I read this article yesterday, and on the one hand, I want to say, “Well, no shit.”, but then I remember that there are well meaning people who honestly believe that they have the right to tear down another human being in the name of “For their own good.”
I want to say, before I get started here, that I am not talking about medical professionals (although, it needs to be said, maybe, that there are ways to tell a patient that they need to make changes for their health without making it a shameful thing.), but instead I am talking about the people in our lives (Most of them well meaning, but not all) who insist that they have the right to say hurtful and shitty things to us in the name of “For your own good.”.
This is the first time since I started writing here that I am heavily weighing (Heh, look-a pun!) how to say what I want to say because I worry about offending people in my life who may or may not read this, so, here goes. 🙂
I believe that while we are certainly shaped by the way we are raised, we are predominantly responsible, individually, for what we do with our upbringing as adults. This will account for how people raised in the same environments can become adults with vastly different outlooks and life experiences.
That said, though, I also believe that if you are told something, or shown something often enough, it will become true for you. Which, I think, is part of why I am here, and struggling so hard sometimes with the work of overriding 20+ years of habits, both physical and mental.
There are a couple of sentences that make me flinch internally, even today, at 41 years old. One of them is, “…but you have such a pretty face…”. Another one is any variation of “I just worry about your health.”. I know that people mean well, but in my experience that sentence comes either immediately before or after a truly offensive and hurtful piece of someone’s mind. And the phrase “I just worry about your health.” is supposed to make it not only ok, but you’re supposed to feel bad that your fatness put them in the position of having to say something in the first place.
So often in families, “playful ribbing” about someone’s weight is supposed to be motivational and acceptable. “If you don’t like it, lose some weight.” not only isn’t helpful, it’s stupid.
“Boys/girls don’t like fat girls/boys.” is not going to encourage your child to “get skinny”, it’s going to convince them that they’re not worthy of the love of another human being.
Look, the fact that this study had to be done, that this isn’t a “No shit, Sherlock” moment of blatant common sense just means that we have a lot of work with regards to making sure we raise our children to be healthy, active and moderate in their habits, so they don’t grow up in an era where there have to be studies done to prove that being mean and hateful is the wrong course of action.
And if you’re really worried about someone’s health (and if their health is any of your business at all), take them to, or talk to them about seeing a doctor. After all, if you thought someone might have asthma, you wouldn’t stand around telling them how no one will date a wheezer, you get them to a doctor.