I recently read on a friend’s Facebook status about how she and her friend were a target of bullying due to their size. Now, being the girl who was overweight for most of her life and being the girl who was bullied for most of her life for being overweight, this one really struck a nerve.
I understand that sometimes kids say hurtful things. I understand that sometimes kids don’t realize the consequences of their actions. But we are not talking about kids here. We are talking about grown adults. Adults who KNOW how bad words can hurt. Adults who know better than to cut someone down and to even dare to do it publicly!
Is it the veil of social media that is making us so brave as to attack people without thought of consequence? If we were standing face to face would the same words still be spoken? Words hurt no matter what medium you use to convey them. And I’m appalled at the frequency that this happens.
I realize that a lot of us are starting to get into a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps you’re excited about how you feel. I know I am! But you can’t push others to do things because you love them. I came to the decision to change my life on MY terms. Not somebody else’s. I’ve always wondered if the person spewing these hurtful messages thinks that it will in fact set their target on a better path? I was bullied and called names for years. Did it help me move quicker to a path of healthy living? Absolutely not. Did it motivate me? Not a chance. It made me feel ashamed, it made me feel unworthy, it made me feel unloved, but never once did it make me feel motivated. You absolutely cannot shame someone into a healthier lifestyle. So all those little comments with the helpful advice like “well why don’t you lose some weight?”, “If you lost weight it wouldn’t be an issue”, or my favourite gem from the high metabolism chicks eating cupcakes and burgers on a regular basis: “go eat an apple”. Yeah, not helpful.
This particular bully that started this post decided to make a few attacks. One little zinger was that this friend was not setting a good example for her children because of her size. Them’s fightin’ words! While I do believe it’s important to set an example of a healthy lifestyle for our kids. And I’m so glad that my family can do healthy active things together, I also realize that this is not the one and only way to set an example for your children. You can have the most active and healthy family in the world and still treat people like garbage. What kind of an example is that? If you’re going to raise children to believe that it’s ok to verbally attack and to not respect other people then you might as well be feeding them McD’s daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the amount of good you are doing them.
Some people have it easy. Some people have never had to think about every single food they ingest in order to stay at a healthy weight. Some people have naturally high metabolisms. Some people have just always had the drive, determination and self-control to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am envious of those people. I truly hope they realize how fortunate they are to not have to worry about this area of their life. But not everyone is so fortunate. Some of us have to work every single day to get where we are.
We ALL have areas in our life that need work. Some are outward, but the much bigger problems are the ones you can’t see. Just because you can see a “fixable” area in someone’s life does not make it yours to fix. You have no idea what is going on in their life. You have no idea what they’ve tried. You have no idea what kind of a person they are inside. So perhaps take some time to truly get to know a person before you are so quick to judge them for the skin they are in.
Nobody is perfect. Nobody has it all together. We all have different goals and different priorities. Just because it’s right for you, right now, does not mean it’s true for someone else. We are all running our own race. So stop tripping people in your path and remember that we are all just trying to set our own personal best.