Last evening, I went to a wellness workshop. This workshop was the first of its kind to be held in our city, Dhaka (Bangladesh) and naturally, I was curious to see what it had to offer. Although the workshop turned out to be different from what I had expected, I had an eye-opening experience that has compelled me to be here and write about it.
I was fortunate to share a table with two wonderful people who opened up to me about their struggles with weight loss. Between the three of us, we discussed a lot of things, but mostly we talked about community support in our city when someone is trying to make a change in their lifestyle. Imagine the irony when I had a case in point right there and then, in the middle of the workshop itself.
During the comments/question session, a fellow attendee stood up and shared about her struggles with obesity and lack of time, motivation and mind-set to make a change. Although I have not struggled with over-weight or obesity myself, prior to embracing Minimalism, I was somewhere similar- in a very dark place without any motivation to move forward for the better; being in such a state can be excruciatingly painful particularly because we all know what we should be doing but somehow are unable to do so. What is more difficult is to actually come in terms with our situation and talk openly about it in a room full of strangers. I salute her, for her courage, for being able to take that step because I feel, as uncomfortable as that can be, that is the very first step towards a change.
After her, there were others who stood up and shared their experiences or thoughts. There was a lady in her 50s and trust me when I say, she did not look her age, not even a day of it! It was wonderfully inspiring to hear how she has been maintaining a clean eating habit over many years and how she always wear runner shoes and is ready for a walk.
I can’t exactly recall how the shift happened but suddenly the lady in her 50s started directing her comments towards the first fellow attendee. She started saying how it was such a simple thing to do, how she has been doing it for years and how it should not be a problem at all for the fellow attendee struggling with weight loss.
Let’s just stop right there.
Because that is exactly why I am writing today.
Let us take a step back and consider this instead:
“To Each, Her Own”
Every single human being on earth is on a unique journey of his or her own. For some people, it comes naturally to make a change in their mind-set and subsequently their lifestyle but for others the struggle is real, long, depressing and even painful. We are all made differently and we have our own system of dealing through the problems and struggles in our life. Surely, we are all impressionable beings and draw inspiration from others but we can only do that in our own way and in our own terms.
I am sure the elderly lady meant no harm and in her own way was trying to “inspire” the first fellow attendee. Infact, I see a lot of people try to do just that these days. “Hey I got over my break-up in a month, you should too!” or ” I lost 10 pounds just by walking, you should too!”. It is one thing to share our success story and a completely different ball game to motivate or inspire others. Let’s not mix up the two, the outcome is terrible to taste.
By all means, share your success story and be proud of it. I have nothing against that. In fact, I encourage it. Like many others, I myself draw inspiration from others’ successes; but to think what worked for us will work for someone else in the exact same way is unfair, even incorrect. We try to impose our solutions to others’ problems and that’s exactly where we need a change of perception.
Instead, let’s try to be respectful of others’ sorrows, heart breaks and battles. We are all different and have different coping mechanisms. I know we mean to help but to impose our lessons learnt on others without considering the person and his or her situation cannot be the way to do so. We actually end up doing more harm than help in the process.
Let’s not be only mindful of ourselves. Let us also be mindful of others.
Next time if we find a near one troubled, instead of giving him or her our two cents of wisdom, let’s take that person out for a walk. Explore the new bookstores and book cafes that is dotting our Dhaka city at present. Try the variety of pithas or teas around the TSC campus. Go to a photo exhibition, watch a musical or even a play; and then, if he or she seems up for it, drop our two cents but with respect, “I am sorry you are suffering and I want you to know I am here to help. I found some benefits following certain advises when I was in a similar situation and if you are up for it, I can share them with you” :).
IMAGE DETAILS: TITLE: JOURNEY THROUGH PARADISE (KASHMIR) LOCATION: ROAD BETWEEN SRINAGAR AND PAHALGAM