Three Truths and One Wish

There’s a background story to today’s list, and I feel compelled to share it. I posted the above picture last week to both Facebook and Instagram, with the caption,

Midday snack cause my 2nd breakfast lasted a long time so I skipped lunch but won’t quite make it to dinner. Every time I eat a banana, I still think “fuck you, Dr. A.” (who told me I shouldn’t be eating bananas because they have too many carbs).

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you’ve heard the story of Dr. A.  You know that I was a disordered eater for 30+ years and had a long term abusive relationship with myself, and all the work I’ve done to heal those things. You know I’d rather be fat for the rest of my life than go back to living that particular hell. You know how I feel about the importance of fat acceptance and how strongly I believe in the Health at Every Size movement. You might have also figured out I don’t like being told what to do.

On Facebook, there clearly was one person who didn’t know any of this about me. I accepted her friend request on Facebook a few weeks ago because she is part of one of my spiritual communities. I almost ignored her request because even though we clearly share some practices and philosophical beliefs, she listed herself as a “weight loss coach.” I knew there was the potential for a problem, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I shouldn’t have. In response to the picture and caption above, she posted the comment, “How many carbs are in those muffins? That snack needs more protein.”

I wish I could say that I replied in a skillful way, one that was kind but made it clear I didn’t need her to comment on what I chose to eat, but I didn’t. I threw a little fit in my own mind, told her off in the secret space of my own head, unfriended and blocked her, and then deleted the comment from my page. What I meant to say was…

1. Truth: Don’t give advice unless someone asks you for it directly. This applies to people you know well as equally as it does to people you don’t know anything about. It is true even if you just so happen to be an expert on a subject, particularly skilled or knowledgeable. Unless someone asks you “what do you think I should do?” or requests your help, stay out of it.

2. Truth: Unsolicited advice is at best rude and at worst an act of aggression. No one asked you. To get involved, assert your beliefs as right, true, and correct, to demand that someone else with a completely different experience comply with your direction — especially when you don’t know their whole story — isn’t helpful. In fact, you might actually be doing harm.

3. Truth: Don’t tell me what to do. People want to be heard, they want the space and support to figure out stuff for themselves. If you can’t help but go around telling other people what to do, maybe take a look at yourself, and focus on fixing what you find there.

One wish: May we trust other people to find their own truths, may we stay out of their way as they do their own work, and may we show up ready to help when we are invited.

P.S. I’ve written about this before.

6 thoughts on “Three Truths and One Wish

  1. MJ

    Your truths really stopped me in my tracks. So clear, so concise, so truthful…I need to pin this up and honor it in my own home. Courageous and kind. Words I could hear and process.
    Thank you
    PS Before reading the post I was drooling over your food photo thinking I wish it was for me: Yum. I had no idea it was a hot topic.
    Why haven’t I done something like this before I asked myself.

    Reply
  2. lolshelley

    Agree totally Jill. We had a horrible experience at an Adele concert recently. My sister, daughters and some friends got up to dance, as half the stadium were. Next minute my daughter is sitting down on the verge of tears. I was too far away to hear what had happened but apparently an older woman seated behind my daughter told them to all sit down. My sister replied ‘we are allowed to stand.’ This horrid excuse for a human then points at my curvy 5ft 11″ daughter and says ‘I can’t see past her. She’s too fat!’ 😡 Apart from the fact this woman was double my daughter’s size and at an Adele concert, an artist who not only embraces her curves but denounces body shaming, HOW DARE SHE SAY THAT!!!! I was fuming and death-stared her for about 20 minutes before going to the bathroom.

    On the way back to my seat I spotted a female security guard around her thirties. Upset, I told her what had happened and how this woman had ruined the concert for us. She turns to me and says ‘come point her out to me.’ We wander down to our seats and I point at the woman and say aloud ‘that’s her.’

    Everyone turns to see what has happened as the security guard tells the woman that not only can we do what we want in the seat we have hired but also that if she continues to harass us, she will be removed. The horrid woman then tells the guard that she has just ruined her night and the guard replied ‘Goid! Because you ruined theirs!’

    I only wish Adele could have been privy to the events as she too would have berated this hideous woman for body shaming.

    Reply
  3. Mary

    I had my own experience with Dr. A. I wish I’d known you well enough then that you would have asked me about her and I could tell you to run like hell in the opposite direction. When she was my doctor, she misdiagnosed a broken foot and pneumonia, telling me that I was pretty much just being dramatic and a hypochondriac. I wasn’t THAT sick or in THAT much pain. Two X-rays, one of my foot and one of my lungs, proved her wrong. She was patronizing, offensive and critical. I’m sorry she still has her medical license. And, with regard to your thoughts on giving advice. Amen to all of them. And that goes for ALL advice. My husband has three cancers, and I can’t tell you how many people, strangers and acquaintances tell us what he should or shouldn’t be doing to heal his cancer. I am so sick of it. Don’t they think we have any brains at all and are talking to professionals, doing our own research? Okay, off my soap box now. Thanks for an important message again, Jill.

    Reply
    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Cancer and weight seem to bring out the worst, most critical and self-righteous part of people. I don’t have kids, but I’ve heard parenting is another place where people feel like they can give unsolicited advice, and by doing so typically end up doing more harm than good.

      Reply

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