Lately my stories seem to happen when I'm walking. It's been quite a road, to say the least! But the road has been paved with wonderful lessons, and I'm looking forward to what is next.
As I finished up my three mile walk, I came upon one of my neighbors as I was heading back to my house to cool down. With sweat dripping from every pore on me, my neighbor decided she wanted to chat. I'm working on getting myself back into shape, but I certainly am still in the early stages where only I can notice the change. She started to talk about her knee and how it was bothering her, and then quickly segued into ranting about her husband. She was disgusted by him because he is overweight.
My first thought was, do you see who you're talking to? I'm literally a hot mess over here! I often take this walk with my husband, and he looks exactly the same as when he started, I look like I hosed myself down and painted my face bright red. I am not exaggerating in the slightest.
My second thought was, how could she speak of her husband this way? From my viewpoint, he is such a hard working man, very kind and loving towards his kids, always ready to help out a neighbor, and never speaks unkind of others.
I was unnerved as she continued to say how sloppily he dressed, how his belly was hanging out over his shirt, and how he refused to do anything to help himself. She went on and on and on. I felt the need to gently express the other side, because I have been heavy and thin, and heavy and thin again. I know how hard it is for some people to lose weight. I told her the things that I have gone through on my journey, but she was bent on being angry and critical. I told her I would pray for her husband. She rolled her eyes and said "Yeah, he needs prayer alright."
I left feeling upset and angry that she could speak of her husband like that. I felt righteous in my judgement of her judgement of her husband. Oh...wait a minute, am I'm judging too? But my judgment is accurate, right?
No it wasn't. I wish I could figure out all of these things right away, but honestly I am beginning to enjoy the lessons I am learning. I have been reading non-stop all summer. It has been a wonderful treat to myself to take the time to luxuriate in a good book. Most of what I read is of a spiritual nature, and I also love biographies. The book I am now reading is called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. It was recommended to me over a year ago. I bought it but never read it. Quite interesting that I picked this time to begin.
I always thought being codependent referred to those involved with alcoholics or drug abusers. It means so much more. It is anyone who has allowed someone else's problem to become their own, at the expense of taking care of their own needs. I specifically read about people who are in relationships with overeaters. It was amazing to have the judgement I had towards my neighbor revealed to me from an entirely new perspective. The situation impacts both of them.
I read that the codependent often seems angry, critical, hostile, manipulative, and controlling. Wow. Everything that I judged in my neighbor was as wrong as her judgement of her husband. As I read on, I understood more about her perspective, and my view of her "attitude" softened. I thought back about our conversation and I heard her words differently this time. She was worried about her husband, her kids, her life. She felt helpless and not in control of the situation.
I also understand myself better. I didn't realize I was being critical too, Now I notice quicker when I am judging someone, and I stop myself in my tracks and let it go. I am being gentler on myself too, I know I'm learning. And now I pray for them both.