I am a woman in my mid-forties. I have always been slightly overweight, so I finally found a diet and healthy life style than enabled me to lose some weight. Late in the year my Mom became seriously ill, and I devoted a lot of my time to helping the family out. During the process I lost a few more pounds (not much). My Mom is improving, and my life is considerably improved.
A few months ago I was at a party, all dressed up and having fun when an acquaintance came up to me and said, “I see you’ve lost weight. And it’s not a healthy look for you”. I left the party holding back tears and I can’t stop thinking about what he said. Do I really look that bad? Should I try to gain a few pounds back? Did helping my Mom make me look worn down? It’s months later, and I still feel bad. What can I do to stop ruminating on it?
Dear Ms. Sad,
I have some bad news for you: schmucks are all around us. My first reaction is to slap the shit out of Mr. or Mrs. Dumbass. However, that “therapy” would only benefit me, not the accused. I think it is essential that we remember to quietly preface all comments from people with, “in my opinion”. If Mr. Insensitivity were to have had the uncommon sense to say, “In my opinion, you may have dropped too much weight”, we might still be wounded, but could keep it in context. It’s just his crappy little unsolicited opinion. That and $2.75 will get you a Starbucks coffee. In other words, it doesn’t mean much. There are plenty of people that try to make themselves feel superior by giving lots of unsolicited (and usually unwanted) opinions or advice. Re-directing your anger (or sadness) to the tragedy of their terribly handicapped ego would be more accurate than seriously considering what they had to say.
You have to wonder what ever has happened to them that they would become so ill mannered. Too bad for us to be subjected to it; really too bad for them being like this. So instead of trying to forget about it, properly reframe it: they’ve become crass, and it’s too bad you were there for it.
P.S. Unless you look like Twiggy in the sixties, keep the weight off, you lucky duck.
P.S.S. At the risk of over self-promotion, I recommend one of my personally favorite essays: Not Defending Yourself at: http://www.johnsommercounseling.com/blog/not-defending-yourself It really set me free.