A Letter to the 'Haters'

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I’m not the same person I used to be and it isn’t just losing weight that changed me. It’s personal growth mentally, physically, and spiritually. There is so much that others don’t know about me.
People on the streets aren’t always the nicest to people who are different. I get snickered at, teased, and blatantly laughed at. I have had my picture taken with camera phones. I wish they knew something about the person they are making fun of though. For instance, although I’m still overweight, they should know I fought my way back from being bed-ridden and still have the degenerative diseases that caused the situation in the first place. I deal with severe pain daily, yet I exercise. I have also lost 155 pounds and strive to motivate others with their weight loss and health efforts.
Yes, I used to be the victim of my diseases. I lay in bed and my husband took care of me.  It just didn’t sit well with me, living in just my room. I decided not to be a victim anymore.  I took the bull by the horns and found out what I could do.  I could go to physical therapy at first and that progressed to walking a 5K with my walker and being taken off of insulin.  I do everything in my power to fight back.  Sometimes it is tiring, but I take a break and get back to it.
I’ll also bet that people don’t realize how lonely I actually can be. I have many online friends, but very few real life friends. It is harder as an adult to make friends. Having spent so many years in the house, I lost touch with the “outside world” and am just now getting back to it.  Upon my first ventures out, the rude remarks by strangers about my weight made me want to crawl back in my safe house and cry.  But I didn’t.  I reached out further and am still reaching.
I think possibly strangers think they have the right to judge me because they aren’t in my situation.  Maybe they have a better relationship with food and the scale; maybe they think the remarks will somehow shock me into realizing I’m overweight. Hating will never teach anyone anything.  Furthermore, how do you know that the person you just though of as fat and lazy didn’t just complete their first 5K with a walker or lose 155 pounds? 
We all have stories of the friend or relative who says they can’t do anything about their unhealthy situation and we are so frustrated and desperate to help them.  It has to be their time though. 
Think of it like this: That person is a potential flower, but they won’t bloom just because they are a flower seed. Somewhere along the line, they need sun, earth, rain, and proper weather to bloom. I think our frustration comes when we want to be the one thing that changes their life. The truth is that only their journey will change it and we can put up some road signs along the way or hand them a map, but if they choose to wander in the desert for 40 years… that’s an age-old problem.
Walk in kindness toward others and realize they may not be who you think they are.  Everyone deserves a break, has a bad day, has an unusually good day, gets frustrated, loses a friend or family member.  

That “jerk” you just gave the finger to may have just lost his job and is on his way home to tell his wife, thus his erratic driving. That large person you’re thinking shouldn’t be eating so much, may be trying the only way they know to comfort themselves, not knowing any other coping skills.  They also may have an amazing story to tell.
Do you walk in kindness or judge others based on a moment’s glance?

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Thank you so much, I needed to hear this today. I have been dealing with trying to be positive and this was a good encourager. You said all the things I have felt. Look forward to more of your blogs. Report
You are such an inspiration to me! I am Diabetic and also have Fibromyalgia. I live with daily chronic pain even with 4 different meds just for the Fibro. Then my sugar meds as well. I am trying to find none painful ways to exercise and just recently saw your article on chair exercise. Thank you for that as anything else would leave me in bed for at least 2 days after doing it. I look forward to more of your blog. Report
This is why when I am out working out, I wear headphones and listen to music. I have lost almost 50 pounds since joining SparkPeople, I have lost 70 since being diagnosed Type 2 diabetic but strangers don't know that and I don't have time to stop and explain to every single person who makes fun of me for still being overweight. I just wear my headphones and keep my happy little self trucking on down the road! Report
People can be just awful to one another. Thanks for reminding us all to be gracious. Report
I LOVE YOU!!! You randomly just came up on my page, and now I know why, the man upstairs knew I needed to read this!

Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know! Report
Bravo and congrats for this inspiration. Keep fighting! Report
I walk/ run locally there are people who are mean. But every person who yells or honks I have 2 cheering me on. The odds are on my side Report
I try to walk in kindness yet I am sure I don't always. This is a nice reminder that everyone has a story. We can't expect people to honor ours if we don't honor theirs. Thank you for a lovely blog. Report
We were always taught by my amazing mom to "walk a mile in their shoes" to teach us not to judge others. Thank you for the reminder that not everyone has it so lucky. I think empathy towards others is not just something people are born with, they also need it nurtured in order to understand the pain/joy etc that others are experiencing. Report
Thank you for the encouraging blog. Treat others like you want to be treated. Keep up the hard work and it is hard. Continue doing what you are doing. You can do it.. Be Encouraged. ((((HUGS)))) Report
As always you are an inspiration! I think the haters (and I've run into my share of them, believe me) put other people down to make themselves feel better about their own lives. They don't have the courage or the ambition to improve themselves, so they put others down instead of lifting themselves up. As much pain as such people have caused me over the years, I still feel kind of sorry for them. There can't be any true satisfaction in raising yourself up through cruelty and hate as there is in improving yourself and inspiring others. Report
You are amazing. Keep up the good work. We can prevail!!!! And about those narrow-minded people, well, they are narrow minded. What can I say? Report
Great blog, you are so so so right! :) Report
Very well said and very true! I try to remind my kids all of the time that until we've walked in someone else's shoes, we need to be kind and forgiving. You never know what they might be going through. Thanks for the reminder and Congratulations on all you have accomplished! Report
Hugs to you for continuing to pursue your healthy lifestyle. Don't let the ignorant people get to you. Their meanness is often caused by some shortcoming in their own life. You are awesome for wanting to make those healthy changes in your life. Keep fighting the good fight!

