We all know the definition of “perspective”. In case you don’t it is defined as, “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view”. Sometimes our perspective is clouded or misguided. Sometimes we think other people don’t understand, but really if we look deep inside we see maybe it’s me looking at things wrong. Have you ever had that moment when you realize maybe you have been viewing things the wrong way? Maybe it’s not what they are saying, but the way you are interpreting it? That moment happened for me today.
The other day I was around some other women – most of them very fit or very close to it. And yet for several minutes their conversation was centered around the fact that they haven’t worked out enough. There were comments about slacking off on working out or skipping workouts, etc. The topic also centered around food. How much someone had overeaten, how many calories were in a certain food, how some had cut out sugar and what they substituted or made that was sugar-free, what foods are good to eat because they were low in calories, etc.
Being overweight most of my life this has always been a pet peeve of mine. Anytime I am around someone thinner than I am and they carry on about their weight, or their eating habits, or their exercise habits, etc. it has bothered me. This is the part that is hard to understand for people who aren’t overweight or never have been. But this is how it is viewed by someone in my position. (Hang on – we’re taking a trip inside my head which can be a very scary place to be!) 🙂 The thought process when Person A (who is much smaller and often fit, not overweight at all) is in the presence of Person B (who is overweight like myself) and they talk about how much weight they need to lose, how they need to work out, how they eat too much, etc. goes like this….Person B hears what Person A says but it is magnified 100 times in Person B’s head. In my case – if someone who is fit says they need to lose weight, my thought instantly is “Well if she needs to lose weight and she is already “x” pounds less than I am, then I definitely need to lose weight! If being “x” pounds is overweight then that means if I am “xx” pounds I am massively overweight. If this opinion is voiced out loud it is usually followed up by Person A saying something to the effect of, “Oh you’re not fat. I’m the one that’s fat.” Hmmmm…..does this seem logical to you? Let’s put this where we can understand….which of the following lines is longer? ____ or ________________? Clearly the 2nd one, correct? Well if you draw line 1 and someone says that’s too long, you’re definitely not going to draw line 2 are you? Because that has to be too long if the first one is. Same with talking about weight. If you are “x” pounds and say you are overweight, you are automatically saying anyone over “x” pounds is overweight. You are categorizing them by your self-perspective. The same applies to the other scenarios as well.
So, when I am surrounded by these women saying they need to work out, how many calories to eat, etc. my first reaction is to attack myself. Well, if they are “x” pounds and they aren’t working out then since I am “xx” pounds I need to be working out more. If they are watching “x” calories then I need to watch “xx” calories. If they cut out all sugar, I need to cut out all sugar and carbs and anything else that could lead to weight gain if I consume it. In my head it is instantly magnified to account for how much bigger I am than they are.
Naturally this got to me. I didn’t want to say anything to the ladies talking about it b/c then you get the “oh you don’t need to ‘fill in the blank here’ – you’re fine the way you are!” comment. So instead I messaged a friend and vented a bit. Well today this friend and I had a talk about perspective. They pointed out that:
1. I should not compare myself to others. Everyone is made differently and it’s just not possible to compare to others. Everyone has a different body structure, different metabolism, etc. Yes I understand this but sometimes it’s hard to get your head and heart to agree on something.
2. It boils down to accountability. If these women missed their workout, ate something they shouldn’t have, etc. and they voice it out loud, its not voicing the opinion of what they think and thereby grouping everyone larger into a worse category (as I always magnified it to be). They may be voicing it out loud – in a way admitting to others – to hold themselves accountable. If they don’t say it out loud and admit it then they may blow it off. Yet when they do voice it and admit it they are confronting it and therefore holding themselves accountable. We all know its much easier to hold yourself accountable if you have others to hold you accountable as well. To be honest, that is another reason why I started this blog. If I announce it to the world (so to speak) then I have to hold myself accountable to it. And for those of you reading, you now have the authority to hold me accountable to it as well.
And that’s where it all clicked. That’s where it all changed my perspective. That’s where I realized all this time I thought they were in the wrong for making me feel this way (whether intentional or unintentional) but I was actually the one in the wrong b/c I was looking at it the wrong way. I had to change my perspective. I see now that they don’t mean any harm by it (although I never thought they meant harm by it intentionally just to clarify. Even though it hurt it’s never a direct accusation in these instances). I just could not understand how they could not see it my way. I couldn’t see why they didn’t understand. Funny thing is I was so upset at the fact that they couldn’t see my point of view that I never tried to see theirs. Maybe it does all boil down to accountability. Or maybe they are just as insecure as I am. Maybe they are just holding themselves accountable by saying it out loud to others who will hold them accountable. Whatever the reason, I can now view it in a different way. I have a different attitude about it and see it from their point of view. I now understand because I now have a different perspective. And all this time I thought they had it wrong! What an eye-opener perspective can be!