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Support Systems

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I know I often discuss the words and views of my friends and how they affect me. It may seem I take a negative view of what they've said, and I probably have, yet I'm endlessly grateful for having them in my life to talk with and catalyze me into contemplating the issues they bring to light. In so many ways I am becoming a better person because of my friends.

My friends are a positive influence in my life, no matter the tone of my blogs. They may not always relate but they always listen in one way or another and they don't jump for assumptions when I do express myself.

Rather, some of the people who cause me the worst aggravation are people I knew prior to my weight loss success. These are the people I met briefly who assumed they knew all about me five+ years prior, which is insane because I didn't even know myself then.

Sometimes these people float back through into my bubble on social networking sites and they see how I am now. They read my posts at times. They look at pictures. And they start making assumptions about my health. It is the worst.

Just this weekend, I had a prior acquaintance I met in person for all of five minutes read over my Dear Friends, Family, and Beyond blog. She messaged me to tell me she felt I may be in need of a support system before passing my name (and issues) to people of her acquaintance to get in contact with me. People I had never met, people whose professional interests in health, diet, and feminism did not cross over with my own. People seeking friend requests into my network.

I am assuming here but I think she read my post and immediately thought I dieted in an unhealthy manner and that I was seeking to fulfill the external standards of society in appearance. I don't know for certain, I'm totally assuming this but I think I'm allowed due to the assumptions she directed towards my support system.

It didn't quite bother me at first. I replied with no thank you, explained that the blog was made (as I stated in it) to organize my thoughts, assured her I am fine and that I have a support system, and directed her to my beyond adequate community of support here on SP. But the more I thought on it, the more upset I became. The least she could have done was inquire to my status and ask permission to distribute my name (and my issues) to strangers first before acting on it.

As an introvert I'm a pretty private person. Social situations and unwanted attention can affect me deeply. It's easy for a simple situation to spiral out of control in my mind. I choose to make my posts because it is the manner in which I can often get my thoughts organized and analyzed, and sharing them is how I attempt to relate to others so I don't feel alone or crazed.

At least until someone happens along to dump their projections and assumptions all over it without listening to what I'm actually saying. Ultimately after I told her it upset me, she admitted she should have viewed my SP page first and told me I have to be proud. I take that to mean that perhaps she finally understands what I've accomplished in a healthy manner is unrelated to fad dieting, as well as that my goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and fulfill the expectations of only one person: me.

Ironically, this is why I have such an excellent support system already in place with my friends, family, and SP, to help me deal with people who pop up and start making all these assumptions on me and my health.

On the plus side, beyond SP, a member of my support system did respond eloquently to part of what I was hinting at in the original blog. She understood perfectly that: "Best intentions and all of that, but any unsolicited outside advice on what you eat or how to manage your diet implies that you somehow don’t know what’s best for you, and that’s fundamentally insulting."

My friends are the best.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm an introvert also (INFP with 4w5 enneagram to be precise), and yes it is very intrusive and insulting to have to deal with the majority of the population who seem to be extroverted/ sensing types who think they know best. It's good to realize they can't help it and the way you are going about it (blogging to help you sort through your thoughts) is a great way to vent and remain firm in your purpose and identity. Also I really like reading your blogs so I encourage this method! I'm so glad you have such a great support system and such awesome, understanding friends! Projection is inevitable and it's very easy for people to make assumptions, especially if they're unaware that they're projecting and not introspective enough to understand such things. A lot of times people will assume that an abstract introvert doesn't know what's best since we can sometimes appear to others as aloof or detached. But we know that is not the case:) Great blog!
    1890 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    She had no right to invade your privacy! I hope she has learned not to do this in the future.

    On another note I just want to share my joy with you today....I reached my goal weight!!! I am so happy emoticon

    Thank you for being here on SP and for all your ideas and support! Love Sarah
    1890 days ago
    Stated better than I could have....
    1890 days ago
    emoticon / Sounds like you handled it well. I've hesitated starting to blog myself because of the reading comprehension (or lack thereof) of others I've run into on other message boards. Nevertheless, I'm starting to realize that shouldn't stop me.
    1891 days ago
    emoticon for an important reminder.
    1891 days ago
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