What if someone wants to talk to you about weight?
I have a 14 year-old son. He also happens to be very thin and very muscular. I only mention that because it will become significant.
He wants to wrestle in high school. He has a certain weight-class in mind, and has decided that he needs to “drop weight” before wrestling season starts. I know he is parroting this phrase from old coaches.
I mildly suggest that as a growing boy, he could probably move up from the weight-class he used to be in when he wrestled last year. He is unconvinced, thinking he will have an advantage as the biggest one in a lower weight class rather than the smallest one in a higher weight-class. Maybe he’s right--this isn’t my area of expertise.
He talks constantly about losing weight. He says he’s skipping meals to “drop weight.” He pats his very flat, muscular stomach and tells me he thinks he’s getting fat. He’s heard this all somewhere--these aren’t his words.
This is very triggering for me.
At first, I found myself getting very angry. I was drafting dramatic scripts in my head for how I would confront him tell him how insensitive he was being. I came up with lectures about health and muscle mass and metabolism. But all of that made me really uncomfortable.
I realized it’s because his desire to lose weight has absolutely nothing to do with me, and if I take it personally, that’s my problem. He isn’t thinking about me when he says those things. He isn’t trying to hurt or insult me. He’s thinking about wrestling.
His challenges are not mine. My challenges are not his. So, when he wants to weigh himself and talk about losing 5 pounds before wrestling season starts, I can observe that as a completely legitimate part of HIS life experience. Although it conflicts with my thoughts, beliefs, and desires for my own life, I can remain impartial.
I want something entirely different for him than I want for myself. His values, needs, and desires are not the same as mine. He can create his own reality that works perfectly for him, and I can create mine. I don’t have to understand his, or approve of it, or decide whether it’s ok. Even though he’s my son.
His values are shaped through my modeling, through living in a supportive, loving family, and by my gentle guidance. However, that doesn’t mean he needs to be like me, or think like me, or want the same things I want.
This is the “allowing” aspect of the Law of Attraction. You can’t create on behalf of others. You can’t control what others want or do or think. And you really don’t have to spend time deciding if the way other people act is acceptable.
Everyone is on their own perfect path, and learning exactly the lessons they need to learn.
So, how do I respond? I tell him I don’t think it’s healthy for a teenage boy to try and lose weight. I tell him he will be a better athlete if he eats well and takes really good care of himself. I remind him how much easier it will be to focus in school if he has a nutritious meal in his belly. I tell him that when he doesn’t eat enough food, his body eats his muscles, which will not help him achieve wrestling fame and fortune.
And then I let it go. He knows what he needs to know, and he’s mature enough to make his own decisions. I’ve given him the guidance I think he needs, and I’ve helped him see things from a wider perspective.
And ultimately I accept that he is creating his own unique life, and nothing he does or says about weight has ANYTHING to do with me. He’s on his journey, and I’m on mine.
It’s the same with everyone in your life. Your co-workers, your spouse, your mother, your sister, your uncle...everything they say is about them. All their observations are based on their own struggles and insecurities and experiences. It literally has nothing to do with you, even if they (and you) think it does.
If someone in your life is focused on weight, let them have their experiences. They’re learning what they need to learn, and the best you can hope for is to introduce them to a different way of thinking. If they ask your advice, share it. If not, observe and learn.
The best piece of advice I ever got was from a pastor at my church:
“When confronted with people or behavior that you find challenging, give thanks for the opportunity to refine your own values and re-dedicate yourself to your own journey.”
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