Thoughts on Naysayers
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
I have a big detractor in my working out. She tends to demean my every effort, encourage me to eat badly, and sneers at my mere mentioning of working out. If she asks me what I'm doing later, I have to substitute "run some errands" for "work out" if I want to avoid either silence or a tirade on how I don't need to lose weight.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how I feel stifled when I talk to her, like I can't mention anything going on in my life because she has such a short fuse and gets upset so easily. I want to be compassionate and open with her, but even compassion and kindness upsets her. I was ready to throw up my hands and walk away.
It occurs to me that we all find ourselves faced with these sorts of people. They aren't stereotypical villains or characters designed as foils to add a sense of triumph to our journey. They're real people who have very real lives, who feel emotions and have hopes and dreams. Often times they're family members or coworkers, people who we care about and want to support us in our personal improvements. Why, then, would they want to discourage us?
To say that people are just jealous is an incomplete answer to a complex issue. In my situation, the woman in question feels as though her life is not as glamorous or as meaningful as she'd hoped. She feels as though people judge her decisions and think less of her, that she has to fight for every iota of respect people extend to her. She paints the canvas of her past as a harsh and cutting tale of the world constantly turned against her. She absolves herself of all personal responsibility for decisions she regrets.
She is heartbroken. Life isn't what she so desperately wanted it to be and every wild, dramatic effort she takes to make it what she dreams has failed. I do not judge her for any of these things and I wish she could see that. I wish that all the people who try to jump in front of us, who try to drag us down because they're so afraid we'll leave them behind, could see that we're more than happy to run beside them, if only they would put on their running shoes and come outside to join us.