I’m a little less body-miserable these past few days. Maybe it’s because, with weigh day behind me for the rest of the month, I put my body hatred it in its compartment. Maybe it’s because I have hope that by next weigh day, my metabolism will have started regulating itself again, and I will start losing this weight I have gained. Or maybe it’s starting to seep in that I am not, in fact, grotesquely fat in this body, and that I can have some peace if I can surrender to it being what it is. (That last one’s a stretch, but I believe in miracles.)
My big issue this week is how aware I am of people giving me unsolicited opinions and advice. And how offensive I find it. And how aggressive it makes me feel. (Not act…Ok, maybe a little. But I have managed to keep my clever and cruel remarks to myself.)
There is a saying I love. “If you want what I have, do what I do.”
I keep hearing from people who do not have what I want.
For example, I do not want health and lifestyle advice from a morbidly obese girl more than 10 years my junior.
I do not want to be told that my quitting smoking is “really for the best” by a woman I never see smile. And who looks something between bored and disgusted. Always.
I am glad that I quit smoking. For all of the pain that has come with it, there has been a new clarity and a deeper level of self-love, self-awareness, and self-confidence. I love that, even though it has not been an easy six months. But I don’t want other people telling me what is best for me. I like to decide that for myself.
And today, I can. When I got control of my food, I stopped doubting myself. I could trust my eyes and ears. I could trust my thoughts. I could trust my assessment of situations. I stopped wondering if I had it all wrong and was doing it all wrong.
And another thing I lost when I got control of the food, was the need to get it all right. (Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There are still things that I get very angry at myself for getting wrong.) But every day that I don’t eat compulsively, I have a lot more room for my humanity. And for everybody else’s.
And even one more thing is that I stopped feeling the need to give other people advice. I stopped needing to show that I had all the answers. That I was so smart. I started to understand the value of minding my own business! Who knew!?!? (By the way, I had zero answers when I was eating all the time. I sure hope nobody was actually taking the advice I kept forcing on people…Oh well. Too late now…)
So why am I so upset with people giving me their unsolicited opinions and advice? Why can’t I have room for their judgment? Why can’t I let it roll off my back?
I think because cigarettes were how I numbed the feeling that other people didn’t like me. Didn’t approve of me. Didn’t think I was doing it right or well. Didn’t think I was good enough. Being judged hurt. And cigarettes made that pain go away. It was a kind of manufactured indifference.
But now I have to acquire a new coping mechanism. And I don’t think I want it to include indifference. But I don’t want to own someone else’s judgment of me either. I need to figure out what that’s going to look like. Because I don’t know.
What I do know is that I don’t want to judge those who judge me for judging. I want to acknowledge their right to have thoughts and opinions about me and my actions. And know that those thoughts and opinions are none of my business. Even if they insist on telling me. I want to have room for their humanity, whether their words come from love or spite. I want to be protected by my confidence and personal sense of security. I want to learn to love my fellow human beings. Not because they deserve it. Because I do.
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