Let me tell you about a crappy thing that happened about six months ago.
I went to a rink on some business, mainly meeting up with a scorekeeper to collect some money and tie up some loose ends, as we were getting rid of the league that we run in that rink.
I met him in the parking lot and we engaged in normal casual conversation. He handed me a personal check in the amount of money the players had owed my company and some leftover jerseys he had in his car.
As we got ready to say our goodbyes, he turned to me and said, “You know, you’ve really gained some weight.”
I was in shock that someone would actually say this to me. Normally this is the kind of thing you notice but keep to yourself, because unless you’re married to me, I don’t think it’s your place to say that. I was hurt.
I mean, he was right, of course. I’d gained about 15lbs. I’d been battling a lower body injury that made it really difficult to exercise without pain. I was depressed. I was eating garbage because I was depressed. So yes, I had gained weight. But he didn’t know me! He didn’t know me well at all. What gives him the right to say that?
I stood there. I didn’t know what to say. He was not exactly the picture of perfect health either. Far from it, actually. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Who says that?!
“Uhhh…yeah…I guess so…” I mumbled and got in my car.
I drove back to my office. I only made it a few steps inside before I told my boss that the scorekeeper said I’d gained weight and I burst into tears. I was so upset and definitely not happy that I couldn’t control my emotions so much that I was crying in my boss’ office! (Not the first time that’s happened though and probably won’t be the last.)
Of course I spent a few days being upset about it, but what I really needed to gain (no pun intended) was some perspective. I needed to think about where this comment came from. It was not about the weight I’d gained.
This man was frustrated and upset to see our league end because he had kept score for it for more than ten years – way longer than I’d even been at my job. Without much of a steady income other than scorekeeping – out of work on disability, thanks to his own unhealthy lifestyle that lead him to obesity, diabetes and numerous hospital stays – losing a job that paid him $30 per week really did mean a lot to him. He was angry. He decided to take his anger out on me.
It wasn’t about me. He said this to me to make himself feel better. Unfortunately he just made himself look like a jerk. Truly great people lift others up when they’re down. The lowest of the low try to drag you down with them. I had to take some time to understand his situation.
The truth is, I feel bad for him. I have lost the 15lbs…actually I have lost more than 15lbs pounds. You can’t fix ugly…on the inside or the outside.
I told some of my family and friends about this incident and it turns out that I just got more and more amazed by what people think it’s okay to say to others.
Some people think they’re actually being nice when they toss you a back-handed compliment about how good you used to look, or that they’re really helping you when they send you an unsolicited lifetime subscription to Weight Watchers magazine.
Take these things with a grain of salt. It is not about you. The person on the other side of a mean-spirited comment or action is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Or maybe they’re just a horrible person.
Either way, they are not worthy of you.