Self-acceptance is a powerful thing.

By Faith Brar
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In the fitness and wellness space, you're so often told to accept yourself as you are, and that it's important to embrace the skin you're in. Easier said than done right? Author Jen Pastiloff is here to tell you otherwise. (Related: How Self-Care Is Carving a Place In the Fitness Industry)

Pastiloff, who is also a yoga teacher, suffers from extreme hearing loss. And in a recent Instagram post, she talked about how she defines silence. "I always thought I had deafening silence when my hearing aids aren't in my ears," she wrote. "But then I realized: I've never experienced silence."

Pastiloff suffers from tinnitus, or as she says, "a ringing, whirling, whooshing, and hush sound" that's in her ears all the time. It affects one in five people and is usually a result of an underlying problem such as an ear injury, age-related hearing loss, or a series of circulatory disorders. It's unclear what caused the symptom for Pastiloff.

"It's never quiet," she explains. "I never do NOT hear it. It's maddening. Yes, sometimes it makes me want to cry. When it's been at its worst, during my dark depression, I wanted to die. So-to me-that's silence." (Related: Blogger Shares One Easy Way to Stop Body-Shaming Yourself)

But as we know, that's not how most people would define silence. "I forget that's not other people's silence," wrote Pastiloff. "My epiphany is not that I lied when I said it's deafening silence without my hearing aids, it's that I've always thought that's what silence was. That hum I always have in my head. So if silence is different for me than it is for you, what else is different? What else am I so sure of? What else am I positive is THE WAY IT IS?"

What a compelling argument. The current state of the world is one with societal beliefs on how you should look, what you should feel, and how you should react. It's easy to think that this is the irrefutable, unbiased, singular truth, when in fact every person's beliefs and truths are unique to themselves. No one person's reality is the same as someone else's. (P.S. You Can Love Your Body and Still Want to Change It)

As Pastiloff explains: "All this time I took for granted what silence meant when I've never truly experienced it. Or maybe that IS my silence? Who is to say? Isn't it astounding how we never know what someone else's experience is? Not fully, anyway."

Let Pastiloff's lightbulb moment remind you to think twice before judging others, and more importantly yourself. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong-only different-all of which is worth accepting.

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