The things we can’t control

A couple of days ago I read a post on Instagram about a woman that begged people not to make fake pregnancy jokes on April 1st because it deeply hurted her. For what I’ve seen on her account, she’s had multiple miscarriages and now she has three beautiful kids and a life full of difficult situations as well as blessings, just like most normal people. I can’t describe how many thoughts that post provoked me. And this is not about that woman or her Instagram post, it is about me and how I am currently handling taking things personally, judgment and kindness.

Before going to therapy, my mentality before doing many things I wanted to do was: “If I do X, surely people will think X”. I had specific scripts and scenarios for each one of my actions, which detailed what other people were going to think or say about them. After going to therapy I began to see what it really was and learned five things that are helping me to reframe those thoughts.

  1. That behavior is born from the ideas that I have learned from the people before me (parents, teachers, church, society in general) and that I have accepted as truths to live by (ideas about God, beauty, ethics, morals values, etc…). They are not necessarily real to me and don’t define who I am, but I accepted them long before I had a mind of my own.
  2. I can’t assume what another person is thinking or feeling. I don’t know the person and the person doesn’t know me. It’s very likely that that person isn’t thinking anything about me because they do not care. And if they’re thinking something, whether positive or negative, it is based on his/her own experiences, beliefs, and knowledge, which are different from mine, hence they have nothing to do with me.
  3. I can’t control what others think, say, or do. The circumstances and experiences that surround each person are the factors that actually shape people, not my will of changing their minds.
  4. However, I do have control of my own thoughts, ideas, beliefs and opinions. Hence, it’s my responsibility to identify when something triggers me, acknowledge that I can’t control external factors and work from within to prevent that from negatively impacting my life.
  5. I am also in control of being kind to those who make comments that hurt me, even when they mean no harm. I can choose to acknowledge that behind all we can see, everyone is fighting battles we know nothing about.

Random photo of something I drew a couple of weeks ago.

I have often felt attacked when another person talks about overweight or physical appearance, especially in socia media. Since the subject affects me, I always perceive it as derogatory and as a personal attack towards me and my overweight. People talk about it everyday and everywhere. It mortifies me, it makes me think horrible of myself. But I can’t make other people stop talking about it just because it hurts me. While I’m trying to love myself in this body, there’s people who deeply believe in being fit (for whatever reason) and that is also a valid opinion.

Of course, many people use their opinion to intentionally hurt others, not just to express their thinking. But yet I cannot take it personally even if it affects me. Even if I stand on the highest mountain and beg people to stop fat shaming or stop sharing their “before and after” photos because they trigger me, I am not going to achieve anything. Not only because I am not respecting their opinions, but also because it is not up to me to change them.

It is my responsibility to look within and see who I really am and embrace the fact that my overweight does not determine my value, even though the world continues to yell at me that the only way to be attractive, successful and valuable is by being skinny. I must get rid of that beauty ideal that is not letting me live happily with the body I now have.

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