How to Handle Family’s Opinions on Your Health
They mean well. They really do. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
Truth be told, I have a very supportive family. But the ability to handle our families' opinions on our health – and especially our dietary choices, is a conversation that I have with my clients on a regular basis. It affects all of us on some level whether it’s a daily interaction or one just around the holiday gatherings.
There seems to be an insatiable and innate desire to please our family and to always have their approval. So, what do we do when their opinions go up against our approach to healing?
Do your research
First, it’s important to decide the path that is best for you independent of their opinions. Personally, I like to gather all the medical information from my doctor and then I often do my own research on nutritional approaches and other healing modalities (essential oils, acupuncture, acupressure, supplements, etc.).
Make your decision
After I pull all the information together, I then take some time to sit with it to decide what feels like the best approach for me. If I feel like I need someone to talk it through with, I have one or two trusted family and/or friends that I’ll reach out to. I let them know in advance that I just need help talking something out.
This sets the tone that you’re not coming to them for a solution to a problem, you just need a sounding board. You’ll find the people that will honor their role in this conversation, and they’ll become your go-to person. Once I have a clear direction on my health that I feel solid about, I move forward.
Silence is golden
One step that I think is so important is to not broadcast your health changes in environments that you know you may meet resistance. Personally, I try to draw the least amount of attention to my dietary restrictions as possible. It greatly reduces the likelihood of someone injecting their unsolicited opinion.
When someone does share their opinion – solicited or not – I really do my best to stay open to the conversation. My tendency at first was to get defensive, but the reality is they may have something to share that could be of interest to me, or if nothing else they could share something that will actually re-affirm the decision that I’ve made in my current health choices.
Go to your go-to
And certainly, if you feel like you need accountability on your path to new health habits, again, select that person who will be supportive. Be upfront about what you need.
Hey Sam, I’m trying to eliminate dairy this week and I’m worried that I’m going to cave the first time I see a slice of cheese. Can I text you at the end of each day as my accountability to being dairy-free this week?
Find your trusted few and keep them close. At the end of the day, we are each responsible for our health and our actions. So, stand strong in the path that you set for it. (And obviously remember that you have an entire community of people here cheering you on!)
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