The Opinions of Others

May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

So the other day I was in a women’s clothing store

And I was standing at the check out counter

But from where I was standing I could see two women

One of them was thin

And the other was not

 

The one that was not thin picked a sweater from the rack and tried it on

Since I was waiting for the cashier to ring up my clothes

I had nothing to do but people watch

So that’s what I was doing!!

And I remember thinking to myself

That sweater looks really cute on her!

She must have thought the same thing

Because she had that look on her face as she admired herself

That look that says “YEP….I got it!!”

 

But then she turns to her friend and asks

“How does this look?”

And to my surprise the friend replies

It’s too TIGHT

She says this with an irritated tone

And without even looking up

In other words…she never even LOOKED

So how did she form this opinion??

The other woman’s face drops

Immediately her whole demeanor changed

One minute before she was admiring herself and feeling great

Now she is distressed

She replies to her friend, “But you didn’t even look?”

And her friend responds, “I don’t have to…I already know”

 

Her friend stares at her but the other one never looks up

She keeps flipping through clothes with no awareness

Or perhaps no interest

In how her words have just affected her friend

I watch as the woman takes off the sweater and puts it back on the rack

Now defeated apparently by the opinion of someone else

She continues to browse but with no enthusiasm

She is now in THAT shopping phase

You know the one…..

Where you are looking but have no confidence you’ll find anything

Because no matter what you try on you will always look fat

So WHO CARES

 

I know this feeling because I’ve been there a thousand times

I’ve gone shopping for some outfit I had to have

Because I needed it for work or some special event

I had no desire to shop

There was no joy in it

It was just a chore that I had to complete

Because no matter where I went nothing was going to fit

And even if it did….I was still fat so who cares

How many times have I felt like THAT in my life?

 

It’s bad enough when we make ourselves feel that way

But to accept it from someone else is even worse

I’m not sure if these women were friends or sisters

But it appears they were close enough that the other woman was free to speak her mind

What really struck me as sad

Was that this woman was WRONG

The sweater was cute

I wasn’t involved but from where I was standing it struck me just as a mere observer

That she looked really good in it!

And yet the opinion of this other woman was powerful enough to make her put it back on the rack

She accepted what this lady was dishing out

 

How often in our lives have we done this?

How many times have other people judged us and we let them

If you’ve struggled with your weight, chances are you have people in your life

Strangers, friends or family

Who make it a point to assess you….to judge you….and then to deliver their opinion

As if it’s GOLD

As if it’s WORTH EVERYTHING

 

We have no power over what others think

We have no control over what they say

But what we do have

Is the ability to receive it

OR NOT

And it’s vitally important we learn how to say NO

NO to other people’s opinions

When they serve no positive purpose

 

Believe it or not we don’t have to listen to what other people think

I know this to be true because I have children!

And children are absolutely brilliant at this!!

You can tell them all day long what you think

But if they’ve decided your opinion is irrelevant then nothing you say will matter

If you have ever had a teenager, you will realize this is true

It is frustrating to no end especially when you are trying to tell them something important

But there comes a phase in every child’s life when your voice seems to be tuned out

Like some radio frequency they just can’t hear!!!

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It’s  a skill kids seem to have

And while it is frustrating as a parent

It’s also useful in certain scenarios

Like THIS one

 

What if we could rewind the tape?

To when she first put the sweater on and felt great

Because I saw her when she first put it on

And she knew she looked good

What if RIGHT THEN she made the decision

To let THAT be enough?

 

It’s hard for us to do

But it’s always been hard

I was reading about a time that Jeremiah felt insecure

God had called him for a great purpose

But he worried about what people thought of him!

When he was speaking, they were probably giving him THAT face

THAT look

 

It’s hard to stand before a crowd that seems to have no respect for you

Just like it’s hard to stand in the middle of a store as an overweight person

Have the bold courage to pull a sweater off the rack and try it on

Only to be told it’s too tight

By someone who didn’t even bother to look up

 

God told Jeremiah to not even look at their faces

To just NEVER MIND THEM

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God already had His opinion of Jeremiah settled

So really what else did Jeremiah need?

Feedback from the crowd?

Well…it’s nice

But NOT REQUIRED

 

This kind of reminds me of Morpheus from the Matrix

Morpheus is like this one man band

Who keeps playing the same tune over and over again

No one wants to hear it

But he just keeps singing the same song

He keeps believing Neo is the answer

And regardless of what anyone else says….that is what he believes

He frustrates some people to no end with this!!

They keep trying to convince him to believe what THEY believe

But Morpheus just won’t back down

He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks

He is not on a mission to please THEM

Even if the whole world thinks he’s wrong

It doesn’t change what HE believes

And as he says in this scene

His beliefs do not need the approval of others

 

(Warning: Profanity in this clip)


 

Morpheus just doesn’t let anyone’s DISBELIEF affect him

The whole world could be telling him he is wrong

And he will still believe what he believes

 

This may seem extreme

But if you’re an obese person living in this world

You may need to become a Morpheus

And stop caring what others think

Because sometimes those OTHERS

Are the people who are supposed to have your back!

