“We went to meet a friend’s new baby. She was a few months old and we brought a meal and some goodies for them in an attempt to lessen the load a new baby can bring. I walked in the door of their beautiful, suburban dream house, arms loaded with bags and children and I looked up to see a woman whose body would’ve made Heidi Klum look like a hobo. She was so thin, she looked tired as you would expect but there wasn’t an ounce of baby weight left on her barely a few months postpartum. Here I was, my youngest a toddler and I am still not in perfect shape.
I smiled and carried on, but I instantly judged myself.
I know it’s stupid and shallow, but I did. Instead of congratulating myself on successfully getting healthy after my three boys, instead of realizing we’re not all made alike, instead of any one of the things I would preach to another woman, I judged myself. Harshly. I am still ashamed of it.
Then this past week I found out the devastating news that she is in jail and has permanently lost custody because she’s an addict. Crystal meth. Which if you don’t know, makes you thin. I cried for their family. I cried for what this means for the daughter. I cried for the woman facing years in prison battling an addiction most never overcome.
I also learned something. I learned to never judge myself based on what I can see of others. It’s something I’ve always known but I’ve never been slapped so hard in the face with it. What if instead of being wrapped up in my own size 10 self-loathing I’d seen past her mask and been able to help her before it got out of control? What if I hadn’t internalized someone else’s apparent truth? What I had paid more attention to her than how I was feeling? What if I had seen her, really seen her?
Her story isn’t about me, but I learned a valuable lesson. I still feel like an idiot but I’m an idiot one lesson smarter. Learn from my mistake.
Don’t judge yourself by the metric of another person. You have no idea what their truth really is. It is not your place to draw conclusions. It IS your place to lift others up. It IS your place to check in with the people around you and allow judgement free space for them to unpack whatever they are carrying. It IS your place to love, and to love well.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Bryant, 31, of North Caroina. Follow Katie on Instagram here. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.
Read more from Katie here:
‘Mommy! I have to pee pee now!’ I was washing my face so I can’t open my eyes. He’s screaming.’: Woman hilariously recalls getting peed on by her son before annual physical at doctor
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