I have a little story about getting a document notorized. Stay with me here. I’m in the process of getting my dietetic license in Missouri since I’ve recently moved. I went to the bank inside the grocery store to get the application notorized, and once the bank teller sees that I’m a dietitian, he tries to strike up some conversation.
Bank Teller: So you’re a dietitian. I could really use some help losing weight. (*looks at me expectantly… like I can solve his issue in these few moments that we have together. Did I mention I had my newborn with me? And a cart full of perishable groceries?)
Me: Well, it’s a process…
BT: So, like, do you work with people to help them lose weight…put them on diets?
Me: I actually work with people who have eating disorders.
BT: OH. *pause* Like, anorexia? Like people who make themselves throw up?
Me: Uh, yea. (I really wasn’t in the mood for talking…the baby, the frozen foods…)
BT: You know, I wish I could have that…that eating disorder… juuuust for a month, just so I can lose this weight. *rubs belly area*
Unfortunately, there are lots of misconceptions about eating disorders. You may have a lengthy list of hurtful things people have said to you in reference to your eating or your body or your eating disorder. I’ve heard plenty of stories from previous clients and it can be infuriating! From a well-meaning aunt at the dinner table, the person selling you jeans at Gap, a doctor without training in eating disorders…these comments can come from anyone.
The way I see it, there are two options for how to react:
- Become infuriated > fixate on what the person said > think of 7,000 reasons why that comment and that person are totally messed up and stupid > continue to ruminate and let the comment ruin your entire day
- Become infuratied > acknowledge your emotions and find your rational mind for a moment > tell yourself the comment wasn’t true and the person probably didn’t mean harm > continue on with your day
I know, I know, option 2 isn’t as easy as I’m describing. But you have a power and a strength within you that can help you through it…the Holy Spirit. And so did Jesus. When he was being crucified, he asked God to forgive the people who were unjustly inflicting pain and suffering on him:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
So I encourage you to think of Jesus and this verse when the next ignorant comment comes flying your way. “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Forgive them. Pray for them. It doesn’t make what they said right. It doesn’t mean you agree with them or even like them. It is what God wants us to do.
You know what…I’m going go pray for that bank teller right now.
Share your comments — what are some benefits of forgiving a person of saying something hurtful