"My 600 Pound Life"
We humans are captivated by extremes. I was listening to the account of an accident in Delaware that claimed the lives of five of six members of a Teaneck family, the Trinidads. The mother wasn’t killed, but has in store the horror of dealing with the deaths of her husband and four daughters. This was on the news because it’s an extreme, and aside from eliciting tremendous compassion, it captivates attention. It seems that media exploit these extremes for profit motive at times. Everyone slows down at the scene of an accident to grab a peek and maybe feel lucky that it isn’t them.
The reality shows on TV exploit a similar motive. “My 600 Pound Life” is a show that features individuals whose primary coping strategy is food consumption. Lacking adequate coping strategies, these folks are generally bed-ridden and in an extreme state of ill health, yet continue to helplessly eat and eat some more.
It’s easy to judge destructive behavior, but when you look deeper, these are generally individuals who have been abused and traumatized without methods of processing emotional issues. Burying hurt beneath primitive methods of eliciting comfort will lead to the hurt manifesting in destructive ways.
Although we aren’t all 600 pounds, most of us have habits that impede growth. We derive comfort from familiar patterns and are resistant to trying something different. Fortunately, most of us aren’t in dire health situations (yet), but addicts of all types will eventually need to self-examine and move past self-destructive behavior.
Rather than fueling “I’m glad that’s not me,” individuals facing terrible situations can motivate us to discern alternatives to mindless self-indulgence. Terrible accidents can remind us that we are wielding thousands of pounds of steel at our command. Extreme addiction can highlight our tendency to bury pain. There is no place for arrogance and distancing from such situations because they are reflective of themes that can touch all of us in different ways.
Being human poses us with daily challenges. Whether or not these challenges are handled successfully, each of us is worthy of compassion. Compassion starts with self-awareness and humility.
With love, Rosanne