Tomorrow, Mell and I are dropping our first full question an answer episode on The Strong Family Project. This question jumped out to me:
Here’s one of the questions we’ll tackle:So something happened today that has been on my mind ever since and I feel like you might be the only one who gets how I’m feeling. Dropped the kids off at their grandmother’s I was offered punch and cookies I declined politely. I was pressured further. I said I don’t eat like that at all. Then was told I was missing out. These people knew the 350 plus pound version of me. They saw my transformation. And I’m kind of put off that they would put pressure on me like that. If I was an alcoholic or a drug addict would they feel ok offering me that? I know it’s an extreme analogy but eating the right stuff takes alot of discipline on my part. I just wondered if you had battled any of that type of stuff.
There’s a lot going on here. First, I’m very proud of this person (redacting name). He’s done a tremendous job with weight loss and redirecting his life from hanging out at bars each night to hanging out at our gym.
He’s role modeling for his kids and including them now too. Heck of a job. He knows I went from 300+ lbs while playing college football to 230 lbs now.
In both cases, that doesn’t take swapping a breadstick for salad. That takes a full lifestyle overhaul. While you can leave old habits and even old friends behind, it’s a lot tougher with family.
There’s a few options of things going on here psychologically:
- Rejection of a lifestyle that that person lives can be viewed by them as a rejection of their values.
- Perhaps they’ve tried and failed on what you just did. Instead of facing that tough truth, it’s easier to down play your accomplishment.
- They hold onto a few compliments. He/she “is a great cook” “a great artist” “a caring parent.” Typically (and sadly) we’re going to hear the same handful of compliments during our life. The more we hear them, the more we try to hear them again so we lean into those limited attributes and associated our value with them.
- You’re very different and they’re pretty close to the same. They were able to give you X (junk food in this case) before and received thanks. Now they received no thank you’s.
Most of these sound obvious when we talk about them outside of the situation. Inside the moment is a different ball game.
I’m putting these words to you so you can see which one explains what’s going on AND de-escalates the natural reaction of being angry.
Instead of getting angry, get interested.
First, consider how you can hold your values AND redirect to something else of value that person provides. Here’s how:
And second, hold your values regardless. If you struggle navigating through the video above, try holding your values WHILE using a serious and respectful tone of voice.
Don’t quick fire responses.
Say less but mean more.
Slow your heart rate down.
Control your non-verbal reactions.
Move on with an easy, “well, we’re not going to see eye to eye on this one” and go about your day.
Serious people have their serious values respected. There’s no room for adult temper tantrums. You’re in control of your reactions in every situation.