I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. You know how when God/the Great Spirit/Ra/Buddha/Krisha/the universe shows you something so very...almost forcibly that it's very clear you need to learn a lesson, and a big one? Well, that's how I'm feeling today.
Let me start by admitting something - I have, for a long time, had a bit of an "issue" with lapband/lap sleeve surgery. I'm not proud of this fact and I know I shouldn't have a problem with it - I'm not even sure why I do? I have a feeling it might stem back to the fact that my mother used to badger me to get it done (sooner or later, everything seems to come back to Mum), but regardless of how it started, it is still very much there. And I'll go a little further and also admit that, yes, I have sometimes been quite judgmental about others who have decided to take this step, thinking they had just given up because they didn't want to do the hard yards, etc and wanted an easier route to weight loss. Again, I'm not proud of those thoughts, but I'm owning them now by getting them out into the blogosphere.
Well, you know that sledgehammer I was talking about? In the last few days, it has been whacking me over the head with great force. Two days ago, I found out a really dear friend of mine was having a lap sleeve operation, which she had yesterday. The day before that, I had received a shock email out of the blue from a guy who was also a dear friend many years ago (he was my boss for eight years when I used to work at Roy Morgan Research), and it turns out HE had gastric banding done two years ago. And my mum rang to tell me that a lady we used to live next door to when I was a teenager, well, SHE'S had one done late last year.
So the upshot of this is, it used to be that I had dealings with lapband/lap sleeve people, but nobody close to me had had it done, so I could afford, I guess, to be a bit on my high horse about it. But now it's happened to close friends, I feel very strongly that I need to totally reassess my strong feelings about it all. And what are they? Well, first and foremost, it is not a choice that I personally would make. While there's even a slight suspicion that I can do it myself without that "help" (and to be honest, the thought of that "help" including vomiting regularly is extremely unappealing), I want to try. I want to beat this weight demon into submission once and for all, and when I've done it, I never want anyone to be able to say, "Oh, it's all very well, but she had help, you know." But that's the point - it's only me who thinks this about myself and my own situation. I am not in my friends' minds, in their bodies. I don't know what's led them to make such a major and potentially risky decision. If I was, I might do just exactly what they have all chosen to do - go ahead with the surgery. And so what gives me the right to judge them for their choice? Nothing. I have no right.
So what is the lesson for me? To learn to accept that there are lots of ways of getting there, and if the end result is healthier, happier friends who will be around much longer so I can enjoy the special gift of their friendship, then of course I have to be OK with it. The loving thing to do is to accept and not judge. Would I like to be judged like I have, in the past, judged these people? No, would not, and when it's happened to me, I haven't.
From now on, it will be my mission to love and accept and respect people wherever they are at. To close, a quote...
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. Wayne Dyer