I have spent my entire life labeled as a picky eater–a “phase” that started when I was a child and never ended for me. Going on dates, going to work events, and going to someone’s house for dinner all leave me with a touch of anxiety. Vegetarians, vegans, or those with food allergies know exactly what I’m talking about:
- Will I like the food being served?
- Will they have an alternative to the main steak meal?
- Will I be judged if I just eat the side dish and move my food around my plate to make it look like I had a few bites?
- Will someone inevitably make a comment, causing me to feel awkward, ashamed, and needing to explain myself?
Being a picky eater isn’t something I am proud of. In fact, if I could change something about myself, that would be high on the list. I would LOVE to eat every single item on a menu, indulge in fruits and vegetables rather than ice cream (lol maybe?), and be an all around healthy eater, but alas, brain chemicals, my upbringing, my genes, etc. have some other plans for me.
Furthermore, I am approaching a point in my life where I don’t feel the need to explain or justify my actions to others, as I am an adult, and newsflash: I can do what I want.
But Amy, you should really eat better! Why, thank you! Guess I would have never thought of that myself!
Of course, the occasional jokes and harmless banter here and there don’t bother me, and in fact, it shows me that my friends truly know me and know my humor. It is the preaching that gets to me.
New moms, vegans, vegetarians, and anyone who has ever lived have probably experienced the slight annoyance that comes with unsolicited advice. Most of us out there are highly appreciative that others want to help and offer support, and in fact, we all need it from time to time. On the flip side, most of us are incredibly aware of our short comings and would change them if we could.
To all of the new moms out there: Breastfeed or don’t! Stay at home with the baby or go back to work! Do what is best for you and your family, as no one else knows your full situation or circumstances. And even if they did, it’s none of their business. Those still dating past their mid-twenties: you keep chugging along. Ignore those who tell you its high time to settle down or just find someone. When the time is right, you will. Same to all of the picky eaters–eat what you can and what you want. As my mom always said, to each their own.
I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to work my way through my own challenges, and to those who have supported me along the way, I highly appreciate it. Good support and kindness is underrated and irreplaceable.
I want to offer some tips for giving advice, which we all need reminding of from time to time:
- Simply ask the person if they would like advice. Sometimes, people just need to rant.
- Remember, the person has been dealing with their problem much longer than you have witnessed it. Chances are high that they have put a considerable amount of time and effort into reviewing their options and solutions.
- With that, when offering support, rather than telling someone what to do, preface with, “Have you considered trying XXXXX?”
- Offer support. Most people who have large issues know how to fix their own problem and what they are looking for is long-term support and encouragement from someone they trust in order for them to actually execute their solutions.
- If someone opens up to you about a personal problem, they are putting their trust in you. Try not to judge, as easy as it seems. Remember, something that seems easy to you may be hard for another person, but the opposite is also very true.
“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” -Paulo Coelho