My husband is a tall, rugged white man. People look at him and assume that he played football, not just in high school, but college. Sometimes they assume he was pro.
Those assumptions don’t stigmatize him, but that’s because he’s pretty lucky.
We aren’t all that lucky all the time.
But it’s important to look beyond people’s outsides and not make assumptions or to give advice like it’s absolute edicts. We all live in slightly different bubbles with different backgrounds and sometimes those worlds aren’t going to jive or mesh or even make sense.
When I was talking to him about some editing work I was doing on a self-help book, he looked at me and asked, “It must be nice for these people to be able to have the time and money to run off to a yoga or meditation retreat for three weeks.”
“I know, right?”
“Does this person think everyone can do this?”
Both of us come from poor even though we aren’t poor now. Our parents were hard-working and our mothers were mostly single, but they didn’t have the ability to move beyond their economic brackets. His mom was derailed by lupus. Mine was derailed by diabetes and some bad decisions.
The point is that both of them would have loved to have spa days and meditation and yoga retreats, chances to pamper their minds and bodies. But they were too busy surviving to find the money to spend on that.
There are a lot of people posting Medium articles and blogs about how to balance work and life. They are often written by single guys in their late twenties. And it seems like they have it all figured out.
And I hope that they do because that would be wonderful for them.
But here’s the thing: Nobody else’s journey and circumstances are going to 100 percent work for you.
Here’s another thing: Even your own methods and journey aren’t going to work for you 100 percent of the time.
There’s no one path to love, to happiness, to success, or even to publishing a book, let alone writing it. There’s no one way that we are supposed to be. You’ve got to embrace that, embrace who you are and persevere.
Loving yourself and loving your way through it has a lot to do with forgiveness, but it’s okay to sometimes struggle with the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s about forgiving yourself or other people.
It’s really good to try not to force other people to prescribe to your timetables about forgiveness. We all move at different speeds. That’s okay. We need to give ourselves and other people the space to determine their own damn pace.
It’s important for us all to remember that our advice might not work for everyone and give space to our assumptions that it will. Not everyone who looks like a football player was a football player. Not everyone can practice self-care via a three-week meditation retreat. It’s okay. We are all okay.
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