When I was 19 years old, I owned a car, and sadly it definitely was not that sexy looking Mercedes in the picture. Now at some point, my car needed it’s brakes replaced and I couldn’t afford to take it into the shop, so I asked the father of a friend of mine to help me. I found out exactly which parts I needed to buy and once I had them, I went over to his house and parked in the garage. While he was working on the car, he tried to teach me as he went, taking great care and effort to show me what he was doing and get me to help and do some hands on learning. The problem is that I honestly didn’t care about cars at all, and didn’t want to learn.
While we worked on the car (well…I basically did nothing) he also took time to talk about me and my life. His daughter and I had been great friends for a few years, and he knew a decent amount about me but he was working on getting me to open up. He was quite good at it, but I was also still quite guarded at that point from a variety of things in my past. I blissfully ignored my problems and nobody ever mentioned anything about my weight and my size because that’s considered rude and taboo. Except that’s exactly what he started talking about. He was gentle and loving, but direct and blunt. He suggested some things that I could do to lose weight, and he warned me about possible health problems in the future. He suggested that I try a weight loss program and encouraged me to go a one of those free information sessions at a local weight loss clinic.
I agreed to go just to make the conversation stop. I just wanted him to shut up. I was so incredibly angry at him. How dare he talk to me about my weight, how dare he suggest that I need to change, how dare he interfere with my life. What gives anyone the right to say anything about my body? Well you know what?
I needed that tough love.
I am not sure when I actually realized it, but I eventually became grateful to him for that moment and those words that he said to me. Someone had to do it, and I am glad it was someone who truly had my best interest at heart. He means a lot to me and I will always be grateful for that painful conversation in his garage. He was honestly so loving and patient and kind. I was just too ignorant and defiant to listen and understand that he was trying to help me make a better future for myself. I wasn’t ready to hear the truth about how I was ruining my life.
I went to the weight loss clinic that he suggested and attended their one hour session. I hated every second of it. I felt humiliated and disgusted in myself and I was still quite angry at him. But I went. I think now that I needed that bit of humiliation and feeling of disgust. I needed his words. These things helped to plant a seed of change in my brain. Which you know….then took almost 3 years to actually act upon because I was still indignant. Now, I credit that conversation in the garage as being one of the key moments that helped me begin my weight loss journey.
There comes a time in life when we all need tough love. It could be for literally anything. Sometimes we need someone to speak up and say what’s on their mind. I hope that if someone ever does this to you (and for you), that they are kind and loving. It might be hard to see it as such, but try to open your eyes and see what the world sees.
It might just give you your life back.