“Why is that?” I ask.
“She says it’s all I do anymore.” He says.
“Aren’t you only coming in 3-4 days a week for about an hour?” I ask.
“Yes...but she doesn’t like that I’m enjoying it. She picks at me constantly.” He says. He then goes on to tell me some of things she has said to him. They were not pretty.
“Well, you cannot control what she says. You can only control your reaction.” I answer.
“That is very true...she is stressing me out.” He says.
“Try not to let her comments stress you. It sounds like she doesn’t understand how beneficial this is for you since she doesn’t exercise herself. I would explain to her that you need to take these hours for yourself, and that you are not quitting. Maybe you could ask her come with you. I could set her up on a program too.” I answer.
“Maybe that will work.” He says. He thanks me for the help. I let him know that this is very common issue among couples.
There are many significant others (and friends) who do not support their loved ones in their journey to health and fitness. Many times it is a direct result of insecurity in the relationship or lack of self-esteem. I find myself constantly working with clients on establishing boundaries with loved ones.
Merriam-Webster defines “boundaries” as :
unofficial rules about what should not be done : limits that define acceptable behavior
Have you set boundaries?
Do you tell other people what they are?
If you are to become the strongest version of yourself, you must develop the ability to set and communicate your boundaries with the people in your life...even if that person is a significant other or close family member.
If they are sabotaging you (or discouraging you), you need to set a boundary. You need to let them know what they are saying or doing is hurtful to you and your goals. You may not be able to control their actions, but you can control whether or not you allow them to discourage you .
I will not pretend to be a therapist, or a relationship expert. However, you deserve to have relationships where you are respected. If you discover you are not, I would encourage you to take the steps necessary to work through the issue...if you want to keep the relationship. You may decide that certain relationships or friendships are not right for you. You cannot let someone else’s insecurity or lack of self-esteem bring you down, or hold you back from becoming the strongest version of yourself.
When I choose a topic to blog about (without knowing at the time how I’m going to explain my point) many times life brings me personal examples right on time. This last week was no exception…I had to be honest with a couple people, and explain that I did not want to keep speaking with them on an ongoing basis. One person had constant critical comments of me and my life, and with the second I did not appreciate their level of dishonesty.
During the last 6 months (as I was studying for exams and “resetting” my life) I committed to myself not to start (or continue) friendships with people who do not respect my boundaries or who are “unhealthy”. I have a clear direction I want to go in my life, and I am realistic about how much the people in it affect my well being. I know that anyone who truly cares for me would respect any boundaries I’ve put in place. I know that a truly healthy person would behave in a respectful way right from the start of a relationship. With trimming away these “friendships” I have been able to spend my time with people who I truly love and care about. I have been able to see those relationships become stronger.
It is ok to let people know that you cannot have them in your daily or weekly life.
It is ok to tell someone that you would rather just say hello to them in passing, or keep up with them on Facebook.
You do not have to answer to someone who always has some kind of problem with you. You do not have to keep in contact regularly with someone who’s dishonesty has caused you to feel like you’ve been stung by a jellyfish.
You can say “I am done with this relationship/friendship. This has become too painful/stressful for me.”
You do not have to please everyone.
Not everyone has to like you.
Set your boundaries and watch how quickly your strength increases!