I feel like there’s kind of a stigma when it comes to physical fitness…it being that either you’re all in or all out.

And unfortunately, both of those extremes often receive the brunt of criticism.

If you’re super into working out and being in shape, then you must not have your priorities in line because you are clearly putting exercise and looking good ahead of more important things, like the needs of your family.

If you hate working out and pretty much never do it, then you are lazy and you’re putting your own selfish desires and comforts above the needs of yourself and thus, your family as well…

Um, excuse me teacher? (Hand raised in the air…)

Since when did we get the right or even the responsibility to assume the priorities of others and/or dictate what they should or shouldn’t do in terms of maintaining their own health???

As a member of the Christian faith, I could offer up the really obvious, Sunday school answer that while I don’t believe we ever gained that right, the occurrence of such self-righteousness began with the downfall of humanity and the entrance of Sin into the world…

And that’s not wrong, but it still doesn’t excuse this line of thinking.

And I am every bit as guilty of this as the next person.

I judge a person based on what it looks like they do with their lives via their posts on Facebook or Instagram, or what have you.

But the fact remains that that is still only a small picture of the life any given person lives (or at least I really hope it is, because I am starting to be really concerned that the vast majority of people are increasingly living their lives in the virtual world...case-in-point for the “guilty” comment above), and may not actually be an accurate or even semi-accurate reflection of what that person is like in real life.

Take this post, for example.

Yea, I am typing this, and these are my words, but this is not really remotely depictive of how I speak in real life. In real life, I actually don’t speak that much. Like, I probably don’t even say this many words in a single average day. That would just be uncharacteristic.

But honestly, you may not have guessed that based on my blog posts and social media activity. And that’s kind of my point.

Maybe it’s the “marketing degree” part of my brain, but I can’t help recognize, and remind myself, that social media is fraught with hyperbole, metaphor, and other manners of presentation that are there for a shock-and-awe effect. Without actually getting to know someone in person, you probably aren’t really going to know much about who they really are or where exactly on the vast spectrums of values and beliefs their priorities lie.

We don’t know them. We don’t know their hearts. Not really.

So who are we to judge? Furthermore, are we (probably, most likely) guilty of the same sort of misleading conduct?

I think this is especially true of millenials (people my age, I guess) and probably those in the realm of online business (largely because you can’t really do business without marketing and you can’t really do marketing without “making a statement”...that’s kind of the point of marketing).

And as frustrating as it is, I think it’s just kind of something to keep in mind. And something to be prepared to have a lot of grace toward. Maybe not understanding, but definitely grace. Not necessarily acceptance, but grace.

My sister and I have undoubtedly been very frustrated with the fitness industry and the direction it has gone in trying to sell products to people by playing off of their insecurities regarding their physical appearances (and that in comparison to the physique of others). But I think that at times, we (and I mostly mean “I”) have aimed that frustration at individuals within the fitness industry, without taking into consideration the fact that what we see may not be all there is to the story.

Nobody should ever have to feel judged for wanting to be in control of and take action to improve their own health.

But I am afraid that I have, at times, made people feel that way. That’s just not right. And it doesn’t make me feel good.

Truth be told. Health and physical fitness is a huge priority in my life. I like to workout, and I like to be methodical in that (I do, in fact, have a workout calendar...one that I sometimes don’t really follow all that well). And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just as there is really nothing wrong with having a minimalistic approach to working out.

Because here is the deal: who knows more about your health and wellness needs than you? Maybe you need to be really methodical and organized. Maybe you need to be relaxed and flexible in your daily priorities. You know best where you find rest (HELLO new daily mantra!!!).

You know the you that nobody sees.

So don’t let me, or anyone else, rain on that parade. EVER.