#ProgressNotPerfection. We all know this, yet many of us still accidentally fall into believing we need to be perfect.

I enjoy seeing #yogaprogress pictures on Instagram, along with #healthjourney, #fitnessjourney, and whatever other journey or progress people are doing. The beauty of social media is seeing others reveal their raw and authentic selves and how they’ve progressed throughout the days, months, and years, as opposed to just the fancy pictures. But of course, among those who are genuine and sincere are those who have forgotten where they came from.

What prompted me to write this piece is from a meme I saw a while back. It was a picture of a heavy-set man on a stair machine with the caption along the lines of, “You can’t make fun of someone who tries.” Most of the comments that I saw were positive, and of course there were some that were negative. I couldn’t help but think how often this happens: people who have “achieved” a certain fitness/health goal or “advanced” in their yoga practice suddenly think they are above and beyond all others who try to improve their lives.

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about two years ago. I created an Instagram page to initially document my daily food, exercise, and blood sugar readings. I connected with other people who have diabetes – prediabetes, type 1, type 1.5, type 2, gestational diabetes, young, old, fit, not fit, parents of children with diabetes – you name it. It was so awesome to connect with those who understand what is really going on with us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Eventually, I started participating in yoga challenges because I became consistent with my practice shortly after my diagnosis.

Both the online diabetes and online yoga community have been super supportive for the most part. It’s really exciting every time I got a positive comment or a helpful tip. And then there are those that leave me scratching my head, wondering who asked for their unsolicited opinions:

“Lol no one wants to listen to our [usually fad] diet tips, they just want to continue taking their medicine.”
“If people just stop being lazy, they’d be fit already.”
“All that exercise and dieting and they still look the same.”
“This method worked for me so if you just do it too, you’ll really lose the weight.”

Basically the overall hidden message is really: “I worked hard to get to where I am, but you’re not working hard enough because you’re not using my methods and you’re not where I’m at.”

I applaud hard work, I really do. I am inspired by people’s progress all the time. But once we reach a certain goal, who are we to look down on those who haven’t reach theirs yet? What gives us the right to all of a sudden create an “us versus them” when it comes to our personal journeys, whatever that may be? How do we just get amnesia and forget that once upon a time, we also struggled to get to where we are? And that while we were struggling, there were some people who were negative towards our journey…so why would we do the same to others? As yogis and non-yogis alike, I think this is where mindfulness would be really helpful. I encourage you all to think before giving unsolicited advice or opinion and ask yourself if the tip you’re giving is actually beneficial for that person. But most importantly, remember that you too, has struggled in one form or another, so just remember to have empathy and compassion to those who are still struggling with whatever journey they are pursuing.

Thoughts, Bad Yogis?