It’s difficult to know exactly how some people will react to some comments. We’re all very different, and what works for one doesn’t always work for another. That doesn’t make us wrong for not liking a comment, or others wrong for saying it, it’s just that sometimes the two don’t go together well. For example, if I’ve had a bad day, I want to be asked about it. I don’t want to be brushed off with, “It’ll be okay.” It most probably will be, but the way my mind works, I need to talk things through to let them go. But, it comes down to other things too, like the way someone might tell you that something is all right and give you a justification and yet you know it isn’t. Instead of explaining and having your feelings validated, you instead end up feeling frustrated.
I had the radio on recently, and they were talking about the #thisgirlcan movement. I think it’s great that there’s something out there like that, designed to build confidence in women, regardless of their shape, size or ability, but it reminded me how I felt when I first started running. I get that not everyone wants to run. I certainly didn’t for a long time, but then when I did, I was pretty proud of myself. Some people however made comments which implied it came easy to me because I was younger or fitter, or something that suited them. That was hard because it wasn’t true. I worked hard to get to where I was, and I didn’t find it easy, so it’s strange that some would assume they knew how I felt.
I think at times some play down the achievements of others purely to make themselves feel better, but sometimes it’s like they don’t want to come across too supportive which I find odd. When I’ve had comments like those it makes me feel put out that what I have achieved hasn’t been recognised or understood. I get that not everyone will understand the achievements of others, but to notice the effort that’s been put in would be nice.
It’s true that no one really understands anyone else’s experiences. We can only understand what we’re told or what we witness. When someone makes a sweeping statement it can have an adverse affect on those we are talking with, even if we don’t see it directly. Like, I’ve put on weight over lockdown, (I’m not asking for compliments!) I know I need to lose some but I’m almost afraid to admit it because I’ve been told in the past that it’s okay because I’m tall or been told I’ve not put any extra on. If that’s true I must have gremlins in my wardrobe who shrink my clothes! Those comments are hard because much as people think they’re being kind, it’s difficult when I know how I feel and they can’t see it.
It was the same when I used to drink. Not the whole time, but a lot of it. Maybe, if anyone had agreed with me in the early days when I first wondered if I had a problem, I might have dealt with it better. I might have done something sooner. But hearing others tell me I was okay just reinforced in my mind that I didn’t have a problem and that meant I didn’t have to do anything. I was in denial for a long time, and all I wanted was confirmation that I was okay, even when I wasn’t.
I’m not saying everyone should be brutally honest and unkind to others, just sometimes that we actually want the truth and not a sugar coated version. It doesn’t always make things easier, and it’s not always nice to listen to, but sometimes, it really is better. It can take a lot of courage to admit something we see as a failing or a shortcoming, so let’s all try to be kind and listen without judgement or assumptions if someone wants to talk. Let’s not put our opinions onto others, unless of course they ask for it. Just a thought.
Thanks as always for reading.