I recently saw a post in a Facebook group that I WAS in, intended to be for women and fitness (I quickly exited after the below post because this is just one example of incessant negativity and ignorance that I do not need in my life):
“Friday rant… Standing in line at Target when the lady behind me said, Gee, I wish I had as much time to waste in the gym as you… I was stunned. I just turned around and said everything is about priorities, and that is why I look like me and you look like… You.
People are so amazingly judgmental. Whatever, what you say is much more about you than me.”
I was horrified by Woman 1 making an insult but I was more horrified by Woman 2 insulting her back and returning the body shaming. And I was unsettled by the hundreds of comments saying what a perfect comeback Woman 2 had. Seriously, ladies, what is happening?
But I digress. I choose to not rant about that exchange because one, I know my readers are of a higher caliber than both those women and do not need me to convince them of how messed up those comments are. And two, I rather explore a theory that is percolating in my brain.
**I also want to clarify that while both women in this scenario were out of line and inappropriate, I am NOT defining that exchange as bullying. Because bullying is serious shit and also implies that it is a repeated pattern and the victim is helpless. And I by no means am insinuating that someone who is bullied has brought that on themselves. (Read on and it will make more sense).
According to the National Centre Against Bullying, link here :
“The definition of bullying is when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond.”
And here is my theory…
The Law of Attraction believes that the universe gives you what you put out there. For someone to have a comment made about body shaming (and as she indicated in threads on that same post, she has had other people make degrading comments before), it is possible that she subconsciously is expecting people to be “haters” and belittle her.
“Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is believed that regardless of age, nationality or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe, including the Law of Attraction. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them with massive action.” From http://www.thelawofattraction.com/what-is-the-law-of-attraction/
I, as a Personal Trainer, spend most of my time and do most of my errands in workout clothes. I have never once received a comment about “wasting my time working out” or of anything of similar nature. I actually get compliments quite regularly about how strong I look and how dedicated I must be. I do not walk through life feeling that people are envious of my physique or that people want to be jealous of me for the time that I am able to spend on myself and my fitness.
And actually those thoughts just do not cross my mind. I just do my thing and appreciate the support and compliments along the way.
The woman at Target, let’s call her Shelly, is of a very different mindset. I realize this may seem presumptuous on my part, but based on the post and her subsequent comments, she has been body shamed in the past and seemingly expects it to happen. In one comment, she explained that back when she was heavier, she had a woman working out next to her at a gym who told her she was disgusted by her sweat. She vowed to herself to never let someone belittle her ever again and when they do, she would stand up for herself.
Shelly has been putting out to the universe for years that she will never be belittled again. All the universe hears is “belittle”. And that is why she has had several insults thrown her way. She thinks it is because the women who say it feel safe to say it and it’s like she’s the victim of it. In my opinion? They are on some level picking up on her expectation that they WILL inevitably belittle her. And so it happens.
Again, I am by no means justifying any woman ever body shaming someone. I am saying though that if someone has the propensity to be ignorant like Woman 1 and encounters someone who is more or less expecting it to happen, like Shelly, it is just a matter of WHEN IT WILL HAPPEN.
What Shelly responded with and her ample justifications on the post tell me it is a confidence issue through and through. To feel vindicated by body shaming another, even if feeling justified, is indicative of that. Why not walk away or tell her story to inspire? Shit, her last line in her post supports this! “People are so amazingly judgmental. Whatever, what you say is much more about you than me.”
So many of us, probably more than who care to admit it, struggle with confidence and self-esteem. I fully confess I am one of the least confident people EVER. I am quick to criticize myself and assume other people are criticizing me the same. Yet, I do not EXPECT people to make inappropriate comments. It is a choice. I do not think I am better than someone else because I can spend time working out nor do I think someone is less than me because they may not prioritize fitness (hell that is why I am a coach and a trainer. I choose to help people who are stuck rather than treat them like they are beneath me and unworthy).
When we have an awareness about our thoughts and our beliefs, that is when we can change them and inevitably change what the universe gives us. We will find that when we make it our mission to “never” let anyone do something to us again, it is still going to happen.
If we change our story instead from “I am never going to let haters belittle me again” to “I am going to work on myself and surround myself with other inspiring, positive people” Guess what? The haters go away.