This may seem like a weird article for the first post. But this is important to me, and I know it is important to many others, so I felt compelled to write it. A close friend of mine has decided to lose a substantial amount of weight. A mutual friend of ours is also overweight and has not been supportive at all. In fact, this mutual friend actively tells my friend who wants to lose the weight that he is going to regain it all back up quickly as soon as he is off the diet. Through online discussion boards, I’ve heard countless tales of family members and friends doing this same aggravating thing.
So what’s the deal? Why are they doing this?
The sad truth is that they are jealous. You have embarked on a path to become healthier and more fit, and these loved ones don’t want to see that happen. With you bettering yourself, you will consequently make them look worse by comparison. It is an ugly part of human nature that many people when faced with this kind of situation act like a crab trying to pull the escaping crab back into the bucket. I don’t know much about crab psychology, but we humans can be very selfish. Most of us also like to take the path of least resistance. When confronted with the realization that a friend or loved one is trying to get healthy and fit, many will decide to discourage them instead of taking that as an inspiration for action.
If you are going through this problem with loved ones hindering you, you probably already know everything I’ve written here. But it is important to think about it consciously. It is easy to understand something, and yet let it beat you down regardless.
So what can you do about this?
You can take a kind and diplomatic approach and offer to help your loved ones and have them join you in your endeavor. Plan your diet with them and exercise with them. If they are open to that idea, fantastic! You will now have a new supporter and companion. Instead of discouragement, you will receive encouragement. This diplomatic approach is certainly the ideal situation.
But realistically, this cannot happen for everyone. Additionally, depending on how many people are jealous of your progress, it could become inconvenient quickly. So if the diplomatic approach does not work, take the stoic approach. That is to say, do not let what other people think about you influence you. To paraphrase a great philosopher: “Do not get upset when people are acting according to their nature.” That is to say when these people want to pull you down, understand that this jealousy is just a part of who they are.
Remember: the only person you can change is yourself, no one else. So obviously you are not at fault. The only thing you can do is not to talk about your diet and fitness around these people. Talking about it with them may bring back their jealousy, so just avoid the subject if you can. If they are the ones to bring it up, there is nothing to do about that except don’t let what they say get to you.
What to do if you think you might be the discouraging friend
It is always an unfortunate realization when you may be at fault for hurting a loved one when you don’t realize you are doing it. But realization is the first step, so bravo to you for seeing what’s really happening.
So what can you do?
Apologies are always good, but if you don’t want to do that, actively not discouraging them is a good first step. If your jealousy won’t allow you to encourage them, the very least you can do is to be neutral on the matter. But you could choose instead to take this friend as a source of inspiration. Ask them what they are doing and if they can give you some advice. I have never met someone who has decided to go on a diet and get fit that wasn’t excited to talk about it to anyone who asked.
Regardless of what you do, be the good person and don’t discourage your loved ones. You are important to them and your negative actions can confuse and upset them.
If you are going through this struggle, then I hope this article is some help to you. I’ll say it again: you probably already knew this stuff, but it is easy to let yourself get beat up regardless. Don’t let the haters get to you. You are doing great things, no matter what anyone says.
It is disappointing that there are people out there that do this. A lot of people, unfortunately. But we humans are often like the crabs.