“Mom, I’m thinking about making this vintage skirt a little bit shorter, so it hits just below the knee. What do you think?”
“There is definitely something wrong with this skirt. It makes you fatter. it might also have something to do with the top you’re wearing with it, it doesn’t make your body better and you look fat in this.”
This was a conversation I had with my mom last week. My mom loves me, and I love her cause that’s what you do with your mom, but I have no doubt that she would be more proud of me if I lost 30 kilo’s. It’s weird to blog about bodypositivity and at the same time have people so close around me that don’t share those beliefs. I know I’m not the only one. I get lots of mails and questions from followers, telling me that their parents/friends/colleagues/boyfriend doesn’t like the way they look, and what they should do about it. So I thought I’d share my story, and maybe there’s something in it for you too.
The outfit. A vintage leopard skirt and a boxed top that says “unicorns are real”. Fun and comfi, a favorite outfit to wear around the house on lazy days.
How to deal with negative comments from loved ones
My first respons is always this: get rid of them. Especially in the case of friends and boyfriends, this is the way to go. It’s important to surround yourself with people who get it. You won’t believe how much more energy and headspace you get after removing toxic people from your friendlist, and how great it is to be surrounded by people that love and support you. Cause honestly; life is too short for negative bullshit, and I don’t want every hour of my life to be a struggle.
If cutting out is not an option, you can always try talking to them. Explain how your comments make you feel. I’ve tried this with my mom, but it hasn’t made a difference. So I went looking for ways to deal with negative comments instead. Here’s what does work for me.
What works for me
Don’t seek out opinions
I don’t ask her if I look good in an outfit, I don’t talk about my struggle with finding good gymwear and I don’t consult her when I’m shopping for dresses online. Ofcourse people will still give their (unsolicited) opinion from time to time (see example above), but at least this way it’s limited to a minimum.
Accept that validation may never come
I’ve been craving my parents approval for as long as I can remember, and even now as an adult I still do, but I’ve come to accept it may never come. And you know what, that’s okay, cause I’m living this life for myself, not for anyone else. So workout because YOU love it, wear clothes that make YOU happy and take care of yourself because YOU deserve it, not because others want you to.
Let shit go sometimes
I believe in fighting for what you believe in. I also believe that life should not be an eternal fight. Even though certain comments hurt me sometimes, I try to spend as little energy as I possibly can on them. Instead, I focus on the positive aspects of our relationship and go from there. In the example above, I just said “okay mom” and that was it. I loved this outfit before our conversation, and I still love it now.
Surround yourself with people who get it
I’ve mentioned this above already, but I really can not stress enough how important this part is. It’s so much easier to deal with negative reactions if you have a support system of awesome people you love and who love you, and of people you can look up to. In the end, there’s the family you are born with, and the family you build yourself. Make sure at least one of those loves you right.
How do you deal with negative influences in your life?