True story: the other night, I got super upset with my husband. He had shared something to Facebook that I felt went against everything that I believe in. Before I even watched this video, I had decided that it was, without a doubt, super diet-culture-y, body-shaming, and just plain wrong.
“WTF IS THIS? “, I demanded.
To me, it felt like the ultimate betrayal. I’m over here trying to preach the gospel of body acceptance. Meanwhile he’s spreading the sort of messages that caused me to spend most of my teens and 20’s obsessed with doing calorie math. (I HATE math btw).
Then, he made a good point. I had formed the opinion that I didn’t like this video, or the person who filmed it, before I even took the time to watch it.
How can I expect people to read my blog, and give my ideas a chance, if I don’t give others the same benefit of the doubt?
TRUTH BOMB. Ouch. He wasn’t wrong.
Over the past few months, I’ve been very consistent about sharing my own opinions online. I’ve shared a lot of things that are hard to say, but need to be said. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, which is super rewarding.
On the flip side, I know that there are plenty of people out there who disagree with me. Even if they haven’t given me direct feedback via comments, I can be pretty certain that anyone who loves their Fitbit, engages in fat or food shaming, sells weight loss, or regularly uses #fitspo as inspiration, is going to have a bone to pick with me.
I am also pretty sure that there are a lot of people who think that I am doing body positivity wrong before I even open mouth–simply based on how I look and what I do for a living. This is an ongoing internal battle for me, and sometimes makes me question my choice to blog in the first place. In spite of all this, there are a few things I like to remind myself when I find my views in conflict with someone else’s.
4 Truths To Remind Yourself Before You Get Mad At Someone (On the Internet or In Real Life):
1.EVERYONE HAS A STORY.
Your story is going to dictate the way you view the world. Our stories are constantly evolving too. I can now look back at my methods of coaching people in Boot Camp programs a few years back and cringe. I had some pretty self-righteous views on carbs, people who drank pop, and people who called pop soda. 😉 Over the years, my life experience changed, the plot of my story developed, and with that, so did my views and opinions. They are evolving and changing every single day, and so are yours! When I find myself wanting to get into a debate with someone in the comments section, or even just encounter a “difficult” person in real life, I remind myself of the next point:
2.YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.
In a society where the media is constantly throwing us subtle messages that we aren’t good enough, it’s hard to even imagine that there could be a different way. Why wouldn’t we be hyper-concerned about what we are cooking our kale in, when yesterday’s “superfood” is today’s “death sentence”? My husband is a white male who has, to my knowledge, never been on a diet. How can I expect him to automatically see how harmful these messages are to women if he hasn’t directly experienced it? That dietician whose post he shared–he is just repeating what he learned in school, trying to help people the best way he knows how. The girl who wants to shout at the computer screen that MESSAGES LIKE THESE ARE THE REASON SHE’S HAD ISSUES HER WHOLE LIFE?! Well that’s just me, and you can read my story here if you want. But here’s the thing:
3. LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION TO SEE WHO CAN BE THE MOST “WOKE“.
There’s so much arguing on the internet, and even more misunderstanding in real life. This year in particular, the political debates online have gotten out of control. I’ve seen huge fights blow up on social media between people who have never actually met each other. I question my own beliefs every day. All I know, is that I’m doing the best I can with what I know right now. I like to think that most people are. This is not to say that there are not terrible people in the world. What I am saying is that everyone’s life story dictates what they know and believe to be true. You don’t know what caused a person to be the way that they are unless they tell you. And none of us are going to convert others to our point of view by angrily telling them that their way is stupid. So…
4. BE KIND.
It’s so easy to let people get under our skin. We get frustrated because we can’t imagine how somebody could ever hold X opinion, or have the balls to say Y. But we will never know what happened in someone’s life story to cause them to think that way. Or what kind of day they had right before they turned off their filter and said that one awful thing. We can’t control it, either. But we CAN control our reactions. At the end of the day, I think what most people want is to be seen, heard, and understood. We crave human connection. We want to make a difference. And when we remind ourselves that we know very little about another person’s story, and what they have gone through, it’s much easier to be kind.
So what happened after that little dispute I had with my husband the other night?
He apologized (kind of), and then I took a few days to think about it. I thought about all the people who have rubbed me the wrong way recently. All the people I violently disagree with. And everyone who could potentially judge me in the same way. I just want to say that I see you. I hear you. Even though I don’t always agree with you, I respect your story. As challenging as it may be some days, I’m gonna keep at it. Living, owning, sharing, and perpetually re-writing mine. 🙂