I often speak without thinking.
We all do it.
Even when I absently respond to someone, I always do my best to respond to them with positivity and compassion.
But, once in a while someone says something that hurts your feelings.
And recently, more than one person has looked me in the eyes and told me that I’m fat.
Typically, I pride myself on being confident and self-assured. But being called fat (repeatedly) is probably one of the most hurtful things that a person can hear. This is particularly true when you hear it more than once, from more than one person.
Even if it’s true.
I know that I’ve had more than my fair share of French fries lately. I don’t need an outsider to tell me what I already know.
But, these incidents got me thinking: what is the appropriate response to being insulted? Is there a “right” way to respond or react?
I beleive that people are typically good intentioned, and generally desire to be helpful not hurtful. But, I also believe that each of us should protect ourselves and consider how to respond to the hurtful things others can say to us. If you’re wondering how you should respond to being called fat, I’m sharing 5 ways to react to the situation. While there is no guarantee that any of these suggestions are “ideal”, they’re a starting point to help you offset a potentially painful interaction.
5 Ways To Respond When Someone Calls You Fat
Take A Breath
I have found that it’s always important to pause and take a breath before responding to someome that may have said something I didn’t like or appreciate. This probably seems like the most obvious advice in the world–until someone insults you. While it’s human nature to defend yourself, it’s important to pause to ensure that you’ve heard them correctly, that you consider the truth in their statement (see below) and their intentions (see below).
Taking a breath gives you a moment to mentally and physically recover from the situation.
Consider The Truth In The Statement
Typically, words are most hurtful when they’re partially (or completely) true. When someone says something hurtful to you, it’s most often most hurtful becasue it’s either partly or completely true.
When someone insults you, take a moment to think critically about what the person said. Is there any truth to it? It’s often healthy to diffuse the situation by acknowledging the truth in their statement or words. When my very mean relative told me how fat she thought I was, I simply looked at her and said, “yes, I’m fat, but it’s fixable.” (What I really wanted to say was that my weight was something I could address, while she would be stuck with her shrew-like behavior for the rest of her life–c’est la vie).
By acknowledging the truth in the statement, it gives you an opportunity to acknowledge something that might be hurtful and an opportunity to stand up to a person who may be trying to intentially and publically hurt you (like my relative).
It’s also important to note that not every insulting thing someone says is true. When dealing with untruths, remind yourself that their words are NOT true and counteract their statement with something positive about yourself that is both true and affirming.
Set Some Goals For Yourself
I’ve been eating a lot of french fries over the last several months.
I travel internationally for business, and I worry constantly that I will get sick on the road. To avoid getting sick, I generally only order only one thing: fries.
This isn’t a healthy behavior, and I know it.
I also know that I have the opportunity to add vitamins and supplements to my diet, and enlist the help of a professional to ensure that I’m making the best choices for me moving foward.
While I typically eat a fairly healthy diet when I’m home, I’m also very guilty of making choices based on my preferences and guesses. There’s no science or professionalism behind it.
With that in mind, I’ve scheduled an appointment with a nutritionist, so that I can evaluate my diet and begin making better choices for myself when I’m meal planning and cooking. I’d like to make small changes that will help me feel more confident that I’m doing something constructive about my weight. These small steps are empowering ways for me to make positive changes in my life. Taking these steps are also ammunition against the opinions of others–because really, when someone tells you they think that you’re fat, they’re also asking you, “what are you doing about it, fatty?“, aren’t they?
Surround Yourself With Positive People
I love the quote, “Surround yourself with people who lift you higher.”
As I have grown older, I have really realized that the people who you surround yourself with can and do have a big impact on your mental health and self-perception.
One of the easiest ways to minimize hurtful interactions and unnecessary criticism is to surround yourself with positive people. While you shouln’t surround yourself with people who will only say what you want to hear, you should surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart, and are loving and supportive.
Invest your time and energy in relationships that are rewarding and let go of those that are low-value, hurtful or a hassle.
Positive relationships build your confidence. By surrounding yourself with people that push you to reach for positive things, you are taking the best things about yourself and making them better.
Perform an audit and take inventory of the people in your life perform this role for you–and embrace them fully. Let go of people who are anything less than positive influences in your life, and don’t be afraid to tell them why if they ask.
I am giving you this advice–and for me, it’s the thing on the list that’s the most difficult to do.
I am horrible at moving on. If there was a photo in the dictionary of someone dwelling on something, I’m fairly certain that my face would be right there.
Yet, it’s important not to let the opinions of others define us.
Each of us has so much to give, and so many opportunties for self improvement. While someone may say or do something hurtful, letting damaging statements linger or live on only makes them more painful. Choose to move on, focus on the positive and improve yourself according to your personal goals.