Dear Supermarket Bully
You don’t know me, neither do you know the other middle-aged man you were speaking to. You do not know his story. You do not know what he is dealing with. I heard your words and I saw your disapproving face. Yes, he did have a lot of ice tea and coke in his trolley, but does that mean that you should ask why he has so much, then mutter disapprovingly about the sugar and walk off, leaving him with your judgements freshly in his mind.
What do you think that will achieve? Yes, there is a chance that maybe it will make him think about what he eats/drinks, but there is also a strong possibility that your words cut further into hurts that he already feels. Hurts that are very real. Hurts that may well lead to further unhealthy choices.
Does the fact that you appear fitter than him qualify you to leave these possibly hurtful words with this man who you do not know? Would you have made the same comment if he was not overweight?
Supermarket bully, I wish I had had the courage to speak to you in the shop. To tell you how I feel. To stop it from happening again.
More than most people I want that man who we do not know to make better choices while shopping. To lose weight. To increase his health. To FEEL GOOD! But come on, passing comments in the supermarket is not the best way to achieve this. The words we use have real power to break down. Please can we try to use our words to rather build up!
Yours (very) sincerely,
Registered Dietitian trying to help people live a healthy lifestyle
*Judging others is a dangerous thing, especially when it comes to food intake and weight. A poorly thought out comment could be the thing that causes someone else to spiral out of control into a battle within themselves. Although I did not have the courage to speak to this man in the supermarket, I hope that this post will at least get one person to think about how they use their words and begin to use them gently to build others up, encourage and bring healing.
This does not just apply to what I saw today, but to comments or other forms of bullying in your workplace, home, school or any other place.