Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sometimes a comment is just a comment

Guys have you ever been in a situation where someone makes a comment or observation about you and your first thought is to dismiss it? I know I have. Let me share a recent experience with you.

A few weeks ago I was just coming into the office for the day and one of the women that work in the building (different department though) strikes up a conversation. We are talking about some random stuff when out of nowhere she comments that I look slimmer.

Okay there is no need for me retell my feelings about my body but for those of you who don't come here often bear in mind that my opinion of my body is something I've been working on in the last few years. However even after years of work is it still hard not to rush back to that old familiar "I hate my body" comfort zone. The most common manifestation of this comfort zone is an automatic disbelief when anyone makes an observation/comment on my body that might be positive*. Imagine having an auto response that kicks off remarks like this:
"Oh no but I wish I was."

"Yeah, right."

"They're just making conversation."

"Does that mean I'm fat?"

"And I bet you really believe that don't you?"
Yes a sharp tongue can lead to a bloody mouth.

That's the kind of thing that a lot of guys have been dealing with and are dealing with. The idea that such comments about ones body are either lies, small talk, or a jabbing insult.

This is the type of thing that I have had to work on overriding when they come up. What if to each other those responses I responded with:
"Oh but maybe I am and I don't notice it because of my own doubts?"

"Yes, that is right."

"They're just making conversation about my slimming down."

"Yes it does and it also means that I might be losing weight."

"Well if they didn't they wouldn't be saying it would they?"

Don't get me wrong. There are huge cultural changes that need to be wrought when it comes to how we feel our bodies. Our size is often translated into being unintelligent, brutish, jock-like, lazy, slobbish, unhealty, and all sorts of other things. It would do a lot of good if these illusions were broken but at the same time we have to work on the personal internal stuff as well.

* - I say "that might be positive" because it's possible that the person making the comment may not mean it in a positive or negative way. Just saying "you seem to have lost weight.", which she did say she meant as just an observation rather than good or bad.