When you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you might think that it will be easy to find support from pretty much everyone around you, but it has been my experience that criticism comes from some pretty surprising places. From some people, it can feel as though they are giving you a huge hug with all the great things they say and do when you start living more healthfully and trying to treat yourself with a respect for your nutrition and fitness.
However, there are others who can make you feel like you’re suddenly under attack. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to be calmly prepared for criticisms you might face, even if they come from some of the people who love you unconditionally in your life. You don’t need to feel as though you’re at war with the people with whom you’re closest, and you don’t need to change your goals just because someone else doesn’t feel they’re right. Moreover, you also don’t need to avoid gatherings and meetings with people who have been critical of you just because you want to avoid the verbal pokes and prods at the efforts you’re making.
The key is to gain the right perspective and know how to react when criticisms happen.
View criticism as worry – Many people criticize changes their loved ones make because they’re worried about the reasons that motivated those changes. It may seem strange, but it is easy for someone to feel that the reason you’re trying to lose weight or eat more healthfully is because you have poor self image, low self confidence or you are otherwise dissatisfied with yourself. Therefore, they express disapproval for what you’re doing in a kind of misguided caring. They’re worried about you so they try to encourage you to be who you are in their eyes – a person who sticks to his or her old habits. Reminding yourself of the root of the criticisms can help you to better receive them.
Talk about it – While you can remind yourself that people are criticizing because they care, it doesn’t mean you need to silently put up with it. Speak to the people behind the harsh words. Tell them you know they care and that you understand that what they’re saying comes from love and worry but that their words are hurting you and that it would be more helpful to you if they found a new way to show you they care. Offer them alternative ways to show you their concerns without just cutting into what you’re trying to accomplish.
Know that there isn’t any benefit to negativity – All negativity does is sit there and be negative. It doesn’t improve any situation. Tell your relatives and friends that if they really want to help you, telling you what they think you’re doing wrong isn’t the way. They need to decide whether they’re being mean for the sake of it or if there is a better message they could be sharing with you. If someone is in the habit of being a bully, is acting out on their own insecurities or is critical because they feel good by putting other people down, that’s not your fault. That said, you don’t need to tolerate it either.