Your friends and family

It’s bad enough for strangers to give you criticism

But when it’s people you care about….that hurts

 

I wish I had walked over and told that woman she looked good in the sweater

But instead I minded my business

The next day I told my kids about it

And my son said, “Yeah….you probably should have said something, Mom.  Because you know what it’s like

And that’s true

Those of us on this path do know what it’s like

And we need to encourage each other when we can

 

There was a great blog post written the other day by Andrea at Imperfect Life

Where she talks about how even after weight loss

Her body is far from perfect

But she loves it anyway

This is how we need to be

We need to love ourselves enough

To not listen to the opinions of others

We need to love ourselves enough

To enjoy the journey

And when we try something on in a store and we think we look good

BUY IT

Who cares what anyone else thinks?

It’s your body

And its your life

SO OWN IT

 

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie W May 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I have a coworker like that. She wouldn’t give a compliment if her life depended on it! I can come to work with a new top and she’ll look me up and down, then turn around. Now if its something she really dislikes, she doesn’t care to tell you. And it certainly can have an impact on your day and mood!

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Debbie May 21, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a co-worker like that. We call them the “up and down stares”. You feel like your zipper is down or you have 2 different shoes on. I think part of the problem of people like that is that they can’t feel good about themselves so they certainly aren’t EVER going to make you feel good. I guess that goes back to not caring how others look at you.

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Pam Holmes May 21, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I don’t think the “not thin” woman was with a friend. It was more than likely a relative, a very judgmental relative, cause you can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your relatives. I think losing weight helps us love ourselves more, even though we may be left with a “scarred body” that is less than perfect. At least we have gotten our eating under control and no longer feel others judging us poorly because we have no “self control.” Even though we know addiction is about more than just self control, many people think of it as simply that….a lack of self discipline. I am well aware that there are few people who don’t practice some control as far as eating whatever they wants go, I also know that to some people, food is not all that important. I wish I had that gene. But I was born with a desire and an obsession for food, and a real addiction to food that is not healthy, like sweets and carbs, and I fight it every single day. Even though I have gained 25 pounds, it’s not like I’ve given up, and started eating whatever I want whenever I want. If I had done that six months ago when the weight gain started, today I would be up 100 lbs., not 25 lbs. But I have been eating more than I need to eat to maintain a 150-lb. human being. Thus….the gain. But I will never give up, cause I refuse to go back to being that sad, lonely, isolated morbidly obese woman I was for so many years.
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chris May 22, 2014 at 6:57 am

dude…I was at the store the other day and some mother spent 45 minutes berating her 14 year old daughter about her weight…punctuated with bullshit sentences like ‘well, you asked…so I am going to tell you the truth” and ‘don’t go back for seconds” “if you eat that way, you are going to be fat”…the girl was crying.
I thought my head was going to explode…the woman then approached me and said…Do you know where the cookies are? I said “In the cookie aisle”
Then I said ‘You know…I used to be 100 pounds heavier…and you know how I lost weight?
She said “How?”
I said ‘By cutting out sugar and flour.”
lol!
bitch.
anywhoozle. I told that little girl she was very pretty.
Her mom then says “Oh, she isn’t that bad…she just doesn’t want to get any bigger”…
THat is not what you said all the way through the store.
chris recently posted..Fat is a self imposed prisonMy Profile

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Sheila May 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

That is so sad for the woman who felt immediately defeated and interesting on the quick, non-looking-judgement from the other woman. With friends (or relatives) like that who needs enemies? I agree that you have to be in this for YOURSELF and not worry about what others think (easier said than done) but so so so important. I tell my girls all the time, don’t tear yourself down, there is a WHOLE WORLD out there just WAITING for the opportunity to do just that. So instead be strong in yourself, your beliefs and don’t worry about what others may say and do, just be yourself.
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LHA May 23, 2014 at 1:34 am

With friends (or relatives) like that woman, who needs enemies?!!!? I feel horrible for the girl you saw trying on the sweater, and I bet this has been going on for a long time. I would call that emotional abuse. What a sad thing to have yourself defined by someone else’s opinion of you, and it happens to all of us who struggle with weight. We have all been “shamed” by someone…a friend, relative, doctor, passer-by…being heavy seems to make us the easiest target for criticism. We really need to be strong in our defense of ourselves and be confident in ourselves to overcome the negative feelings that come with so much criticism. This is a great blog post and a good reminder to all of us to be compassionate with others.

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Shay from Trashy Blog May 23, 2014 at 2:36 am

I am a talker, so I think I would have said from across the room, “Oh, I think it looks good! You should totally get it!” This is also why I get many odd looks…I burst in on other peoples’ conversations occasionally. 🙂 You know the funny thing–it had to be the thin woman who was unhappy with her life or feeling insecure; otherwise, it wouldn’t have been so hard for her to reach inside herself and actually give a compliment. I know it’s a cliche to say that, but I truly believe it. A confident, happy person wants others to be, too, and has no issue with helping them to be that. Great post as usual, Holly!
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Steelers6 May 25, 2014 at 1:30 am

I’m sad that she even bothered to ask the other woman. Wow. How hurtful to say “I already KNOW”.

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Ronda May 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

OMG, that is just awful! I think I would have had to go over and say something. Obviously the one woman was projecting her negative self image onto her friend.
Thanks for sharing!
Ronda recently posted..The Double DoozieMy Profile

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