Committing to living a healthy lifestyle comes with a countless number of benefits—more energy, better mood, less stress, and clearer skin. The one downside? You may now have to figure out how to deal with judgement over your new choices. Maybe it's your coworkers commenting on your decision to always bring salad for lunch, or your partner is bummed that you want to go to yoga after dinner instead of vegging out and watching TV together. It could even be your best friend saying that you're no fun anymore because you'd rather grab a green juice for breakfast than get pancakes at the local diner. Luckily, there are ways to cope with these situations and avoid feeling guilty over your choices.
Don't Take It Personally
When you decide to eat cleaner, be more active, or take other steps towards wellness, people who are on a different path might suddenly have a lot to say. This might seem kind of weird—after all, shouldn't the people who care about you be happy that you're taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle? Don't worry, they are. Of course, your friends, family, and even coworkers want you to be healthy and feel your best. However, there might also be other things going on underneath. They could feel worried that your relationship with them is going to be different now, or maybe they're a little jealous that you have the energy and motivation to make a positive change. They might even become defensive or self-conscious because they wonder if you're suddenly judging them for making less healthy choices.
There are a lot of reasons why someone in your life might act less than enthusiastic over your decision to be healthy. But the reasons are never actually about you, so try not to take their comments personally. They're an outward reflection of that person's own insecurities—about their health, their choices, or their ability to feel confident that your relationship isn't going to change just because you're suddenly eating kale salads or working out at the gym.
Stay Positive and Share Your Feelings
When you're wondering how to deal with judgement, remembering to stay positive can go a long way. The next time someone makes a judgemental comment, start by not taking it personally. Instead of feeling insulted or becoming argumentative, stop and remind yourself what that person's judgement is really about.
That pause and reminder might be enough for you to check yourself, forget it, and move on. But if you want to respond or engage, that's great, too. Sharing your feelings in a constructive way can help you cultivate deeper relationships—and hopefully stop the judgement from happening again in the future. Take some time to cool off, if you need it, and then tell the person how their comments made you feel and what you'd like from them instead. That might sound like:
- "When you comment on my lunch choice, it makes me feel self-conscious. Could we talk about something else from now on?"
- "When you ask me to stay home and watch TV instead of going to yoga, that makes me feel guilty. Can we plan to watch our show tomorrow night instead?"
- "When you say that I'm no fun for wanting to get juice instead of pancakes, that hurts my feelings. Can you respect my decision to make healthier choices?"
If the person passing the judgement cares about you, they'll take your comments seriously and make an effort to be more respectful. Of course, change doesn't always happen overnight, so try to be patient, and offer a gentle reminder if they slip up. Once they feel more secure about your healthy choices, they may just wind up joining you.