The other day I had something happen that I was COMPLETELY unprepared for. I had gone and done a little grocery shopping before work. Mind you I got some healthy things: packaged salads, cherries, apples, Greek yogurt, almond milk. I was putting my groceries in the trunk of my car and this older guy walked up to me and said “you’re going to have a hard time.” I was completely confused, so I asked him what he meant. He then went on to say “well, they say the obesity rate is going up and up in this country and you’re already obese, so you’re going to have a hard time.” As soon as he was done saying that he turned and walked off. I was beyond shocked and the only thing I could think of to say was “eff you too.”
After he had gotten in his car and drove off and after I had finished putting my groceries in my truck and put my cart in the cart corral, I got in my car and cried. You know that feeling when someone you love with all your heart and means the world to you tells you something that completely shatters your heart? That feeling in the pit of your stomach…the wind is completely knocked out of you? That feeling. That’s the feeling I had.
Then, as I drove down the road to my next stop, the anger set in. Who the hell does he think he is? Who walks up to total strangers and says something like that. I’m not obese. Hell, I’m not even all that “fat.” And, even if I was, he doesn’t know anything about me. I could have some sort of disease or condition that causes me to gain weight or make it extremely difficult to lose weight (PCOS, for one…I don’t have it, but it is a disease that causes serious weight gain and makes it almost impossible to lose weight…prime example, Whitney from My Big Fat Fabulous Life). I could have PTS/PTSD (I do) and have poor coping skills (I do). I could have an eating disorder (I do). I could be a survivor of some horrible event like rape (I am). Or maybe I’m just prone to being overweight. There are so many different complications that could cause a person to gain weight and make it difficult to lose weight. He knows absolutely NOTHING about me. Nothing.
He doesn’t know that I’ve lost 80 lbs. He doesn’t know I run marathons. He doesn’t know I love lifting weights. He doesn’t know I love the stair climber. He doesn’t know I love Zumba or P90X. He doesn’t know that my BMI and body fat % are actually within the normal range.
After the angry response, I immediately thought about the 4 Agreements. The second Agreement is “don’t take anything personally.” What does this mean? It means that whatever someone says about you is actually about THEM and not about YOU at all. “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
“Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinion they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds.”
What someone else thinks of you, whatever their opinion is, doesn’t matter to you. What does it mean that what they say about you actually says more about them than it does about you? It means that they are so miserable in their own life that they have to insult others to feel better about themselves. With that said, this guy is obviously so miserable in his own life that he “got off” by the act of insulting me and telling me that I was obese. He didn’t even wait around to see what my reaction was. He said it and then immediately walked away, got in his car, and didn’t hesitate at all with driving out of the parking lot. The act of insulting a perfect stranger is what gives him his jollies. He didn’t care one bit about my reaction.
“Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.”
“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”
That being said:
Here’s what I was wearing when this guy approached me and said his hateful message.
See? Not obese at all.
And here’s one of my friend’s reactions: