that had plagued me for most of my life.
It wasn’t until I learned how to break up with my ego that I was able to begin to lose weight, significantly.
For so many years of my life I was the “fat” kid at the party, and in my own family. No one else that I knew looked like me, all of my friends and family were thin and beautiful, and I felt like the black sheep wherever I went because I was so heavy and felt ugly and unwanted.
It was sometime in my mid 20s when I first heard about a procedure that would allow me to lose the weight that I had carried with me for so long, unable to shed. As badly as I wanted to have this procedure done, I couldn’t get past my ego telling me that people would shame me and judge me for not being able to do it on my own. The thought of having surgery stayed with me for years; I even went as far as to book a consultation with a nurse to talk about what the next step would be, and then I completely shut down and pushed the thought from my mind while I tried to find other socially acceptable ways of losing the weight.
One day, a few months before I was supposed to be getting married to a man that I didn’t love—but thought was all that I deserved—I had an earth shattering, life changing breakthrough. If drug addicts and alcoholics are praised for their attempts to get help and shed their addictions, why was it so different for those of us who are addicted to food? What I was trying to do was get help for my addiction and, in my case, I needed a major shift to be able to shed the weight and change my life. Surgery for me was the “rehab” that I had been waiting for.
I can remember keeping my meetings and conversations with the doctors and facilitators a secret from everyone in my family, including my partner at the time, because I wasn’t quite strong enough to withstand a barrage of judgement or conflicting opinions just yet. I knew that this was right for me and I didn’t want to chance anything throwing me off course.
My life changed in the instant that I made the decision to do what was best for me and not what was expected or accepted by society. I went ahead with the procedure and went on to lose 100+ pounds (even more if you count losing the partner I was with as well) and though that has changed my life considerably from a health perspective, the biggest change came from realizing that I was allowing my ego and my fear of others’ opinions keep me from living the life that was right and meant for me.
So often we disallow ourselves joy, love, money, and so on, because we are afraid to go against the societal grain. We don’t want to stand out because standing apart from the crowd means that we are on display for others to see and judge, but what we fail to realize is that so often we are the ones judging ourselves and everyone else is in the same boat.
When we can come to a place of peace within where we truly love, respect and accept ourselves for the perfect imperfection that we are, something magical happens and we open ourselves up to the infinite possibilities awaiting us. Learning to let go of the desire to please others, to meet their expectations at the expense of our own is ingrained in us from childhood and can be extremely hard to let go of, but once you do and you learn to live for you the world opens up and shows you the beauty you have been waiting for.
Change is hard no doubt, but regret is harder to live with in the end. I chose not to regret the life I was handed, and to accept the changes that I could make. It was the best decision I have ever made and I am thankful every single day for the moment of bravery that led me to this point of change.
Author: Tanessa Holt
Image: Author’s Own, Wikipedia
Editor: Travis May