The Hardest Lesson Part 2

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Good morning! Thanks for visiting. In my last post, I spoke about the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn. If I’m honest, I’m still re-learning this lesson all of the time. The lesson is: I am not equal to how other people treat me.

Or the actions of others don’t define my value.

The second part of that lesson involves critical comments or unkind remarks. If someone is cutting me down, judging me, criticizing me, or just plain cold, I didn’t do anything to deserve that.  I heard this quote once that when someone speaks ill of another person, they are, “Reporting on themselves.”

It is easy to know, on a logical level, that when other people are unkind, it is about them and not you. But it is a lot harder in the moment when you are receiving those unkind words to see it that way.  I always think, “What did I do to deserve that?”

Sometimes people say things out of genuine concern or have useful constructive criticism. Those types of comments are valuable to me, and I welcome them. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about things said that are more snarky, judgemental, or have a touch of cruelty. Also, sometimes people are impatient and say things out of exasperation.

These comments aren’t helpful, and we shouldn’t let them stop us from striving towards our goals.

I’ll give an example. I had a close family member who went to weight watchers for a year. She consistently lost one pound a week, losing 40 lbs! This achievement was great for her health and made her feel energized and beautiful. After the 40 lbs, she hit a plateau and couldn’t lose any more weight. She confided in me that she was still 50 lbs overweight, for her height/age, and wanted to lose more. She kept going to the weight watchers meetings and doing what had worked for her in the past. However, the weight didn’t come off. After 3 months of weighing in, and being stuck at the same weight, the person who led the meetings, we’ll call her Marcy, said: “What’s the point in coming if you’re not going to lose weight?”

This comment was careless and hurtful to my family member. Maybe Marcy was impatient and wanted to see results. Maybe Marcy thought she was “helping” to motivate. The opposite is true. My family member dropped out of weight watchers and gained the 40 lbs back. Some part of this comment struck her. She believed that she wouldn’t lose weight and didn’t belong at the meetings anymore.

What I’m learning, and I’m sharing with you in case you are feeling discouraged in an area in your life, is not to let the Marcy comments stop me.

In the case of my family member, weight is a sore spot. When Marcy said that comment, it hit a big trigger in her that sparked her to give up and gain the weight back.

We all have triggers, especially when we are out on a limb doing something new or something that is uncomfortable. While we are creating the life we want, we will diverge from the path we once took. This could lead to one or two (or a dozen) harsh comments from people we love and respect. Those comments are going to hit our triggers because we are shaky. It’s as if we are learning to run for the first time.

This lesson says: keep putting on the shoes and running. No matter what anyone else says. In the case of my family member, find a different weight watchers meeting. Find an exercise class with a positive instructor, see if a coworker wants to walk with you at lunch.

Letting go of those comments, not letting them define me, not letting them stop me, and not letting them alter my mindset/actions is the hardest lesson I’m still learning every day.

What are some ways that you keep going after something discouraging? Let’s share our tips and support each other along the way!

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