~Kelly Report
As the saying goes, "To understand a man, you've got to walk a mile in his shoes." Congratulations on not giving up in spite of ignorant remarks! Report
We all belong to God .He loves you Unconditionally.No one has the right to judge anyone .When you remember that you can start to stop doing that. Report
I know I'm late to the party, but I HAD to thank you for your thoughtful, honest blog. I've been the recipient of nasty comments from complete strangers, so I can relate. Yet, I have still judged at a glance or responded badly to rude behavior. True compassion begins at home. Thank you for reminding me to walk gently with others. Report
This is a great blog. It makes you think a lot. You are a true inspiration. I wish you all the luck in the world!!! Report
Your blog makes me consider my actions carefully and I will think of you when I'm around people that are different. Thanks for sharing the pain and the inspiration. They are words all of us can learn from.

You go girl!

thanks for this blog...god bless you. Report
Beth- Do remember that there are plenty of people out there that will love you for you. I have struggled with my weight for years and have learned a few things about people in the process. I have learned that you don't have to comment on someone's weight loss, how about just treating them always with kindness. Or how about congratulating someone on the job that they do or what a good parent they are? I work primarily with women and most of them feel they must comment when I lose weight, it makes me feel very uncomfortable..first of all they are just work aquaintances and second of all their comments are often actually insults like my most recent, " You look half your size!" when I'd only lost 20-25 pounds...How huge did I look before in your opinion then? " Are you chosing to lose weight on purpose or are you sick?" All you can do is try to get and stay healthy at what ever weight that may be and always remember that there are people around you that are or have been in your shoes whether they share that with you or not. I think you are fabulous for sharing your story!!!!!! Report
Reading this through tears..Thank you for posting. Ruthie Report
Good morning, Beth! I just came across this blog post. You are a great blogger, by the way, as I have read some of yours before. This one is so inspirational and I could relate so much I was crying reading it. I am proud of you for your accomplishments and your attitude just makes you special!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful words!! Report
AWESOME blog. Congrats on such wonderful progress. Thank you for sharing that personal part of your life. You gave us all some important things to think about. Report
I especially liked the part of your blog where you talked about not judging others. We really don't know what's going on in someone else life. Report
Awesome blog! I was picked on and bullied all through school, and even though I am almost 50 years old, I still have emotional scars from that time, so because of that, I never judge others from the outside. You never know what battle that person is fighting. Report
Beth - thanks for sharing yourself, your story and the reminder about judgment. That's definitely an aware where I would like to improve. Judgment does help us in our daily lives and only serves to separate us from, others, the world and ourselves. I want to be more connected. Report
So So true. The harsh words of strangers is why I stopped jogging as a teenager. That is when my weight problem started. When an adult has harsh words, it's even worse! Report
Most rude people don't realize how much their comments can hurt. I know how hard it is to make "real friends". I am finally able to get out and be with people as I have found a support group which provides transportation.(I can't drive and there is no public transportation where I live). Hope you continue to bring us hope and inspiration. Just beginning my journey(won't say how many times)
Beth...thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Congrats on your will power and perseverance. Go for it....continue....I pray you will be blessed. You inspire us all. Report
Well done for being sooo brave. I am very impressed by your courage. Report
Wonderful and true. Report
As always, your blog is interesting and relevant. I have been at both ends of the spectrum of being judged (most of the time) or being the one who is judging (some of the time). I have been judged all my life by others about being the 'fat kid' or the overweight adult, but worse, I have judged myself harshly--a lot--for some imaginary 'better' person that I am not living up to in my present body. I find that the better I feel about myself, the less apt I am to be judgemental, period. Sometimes I have found myself thinking, "At least as far as I've fallen in the physically beautiful scale, that 'that person' is worse than I am. I'm not proud of it. And I realize that it is to boost my own self-esteem (or ego). I'm working on empathy for myself--and consequently for others. In the meantime, sometimes I say a prayer of sorts for both of us and take an active role in finding something to complement the person about and to tell them. Thank you for creating the opportunity for all of us who read this blog to take a look at this subject. Report
Great blog, thank you for sharing. I'm going to share this with some friends. Report
You go girl! I know what you're talking about. Mean people suck! Report
I struggle with this, too. Sometimes I feel like I get more ridicule or people pass judgement more NOW then they did when I was nearly 400 pounds. Maybe I was invisible before, but now I'm more like them, or someone they know who is overweight. They have no idea that I jog. They just see big.

