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Everyone is fighting...

I have wanted to blog about this topic for a while now because I think that many can relate to. This is a really raw and ugly truth about me and how I view myself, but in the spirit of getting comfortable being uncomfortable (practice what you preach, right?), here is my ugly truth. For as ugly as this is, there is a light in all of it, I promise.

I feel like I live parts of my life in a loop, going round and round and round with no end in sight. For me, that loop is "the comparison trap". I find that I constantly compare myself to other they look, how their clothes fit, how muscular they are, how lean they are, how good their hair looks, how white their teeth are, you name is endless, and emotionally exhausting. I wish that it wasn't true, but it is my reality, everyday. My self esteem stays pretty low most of the time because I am in an endless search for my version of (unattainable) physical perfection. On the really bad days, I find that I judge myself extremely harshly, to the point that I start to find disgust in myself and how I look. My mind gets consumed by darkness and I start running down the list of every single flaw that I find in myself physically. My long laundry list of flaws then gets compounded by repeated rounds of self-shaming. Just fill in the blanks. "I'm TOO _________" or I'm not __________ enough". It goes on and on until I eventually just don't want to even leave the house. I feel like some grotesque creature that doesn't deserve to see the light of day, nor should the outside world have to be subjected to looking at me. It is truly a deep, dark place to be, and somedays, it is very difficult to find hope when I can't see past my own insecurities. All of the truths that I hold so dear in my life (my faith, my family, my friendships, etc.) get pushed farther and farther into the distance until all I can see is just me....every horrible, ugly, disgusting part of me. Even as I sit here and type this, I feel so much shame. Shame for these uncontrollable feelings that I let run my life at times. Shame because I am blessed with an incredible life and I allow my mind to be consumed...consumed by this shameful darkness. It starts my mind into a different emotional spiral that goes well beyond the physical and begins to eat away at who I think that I am as a person....a partner....a friend....a son....a brother....a Christian. This slope is slippery, very, very slippery.

I told you that it was ugly, and it is sadly the mindset of so many of us who suffer with ED, BD and OCD.

I promised you a light, right? Geez, who wouldn't need one after reading that? Hopefully this will give some perspective when the grip of darkness starts to digs its craws in deep.

One of my closest, dearest friends is someone who I admire and respect to the n'th degree. He and his family are friends of ours from church and I have literally thanked God over and over that He has brought them into our lives. They are a constant example of God's unconditional love and grace.

Because this is super personal and sensitive, I'm going to call him John. I want to respect the fact that not everyone is on the journey of vulnerability that I am on. Some added back story... What you have to understand about John is that he is "that guy". He is the one who's personality enters a room before he does, the guy that everyone wants to be around, the life of the party, the guy how is wise beyond his years...the guy who other guys aspire to be like. This is the guy who is overflowing with confidence and doesn't have a single insecurity.

Below is part of my and John's email exchange when I revealed my story to him. In his reply, he opened up and shared his personal struggle.

"Related, I have always struggled with body issues. I can still clearly hear people calling me fat, whether it was my brother in the church gym 30 years ago, my friend Matt saying “you fat tub of lard” 25 years ago, or my teammate JC calling me “fatty” 20 years ago; those voices are crystal clear to this day. I have an unhealthy relationship with food that I’m trying not to pass on to my kids, but there is always the 10 year old John that I don’t want my kids to have to be. I have definitely made myself develop unhealthy habits when I have eaten too much and I go in fits and spurts on new eating plans (no flour and sugar for a month, etc.).

...I have learned that everyone is fighting; this actually helps me in social situations because I know everyone is struggling with something and ultimately just wants to be accepted for who they are, no matter the front they put up."

It took me a few minutes to process what I read in his email. You mean John struggles with some of the same issues that I struggle with? Wait....what? That just can't be possible, but guess what, it is. Not just for John, but for EVERYONE. Every single person has their own struggles and their own issues that the world doesn't (rarely) ever get to see.

I spend so much of my time stuck in the comparison trap comparing myself to what I think is perfection in other people, but I miss the fact that there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. Everyone has a story, and everyone struggles with something. John was absolutely right. For the guy I pass by on the street who has the "perfect" hair, he is struggling with something. For the guy at the gym with the "perfect" physique, he has his own insecurities and struggles. Everyone struggles...everyone is fighting...something. The "perfection" that we see in other people is many times a mask for the same struggles and brokenness that we face every single day. #persepctive

I feel like this just barely scratched the surface on "perspective". I have a humbling story to share with you next time.


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