It's easy to laugh at them

Many of us have secrets about ourselves that we hold back from the world, we keep them secret because we may be concerned about how people will see us if they knew the real truth. This is understandable, we fear we may be rejected so it’s easier to suppress and hide rather than confront and reveal all of the truth we hold within ourselves. Being in this place can be crippling in ways that restrict us in many aspects of our lives and it is intriguing to watch when someone finally finds a way to release these inner thoughts, how the weight gets lifted off their shoulders and they become liberated. They can finally express freely and explore life without that veil of secrecy that they have lived behind for so long. 

Recently a girl I know did just this and revealed some very dark secrets, to say she has been to hell and back is an understatement.  Her story included rape, domestic violence, massive weight problems, and a huge amount of internal negativity and conflict that comes with living through such a life. 

When we think about bravery we think about sports stars, war heroes, iconic historic leaders, but an area of bravery that I believe deserves more credit is when people like the girl I know open up to the world. She opened up through a blog post where she shared her journey and what had helped her get to the point where she could now reveal her experiences and it was horrifically revealing. When I read it, I was thinking how brave she was, I was experiencing courage as I read her words.  

There were many deep insights that came from reading her piece, there's one in particular that I want to share with you. In talking about her weight problems she wrote; ’This is an important thing to consider, that extra 40-odd kilos that I carried on my body for many years - that’s not all sloth and laziness, that’s fear and protection, lack of self worth, pain and suffering, comfort sought in food. Eventually, the weight becomes part of your identity, it becomes ‘who you are’, or perhaps more accurately, ‘who you think you are’. It is your shield and as uncomfortable as it is, it’s where you feel safe. More people need to understand that a person who struggles with their weight is not necessarily just lacking in willpower.’ 

What an incredibly honest insight to a place where people are quick to judge without considering a deeper level or meaning. The overweight person has always been a target. Examples of this include how it’s acceptable for comedy shows to allow overweight people to bare the brunt of jokes, or how some people make fun of the overweight person in front of others in ways that are hurtful. If you are overweight, you may have the feeling of social disapproval and what my brave friend reminded me was just because someone is overweight does not necessarily mean they are a weak person, there may be deeper reasons for the place they are currently in.

Unfortunately many of us have been conditioned to have certain thoughts when we see particular things in our life. We see the overweight person and may instantly judge them as having a weak character and we close off to what that person can offer, this can have negative effects on both the overweight person and the person judging. 

There are overweight people who just need to sharpen up, but so often there are deeper, much bigger hurdles to overcome for people who struggle with their weight. I believe we should all aim to become aware of when we have judgements that restrict us and hurt others. Ultimately we need to catch ourselves when we are doing it and remind ourselves that we are better to try to gain understanding into another person’s life and show acceptance towards their struggles. 

When I think back to my friend’s blog, one of the reasons she was able to be so brave and honest was because she had people around her that showed her that they would accept her unconditionally. Through her opening up she has been liberated, it’s been amazing to see. If all of us can learn to shift the way we perceive overweight people maybe we can be the person that helps them address what they may hold secret inside. 

If the next time you see an overweight person and you find yourself judging them, maybe you can stop your thoughts and try to see them in a different light, you can be kinder and try to gain understanding which could lead to a healthier place for both you and them.

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Bevan Eyles