This much I know: you can’t go through life with a clean slate.
If you can, then you’re Gandalf.
Listen: everyone messes up. We all have a past, a story, a tale, an untold scandal. And oftentimes, it’s totally unsexy, unconventional, and downright taboo.
And I’d be ignorant to say my life has been only rainbows and butterflies and flying ice cream cones with sparkles on top.
It hasn’t been.
For my entire existence, I vowed to show up in the world in my full authenticity, and take pride in who I was. Mistakes, victories, losses, fuck-ups, oh-shit moments…I take responsibility for it ALL. And I do it wholeheartedly.
It’s these oscillations that have provided my life with texture, adventure, and spontaneity. And I guess you can say there has never been a dull moment, which is good in my book.
But on the flip side, there’s a dark cloud to all of this: when people pass judgement, lack compassion for your story, and jump to conclusions of who you are.
This past week, I experienced this first-hand when one of my high school athletes combed through Google search to find a scandalous picture of me at a rave in Las Vegas.
Yeah. Oh, snap.
Let’s get to it: I was in a promiscuous outfit that made my female athletes drop their jaws. My stomach was showing, I was in bikini bottoms, rainbow fluffy boots, and apparently they referred to me as wearing “bandaids” over my nipples.
Alright, close. They were pasties. P-A-S-T-I-E-S. Get it right. ;-0
As much as I’d hoped they would brush it under the rug, they didn’t. They showed their parents, the boys teams of our club, and the coaches.
I went to the nearest bar and took jagerbombs. Then hunted the girls down with my Samurai sword.
Certainly, as a strength and conditioning coach and fitness professional, it’s never comforting to know your players have seen such a sexual photo of you and have passed it along for the masses to see. But hey, at least I looked hot and had a six pack.
And no, I won’t post the photo on here. If you have hours of spare time, I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere like my athletes did. And then you’ll land a job with the FBI.
So what’s the lesson learned?
Well, there’s a couple.
First and foremost, never confuse someone’s personal life with their professional life. Loving electronic dance music is a part of me, that’s no secret. But does it make me any less likely to do my job as coach? Any less likely to say what muscles externally rotate the hip? Or name the different force vectors in human biomechanics? Or write a 2,000 word post on unilateral strength exercises for soccer players? Or attend my athletes’ games on the weekends to support them? Methinks not.
Like every other human being on the planet, I’m just trying to have fun on my unique journey.
And sure, it’s human nature to find faults in people. Admittedly, I googled one of my college coaches only to find he got arrested for punching a referee. Yes, I was scared, but did that make him any less of a coach? Hell no. He, in fact, was the best coach I had throughout my 20-year playing career. Imagine that.
Or how about Abby Wambach who came clean about her issues with alcoholism and prescription drug abuse after she retired? But did she make an incredibly positive mark on women’s soccer forever and inspire millions? Absolutely.
Or how about Alex Morgan who posed in a body-painted bikini for Sports Illustrated? God damnit, no words. She looked hot as fuck.
Moral of the story: before you judge others, ask yourself if you know who they are at their core.
More importantly, have they made a positive impact on your life, despite their “unconventional” decisions? The answer is usually yes.
And I’d argue that everyoneeeeeeeeeeeeee has done something out of the ordinary. You got a clean slate? If you do, I’ll get a tattoo of a chickpea on my butt. I’m not confident or anything.
Jokes aside, we’re on Earth spinning around in the middle of the Universe simply trying to figure life out. Nude pictures, affairs, alcohol, drugs, divorces, you name it…it’s all going on. So stop acting surprised when someone ruffles some feathers once in a while. Planet Earth is one giant insane asylum with crazy people.
Ahhhhhhhhhh, it’s scary, yet comforting, right? ;-O
But Don’t We All Judge Others?
None of this is to say I’m a perfect snowflake and never pass judgement. I do.
It’s innate for us humans.
However, what I do differently is turn my judgement into compassion. This is compassion for their story, their current life situation, and any other crap going on that needs to be considered FIRST. Try to take a step back, bring things into perspective, and piece together what’s going on in everyone’s lives.
A few books I recommend on accepting others as they are:
Loving What Is – Byron Katie
Warrior Goddess Training – HeatherAsh Amara
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
These books provide insights on how to meet others with understanding and find solace in the human connection. I hope they help.
And last, I’ll leave you with a quote to evade you from judging others:
Don’t expect people to be perfect, when you aren’t even perfect yourself.