Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Don't be a Judy

It's human nature--we all do it. No, not picking our noses (stop protesting that you never pick your nose--I don't care). I'm talking about making snap judgements about people--people we know, people we don't know, people we're married to, people who need people, people who eat people, etc. I know I do it all the time. I meet someone, I label them, then I put them in a little box and store them away in my purse.  

You know what's nuts (besides driving Hummers)? I'm so often wrong! (Write this down in your journals, folks--I don't often admit wrongness.) I'm not talking about the basics like, "She has brown hair," or "He's wearing his pants below his bum," but about the more subjective judgements like, "She is wearing 20 rhinestone bracelets while shopping at Costco--she must be a crazy-vain pampered princess," or "He drives a Hummer (and isn't actually on duty in the military)--he must be a tool." If I have the chance to really get to know a person, I find out they aren't the person I judged them to be, or even if they are, there's much more to them. Or maybe I've assumed something about them based on our initial contact or where they live or who they're related to (yeah, yeah--to whom they're related) only to find out later I was completely and utterly mistaken. Do you ever do this? I thought so.

(Of course once in a while you find out later that you were right on in your initial assessment of someone. "Wow! He really is a carny with a metal plate in his head and an anger management problem!)

This totally applies to people's weight. People are judged constantly by how they look, and how big or small a person is a basic component of a person's appearance. Not only do we have labels (skinny, fat, fatty, stick, waif, large, hefty, obese, scrawny etc.), but we make assumptions about why that person is fat, thin or in-between, or the character strengths or flaws that they must possess which led them to look like they do. 

For example:
"She's huge! She must eat like a pig. What a lazy slacker."
"Look at that skinny girl over there. I hate people who can eat whatever they want and look like that. She's so snotty."

I submit that this is a lazy and unfair way to look at people. We don't usually know what is behind a person's appearance--even his or her weight. 
That "big girl" at work may eat too much, but she might be a single mom with no time, support or money for healthy food. 
That "skinny-butt snob" you see at the mall may have an eating disorder she developed as a young teenager that she'll be haunted by for the rest of her life, if her life isn't ended by it prematurely.
That "cut, stuck-on-himself guy" at the gym may have been a picked-on, pimply fat kid all through high school who has recently worked very hard to lose weight and get fit.  
That "fat slob" at the bus stop may have to take prescription drugs for asthma that make him blow up like a balloon. 

So next time you start making those snap judgements about a person's size or weight (this goes for judging the skinny people, too), think twice. I'm going to try a little harder myself.
That kind of sounded like the end of the post. But it's not! 

We (and that includes you, too) have to stop judging ourselves this same way. How many times have you labeled yourself as a loser or lazy or a failure for being overweight? How many times have you decided you are an idiot or an impossible case because you keep gaining back what you lose? Seriously--it's not OK. It does NOT help you lose weight, it doesn't increase your motivation. It doesn't help your personal relationships (do you really think the people who love you want you to hate yourself? [if you do, you are so wrong]). It doesn't do anything but drag you down, destroy whatever sense of self worth you still have, and set a terrible example for your kids and other people around you. Whether you say it out loud or just think it, it's bad. I know this is true! 

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the fat acceptance movement. You know, the whole "we're fat and we're just going to be fat and love ourselves as we are!" thing. I don't think people are meant to be overweight for life (there are health issues to be considered, after all). But, I know we have to have some self acceptance no matter what we weigh or why we weigh it or how long it takes us to get healthy. Loving yourself isn't narcissistic--it's accepting that you have worth that is inherent, and that liking yourself is healthy and an important step in weight loss. 

So, Judy, change your brain! If you don't know how, we can help (if not me, Sara...or someone else here). You're worth it. At least you will be after you throw away that ridiculous lace collar.


Wendi said...

Thanks, Holly. That's great advice. I hope everything worked out with the Karo syrup you borrowed and the stress you were feeling yesterday. :)

Anonymous said...

I think this is great advice all around. I tend to judge the 'skinnies' more than anything, and it is more from what they say than just what I see. But either way, we all have our demons and no one needs me judging them!

For me, it wasn't until I was finally decided to be okay with me at this weight that I finally feel capable of doing something about it. For so long I felt happy inside because even though I am overweight, I am fit and can do so much. But it was like I wasn't supposed to celebrate that because you aren't supposed to be fat and happy and content. Does that even make sense? I feel lucky that my self worth isn't tied to my size, but I do recognize that I need to be healthier and that will lead to even more happiness. This is such a great post- thanks for putting it up!

joolee said...

So, to be clear....are you calling me a lazy slacker or a fatty?

;) I love to act offended when anyone says anything that could possibly be interpreted as a fat joke.

Holly said...

Wendi-Your Karo syrup was a blessing and a sure sign that you are my friend forever. Love somebody? Give them the gift of corn syrup. Thank you VERY much.

Hannah-Your brain is in a very good place (besides inside your head)! You are so right--it's OK to feel content and happy before/during/and after you lose weight. Self-loathing is useless and counterproductive.

Joolee-Oh! I'm so sorry. I never meant to call you a "lazy slacker" or a "fatty." I meant to call you a good-for-nothing roly poly! Sorry about that. ;)
Sometimes I just don't think before I write.

Katy said...

Well said!

Wendi said...

Yay! I love being your friend forever and I'm glad that the Karo syrup was a sign of that. :)

Gina Lee said...

Can you read my thoughts? You nailed it!!! Thanks, I needed that tonight.

Holly said...


Wendi-We're corn syrup buddies now!

Gina Lee-I can read your thoughts! How did you know? Can you read mine?

Anonymous said...

From living both sides of the scale (literally), I can attest to that. Oooh, the glares I would give to those fit, thin girls. And now, well, I'm not (nor could ever be) as thin, tall or lean as those European beauties out there, but, I do get occasional glares. And I think, you don't even know me? And guess what, I didn't even know those girls either. One of these days, I would love to just carry my fat picture around with me and when a man opens a door for me (which 99.9999% of the time never happened pre-weight loss), I want to pull my picture out and ask, "Would you open the door for HER?" Hmmmm, one of these days....

Holly said...

SweetE-I'd like to see the look on the face of the poor, unsuspecting man who had the picture shoved in his face. :)