When having high standards doesn’t work.
One of the biggest pivot moments of my life came when I decided to become a listening volunteer for Samaritans, a charity providing emotional support to anyone who is struggling to cope, perhaps at risk of suicide.
When you have agency, when you have had the incredible good fortune of being born into a decent family who loves, protects, shelters, clothes and educates you, when you are PRIVILEDGED, you think you know it all.
And that any personal issues can be easily overcome just by setting goals, being disciplined and Just. Frickin. Do It.
How quickly was I knocked off my high horse.
There are so many things I had never encountered or experienced in my life, in my safe, cozy, middle class upbringing.
As a volunteer listener for Samaritans, I came in contact with people who have suffered much – abuse, neglect, loss, illness, disability or trauma.
You can’t tell someone who’s anxious about their weight to just lay off the food.
What if there is childhood trauma and complex family dynamics at play?
But what if you’ve grown up being beaten to an inch of your life by your father, and your mum, who isn’t able to stop him, can only offer you comfort by feeding you your favourite food in secrecy afterwards.
What if that was the way you have coped for so many years?
I don’t know your story.
My standards work for me, and I should not impose them on you.
And for me to presume to know, makes me a fool.