Not everyone is going to be on your side. Not everyone is going to appreciate the time and effort you put in to getting better. Not everyone will see the distance you’ve traveled to get to where you are. Not everyone will recognize the work you are still doing to move forward on your journey.
In fact, there will be times when you may be criticized for your efforts. Times when your work towards self improvement will be seen as selfish. Times when you will be considered obsessed. Times when in the eyes of others you have gone too far, gotten too lean, or too big, or too involved. There will come times when the things you want most won’t match what others want for you or who they think you should be.
All that is OK. You get to choose which voices have a vote as to determining your actions. You get to decide who knows and cares enough about you to not get filtered out. Only YOU get to be you! You will never make everyone happy. You will never be who everyone else wants you to be. You must also not forget that it will never be your job or responsibility to do so!
Being different than others will often make you a target. That includes being more fit, or even following a fitness lifestyle. You are on your way to doing something that many have failed at. Instead of trying again in a different or better way, some will allow your efforts to trigger their own dissatisfaction. How dare you do what they could not? How dare you look the way they want to look but don’t? How dare you go further than they needed to go but didn’t? Your efforts and success is a reminder to them of things they would rather forget.
Sometimes this will lead to criticism and harsh statements directed at you. Understand that the issues they are having are within themselves and about their own lives. Don’t take it personally or allow it to deter you. Don’t feel the need to strike back or slow down. Recognize that if they are able to get past the self hatred, you may even serve as a source of inspiration or motivation for them. Encourage them to be who they want to be, while politely reminding them that you are on the path and going in the direction you wish.
Climbing a mountain is hard. It can’t be done carrying others on your back or dragging them behind you. But if you stay focused and determined, you will create a path for others just as those before have created one for you. With each step you take, the negative voices will fade further behind. They will always be there, but harder to hear and easy to recognize as mere voices from a distance. Your internal voice will continue to grow stronger and drive you to the places you want to be. That voice may even become loud enough for others to listen to and even follow if they choose. But at the very least it will become strong enough to drown out the negative ones. In time, the only response detractors will be able to elicit from you will be the smile of someone who knows something that they haven’t figured out yet.
Photo: Terry Goodlad Model: Heather Mae Sosias