You’re guilty of it. I’m guilt of it. Let’s face it… For some reason it’s hard to resist looking into other people’s baskets and seeing their junk food filled carts and feeling like you are better than them because you have more vegetables than they have junk food. I get it. It’s a small self created sense of validation that you have made some good choices with your life. I get it. I’ve been there.
But, in the last six months or so I’ve made a commitment to stop cart judging others and I hope I can convince you to stop as well.
Not many of us in life have been blessed enough to lead a healthy life style with an abundance of healthy food, since day 1. More than likely, just like me, you’ve had your own cart full of processed food, sodas, and bread. Even though you may be, organic, vegan, paleo or whatever… You probably made some poor choices as to what to put in your cart a while back too. I remember all too well….
Next, I want you to understand that I am so proud of you for making a good lifestyle choice, no matter which one you choose. Good for you and your cart. You made good choices for you. But, no matter how good you are at making decisions for yourself, you can’t hold everyone’s hand through Wal-Mart and show them the ways of the force. You make decisions for you. That other person has to make decisions for them. They may not be at that point in life. They may never be. They definitely won’t if I’m over here yanking “All Natural” Cheetohs out of their shopping cart and throwing in coconut chips. They’re going to roll their eyes when I rant in the middle of the isle about guar gum in the coconut milk (sometimes the thoughts don’t stay in my head).
Also, what you’re doing is negative. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is. I think a crucial part to a healthy lifestyle, whether you’re doing it for weight loss or to heal, is creating a healthy, positive environment that is less stressful. Have you ever been really upset and felt how draining it is? Is it really worth it to drain your good energy (some of us that get what little precious energy our bodies will produce) with what someone else is doing? You’re not only sending a negative energy to your fellow shopper/neighbor but you’re giving yourself a dose of that negativity too. It’s not helping you or them. And that was my key break through! I am not helping them one little bit by judging what they’re putting in their cart.
Will opportunities come up where you can discuss this with those people? Sure! I’ve had it happen and it’s fun. I am AIP/Paleo and when people look at me crazy, I just break it down to, I don’t eat processed food and try to stick to anything without a package. I talk about how it’s helped me have more energy, cleared my skin, and helped my mental health as well. I’m still working on that scale, but I think most people understand that the weight struggle is real!
So what can you do to send a little kindness and compassion to our friends and neighbors who may have some really unhealthy foods in their cart, and you just want to jump up and down with neon signs saying, “Eat real food! Burn that nasty junk! It’s killing you!” (Please….don’t do that friends…It’s the point of my message today.)?
If you can’t help but look, try to look for something positive. Even just a bundle of bananas! And send them a mental note. Good for you and those 6 bananas! If there really isn’t anything good just say a little positive affirmation or prayer for them. You’re not there yet, but I’m routing for you to get there some day! Eventually, I know I was able to just quit looking all together. I started looking up at my friends and neighbors and I could see their smiles. (We’re awful friendly down here in the south.)
I want to end by encouraging you not to feel bad about judging others. It’s what we’re used to doing. We judge things based on our sense all of the time and it’s hard to decide when it is and isn’t appropriate because we’re always doing it. I’m guilty too! I just had to learn to redirect my thoughts so that I could do something silently positive for them (while hoping some day I can really do something for them) and I get something positive out of it by keeping a positive attitude about others.
Try this out the next time you’re at the store. I hope you’ll see that it’ll be a much more pleasant experience and eventually you’ll get to see those people are wonderful, normal people. They’re just not on the same road as you, and it’s perfectly all right to wave and say, “Howdy neighbor.”
So do us all a favor, yourself included. Stop judging what is in everyone’s carts. Stay positive for you and them. We all started this journey at different times and with different obstacles. A little kindness and compassion can go a long way.