With the holidays approaching it can be tricky navigating conversations with family members - especially those you haven’t seen in some time. Over the course of a year people can change in their physical appearance and sadly there is a social precedent to comment on those changes. But, here is why that can be dangerous to speak about or make note of either way…
“Oh wow, you have lost weight, you look GREAT!”
Society glorifies and amplifies weight loss, regardless of whether or not the individual had a healthy avenue to it.
That individual could have gone through a very messy break-up and had no appetite due to the grieving of the loss. The weight could have come off in an unhealthy manner but now being complimented on it, they could think that people approve of them more now so why not continue the unhealthy eating patterns?
“I know I gained some weight at Thanksgiving and really need to work it off ASAP. I wish I could be as disciplined as you.”
We in a Westernized area are conditioned to believe weight gain is a sign of laziness or lack of discipline.
What if instead you thought of the weight gain as a natural follow up to an enjoyable day with friends and family? That life is all about balance and you don’t always have to restrict yourself in order to be “healthy” but occasional indulgence is a sign of a healthy life too.
If you are not sure how to compliment someone without noting on their outward appearance, here are some suggestions:
- You lighten up every room you walk into
- Your confidence is something I aspire to have
- I consistently learn from you
- The way you treat people is beautiful
- Your authenticity gives me the freedom to be myself
When in doubt, if you think of something kind to say - say it! But, ask yourself “is this a compliment about who this person truly is, or just what they look like?”