Several months ago, I mentioned how a family member told me I needed to lose weight. And while this story is a particularly painful one, I believe it’s important to share so that you can see the impact words have on others. Whether we speak positively or negatively into someone’s life, we’re shaping their view of themselves and of the world.
I have an immensely talented cousin. RG is 3 years older than me & I’ve always looked at her with heart-shaped eyes (haha!). She also was a dancer and danced professionally for several years. Naturally, I wanted to be just as cool as she is. A few times throughout my childhood, she would generously donate some of her awesome, trendy clothes to me. She is taller and has a smaller frame than I do so some of the clothes didn’t fit. I remember dragging pant legs a lot. 😉
D (family member) who saw me try on said clothes didn’t really say much. It wasn’t until I realized some of the smaller items wouldn’t fit. D suggested that I needed to lose weight in order to wear them. Now, this is an important detail: I was probably 14 or so, 110 lbs, and 5’5″. I was active in dance, cheerleading, and weightlifting. To put it bluntly, there was nothing for me to lose. Sadly, this wasn’t a one-time suggestion. At this instance, I had another family member, S, who jumped to my defense and got in D’s face about it. But the damage was already done. I remember sinking my head into my chest and quietly crying in my room. D never apologized or saw the error of their ways.
The good news is that this horrible experience has taught me to voice the value others have. It’s so important for us to speak wonderful things into people’s lives. Because, really, you just don’t know what someone is going through. A simple, “You look lovely today!” could mean the world to someone. If you love someone’s killer shoes, tell them. If that older gentleman has a great smile, let him know. Compliment the awkward teenager and share some positivity in their lives. God knows they get enough shit from the world just because of their age.
One of my favorite quotes regarding commenting on someone’s appearance says if that person can’t change it within 10 minutes, keep your mouth shut. Can the large woman drop 100 lbs in an instant? No? Okay, don’t say anything. But if her shirt tag is sticking out? Yes! See the difference? And don’t just point out the tag. Roll it in a compliment. “Excuse me, ma’am, I hate to interrupt you but your tag is sticking out of your shirt. I love this color! It really brings out your eyes!” Easy peasy.
Be the change you want to see in the world. ❤