Out of the mouth of babes…
American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson has had a very difficult and trying past few days, to say the least.
As most of you know, Richardson tested positive for marijuana and she accepted a one-month suspicion handed out by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that will, in essence, bar her from running signature event, the 100-meter dash, at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Nonetheless, Richardson has accepted full responsibility for her actions and breaking the rules. She’s not making excuses—although the impetus to her smoking was influenced by discovering that her biological mother had died—and has not gone on record to suggest that she is seeking some waiver. Instead, in the midst of support and high criticism, this 21-year-old woman had this to say:
Don’t judge me because I am human. I’m you. I just run a little faster.
A little faster? That’s a joke. She’s been leaving everyone in her dust in her event and currently has the world’s record for the 100-meter dash. She’s a shoo-in for a Gold Medal but unfortunately won’t have that opportunity in the upcoming Olympics.
However, for the sake of this blog, I’d like to zone in and isolate a couple of words in this quote—“I’m you.”
Think about that for a second. She said, “I’m you.”
If you don’t mind, I will preach for a second and then make my point about relationships.
In the Bible, and most specifically in the New Testament in the book of Galatians, the sixth chapter and verse one reads: Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
Here’s another way of saying it: Bring the same level of grace to people when they are down, make a mistake, or when they are not at their best that you would want if you were in the same or similar situation. Because truth be told, you’ve done some stanky stuff that we don’t know about (yet), or you have been exposed and forgiven.
I’ll stop preaching now and will commence my thoughts of how this pertains to relationships.
I often hear people talk about other folks’ suitability for a relationship, and it’s pretty laughable. Don’t get me wrong—some of us are in a worse place than others in terms of potential relationship preparedness. But though there are men and women who, on paper, and the optics of them, appear to be amazing discoveries for marriage, the truth is that we all have some issues and issues that we are not proud of. I mean, right now. Not a past situation—I and referring to this moment. That is to say, whoever you are reading this blog, that whatever “that” is, if it were known on a first date, 9 times out of 10, we would be rejected by the interested party.
I am merely suggesting that we have to stop assigning perfection to people. Everyone has baggage, and everyone has issues. Everyone has quirks, and everyone has stuff that they will take to their grave.
When Sha’Carri Richardson said, “I’m You,” she’s no different than any of us. Though her blunder caused her a chance to compete in the Olympics, we’ve all dropped the ball on something when the stakes were high. All of us have. And from the outside looking in, we’d react as if that person was so dumb to fall prey to the trap that ensnared them. But the truth is that we have all stuck out swinging at the underhand thrown beach ball—and still missed it.
This is not an endorsement for people’s ongoing bad behavior but rather a gut check that we all need to make when getting to know the opposite sex for a relationship and definitely life partner. Instead of listening to their history with an ear of criticism, why not ask, “So how has your life experiences shaped who you are today?”
In closing, I just want to clarify that this is not an endorsement for Sha’Carri Richardson to smoke weed, nor am I critical of the punishment. Instead, I am providing commentary in response to those who have unleashed a disproportionate amount of unfair and insensitive thoughts regarding her situation—as if those who are being critical haven’t made bad choices.
Do you want to know the secret sauce to an amazing relationship? Being 100 percent vulnerable with the person you’re with without concern will be rejected for your imperfections. Just recalibrate your criticism dial to zero and always look at people in the same light as your own imperfections.
Because, at the end of the day, the only true difference between you and Sha’Carri Richardson is that she runs faster than you.
Picture Courtesy of Dreamstime