Have you noticed that some people sabotage your efforts when you tell them what you are doing? If you announce that you have started walking in place in front of your TV during one commercial break or 5 minutes, whichever method you use to measure time, some folks will say good for you. Others will tell you that isn’t enough time and will minimize your accomplishment of dragging your lazy butt out of your chair and moving more than from the kitchen to the bathroom and back. Or, for that matter, you might be walking through pain when you’d prefer to sit.
Maybe you mention that you walk to the mailbox instead of stopping when you go out on errands and grabbing the mail before you pull into your driveway. Discouragers tell you that you need to walk in your neighborhood and how often and how far and how many hills and… By now of course some of us aren’t listening, while others are ready to go back to not walking to the mailbox.
A friend proudly mentioned on Facebook that she went to the gym with her hubby and that she made it inside and walked on the treadmill for maybe five minutes and then tried to use the exercise bike but stopped because she couldn’t adjust it for her height. Some Facebook friends told her she should have found an employee to show her how to adjust the bike. Some even warned her that the treadmill could be hard on her joints and made her accomplishment sound bad for her, while others didn’t get that her even going to the gym was an accomplishment! She had been spending most days in a recliner and falling asleep while trying to write. Some commented on the fact that she needed to do more to lose weight. She’s trying to become more mobile. It wasn’t about her weight at that time.
Why in God’s name do folks feel the need to tell others when their efforts aren’t good enough?
Years back I lost a little weight by cutting out bread and potatoes and noodles. When I shared my efforts with folks I got comments on how I couldn’t really lose weight unless I exercised a certain amount with specific frequency and made my efforts seem paltry. When I was married I would tell my Ex that I had walked on our treadmill for a certain amount of time. He would then suggest that I didn’t need to exercise my legs but needed to work on my belly. The fact that I was burning calories made no difference to him. He also critiqued my meals. He ate less than I did, but he would scarf down half a bag of Doritos or other chips or a bagel before he sat at the table. Do you think those comments helped me lose weight? Not after the time I lost down from a size 9 to a 7. He said I was looking good, but I could stand to lose back to the size 5 I was at 30. He made a big deal every time he saw a slender woman with 2 or more kids. “If she can lose weight and look that good, why can’t you?” Sometimes he said the words and others he implied them. Of course that woman might have a trainer or a different metabolism or a husband who made her feel good about herself or a different reason to stay slim.
When talk show hosts show a photo of a celebrity who has given birth recently say “She looks amazing!” what does that tell other women? How does that make you feel? The photo does look amazing and there might be little retouching or a lot!
I seem stuck on exercise and weight, so let’s talk writing or grades.
If a kid brings his grade from an F to a D some parents would praise the kid and tell him they know they have confidence in him and know he can keep improving. Others push and complain that isn’t good enough. Well, in some cases it’s the best the kid can do, while in others a C might be the next step, since the kid is really behind or the work is finally making sense. Improving an overall grade takes more than one assignment or test.
About writing. Some writers can crank out 20 pages a day with ease while others can do 2 pages on a good day, with a lot of effort. Comparing ourselves with others makes no sense. Listening to discouragers will sabotage our efforts. They remind us about the heavy producers and tell us we should do more.
Do the people in your life encourage or discourage?
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