When I’ve told the tale of my weight-loss journey here on the site, to this point, I tend to stick to the highlights. When the story stretches over half a decade, there are long periods of time where it’s just about keeping your head down and plowing through. With Valentine’s Day today, I felt compelled to share with you one of the most important lessons I learned on my road because, well, it’s a love story.
My tipping point… my rock bottom moment… my epiphany came in the form a picture (which I’ll share again with this post). In my house, it’s come to be lovingly known by a few different names:
- “My Teacup Runneth Over”
- “The Fat That Launched 1,000 Sit-ups”
- “Hot Tea or Hot Jabba”
Everyone’s moment is different. For me, the juxtaposition of a young man killing himself with the two things most worth living for was what I needed to get me started on the path back to health.
When I tell the Cliff’s Notes version of the story, that’s where I tend to fast forward for the first time. The way I tell it most times, I see the picture and, the next thing you know, I’m sporting a headband and leg warmers on my way to the first 5K. Though the commitment started right away, that’s the nickel version of the story. The first step was a little trickier… and it seems appropriate today.
After seeing the man in the cup, I probably spent a good two weeks angry at everyone I loved and who loved me. And not passively angry, stewing in a cocktail of self-pity and disappointment. I was mad. I was wrong. But, I was mad. And I called them on it…
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me it had gotten this bad?”
I cornered everyone who meant anything to me. The Wife. Family. Friends. Co-Workers. Anyone who, even with my low self-esteem, I felt legitimately cared about me… I pressed.
“Did you not see it? Did you not know how bad this was?”
What a jerk. How selfish of me to put this on other people?
Their answers were fair, but, as I’d later realize, they weren’t honest. They just saw Clay… they never saw THAT. They assumed I was healthy. I wasn’t hobbled or taking the Rascal Scooter at the grocery store, so how bad could it be? They figured that I was a smart enough guy to not do something that would put myself in danger. They figured I had this.
That right thing to say at that time… but it wasn’t the truth. They told me those things then for the same reason that they didn’t grab me by my fat face and scream “what are you doing!?!??!?!”
Because they loved me.
Because they loved me too much to say something.
Because they loved me too much to hurt me…even though it might help save me.
Their hearts were in the right place… but the same heart lead them to the wrong decision.
I’ve done it too. You’ve done it. Though human nature is to help… the stronger instinct is NOT to hurt.
We watch people we love hurt themselves all the time. We watch people we love turn away. We watch people we love get broken. We sit back passively and wait until they figure it out… then we love them through the pain.
That’s not good enough.
It took me going through this journey to realize that that’s not good enough.
You’ve got to love them enough to tell them now.
You’ve got to love them enough to open their eyes.
You’ve got to love them enough to show that you’d rather them be mad at you… but happy with life.
There are so many things in this world that we all struggle with every day. Health. Relationships. Drugs. Alcohol. Faith. Career. Whatever the vice or the struggle, the people we love deserve someone in their lives to hurt them…to help them. We all deserve that kind of love.
The path won’t be easy… but the question is simple…
Do you love them enough?