Plus, I'm more exposed, out in the world. My life is richer for it.

I'm accused of being a "social butterfly" (I know it's not bad, but it makes me feel guilty); when all I'm trying to do is experience all I can, and learn from all the people I have a chance to encounter. I don't try to exclude anyone or neglect anyone.

It's important for us to step back and take a deep breath and focus on the GOOD things that people say, too. Our lovers, everyone in our life or everyone who touches our life and leaves love. It's sometimes buried by the haters. We can't let it.

And, just on a personal note: I totally understand about having lots of online friends, but few close personal friends. I lived my life stuffing down my feelings (even after Spark), having to live a "double life" outside of the home with my husband, and my own torturous reality inside the home. It's still hard for me to open up completely with people that want to be my friend.

Take care of yourself.
Lots of love,
Jocelyn Report
Hey Beth, nice to 'meet you' and what a great, open and honest insight into you, your life and the challenges you've met head on and, by the sound of it, are still overcoming. The human race is a funny breed in my opinion. Self depracating yet openly hostile to others (not everyone ofcourse) and yet there people, such as yourself, that not only want to change themselves but want to do this in the face of such adverse comments and beliefs of others. Others who probably have their own issues and concerns and choose to take or deflect that onto the outside world - in this instance, you. You come across as determined, strong willed and kind and I wish you well in any journey you make or continue to take. People like you make the world go round - other 'haters' only dream of doing the same (",) Take care sweet xx Report
Beth that question is one ALL should ponder in ALL areas of life. We are all imperfect so we do sometimes judge but that should not be an excuse to stay there. We should strive to do better. Thank you hon. HUGS! Laurie Report
Beth: Thanks yet again for the inspiration. I have had similar situations happen, and as per usual my snappy comebacks don't happen when I need them most, but 20 minutes later when I'm at home. (Thank God) Stay strong, reach out to us, your friends here on Sparkpeople. We support you in all of your efforts and endeavors. Have a great day!!!! Report
You've come so far, people are ignorant- they only see the outside. They judge but don't like to be judged. They don't bother to get to know a real person, they make the full assessment on whether it's worth knowing someone based on the way they look, this closes them off to many wonders in life, they live in a black & white world, where if you're fat it's coz you're lazy, not that you've not been able to exercise, or have a disease that hinders movement.

These people will often surround themselves with friends and people who are as shallow as they are but by doing this they are not living life to the full- experiencing the highs and lows. I've been out with my very large friend (I was HUGE at one point), when someone shouted abuse at us and asked me how I could be seen with her I responded- how could I be seen with THEM as they are judgemental and cannot see the true meaning of friendship. I also pointed out that I'm proud to know my friend but would be embarrassed to befriend a bigot.

You look amazing and are living proof that anything is possible- from being bed ridden to getting out and about- this shows true determination and true heroism Report
LOVED your blog! It really helped me today. I tried my first Zumba class ever, and had noticed some young man peering in the door and laughing; I thought laughing at me (because he had a great view of my oversize rear) but WHO CARES! We ALL need to be less judgemental, and not be hard on ourselves either! Report
Just reading your blog shows everyone what a woderful, inspirational person you are! : ) Report
You have amazing courage and your kindness just shines. All The Best to you in 2012. Report
u are awesome..i wished i lived closer..i would love to be ur safe place. i too dont have many friends. Report
You are a true Spark! You would shine light on anyone you meet. Too bad for those that do not want to get to know you. Report
I never judge, everyone deserves respect. Report
Thank you for sharing your story and you are definitely an inspiration to others. Wishing you the best in 2012 and hope you reach your goals!! Remember, "you is kind, you is smart, and you is important"!! I just love that statement. Report
That is an amazing entry. I have to say I feel the same way a lot of the time. I wish more people had your perspective and took the time to get to know people, they would find out there is so much more than what you see. Report
Great blog! Haters sure are out there and they can make life difficult for people who's personal struggles are so public, such as obesity (you can look great on the outside and still have a world of struggles hiding inside).

Your post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, something I think worthy of living by:

"When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending. ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you for a beautiful blog post! Report
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