Don’t Be a Jerk

ImageA very good friend of mine recently posted this status to Facebook and I think it’s worth reposting here.  This is in response to another article but I do not think you need to read that to get her point here.  Have a read:

I’m not generally one to post articles on Facebook, but I have a lot of feelings about this. I would encourage my friends not to judge someone based on your PERCEPTION of who they are. As “well-intentioned” as this guy was (in quotes because I’m not 100% sure), he didn’t know that guy running laps. He had no idea what his story was or where he came from.

I’ve been there… though most of my Facebook friends never knew the 270-pound Lili. When I first started losing weight, I ran at 11 p.m. every night so nobody would see me. I lost 50 pounds before I even set foot in the gym so as to avoid any potential embarrassment if I didn’t know how to use a machine or if I could only do 10 minutes of cardio.

And then, one day, after I had lost 100 pounds, I realized that I didn’t give a sh** what anyone thought about me. They had no idea who I was or where I came from. I would sign up for races, finish in the back half, and be PROUD that I finished. Some people might look at me (even today, when I still finish in the back half) and feel bad for me. Don’t feel bad for me. They have no idea where I came from, and that I lost more than 100 pounds while in graduate school and working full-time (and have kept that weight off for more than four years). They don’t know that I’ve run two marathons and that I’m training for an IRONMAN.

During races, I try to make as many friends as I possibly can. I want to know their stories. I want to know where they came from. And the most inspiring people I’ve come across haven’t been the ones who have lost weight… they’ve been brain cancer survivors, a runner pushing his brother with cerebral palsy, an above-the-knee amputee.

Everyone has a story. Everyone is running their own race in life. When our paths cross, we don’t know if they’re at the beginning of that race, or near the finish line… and it’s not our job to know. It’s our job to learn their story and be POSITIVE and ENCOURAGING without making assumptions.

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