I have had an overwhelming and unexpected response to my recent post Dear New Girl at the Gym. My next several blog posts I will be responding to many of the questions and statements people have posted in the comments section below that post.

A few of the commenters said they had had such a negative experience with people making rude comments to them at the gym that they had a hard time going back. This infuriates me. I am shocked and appalled that any person would treat another human being in such a fashion, especially when someone is making an effort to find their healthiest self. It makes me so angry and so sad. I could make all sort so disparaging comments about these men/women who feel they can treat others so poorly, but I won’t. I don’t want to focus on them. I can’t help them.

I want to focus on us. You and me.

We can’t let others decide our future or our happiness. When we take their inhuman comments and believe them we are not only giving someone else power over us, but we are letting their negativity decide what we will become. We are letting them win.

One of my favorite quotes is from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine DeBourgh asks the incredibly witty and intelligent Elizabeth Bennet to promise she will never marry Lady Catherine’s nephew Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy is above Elizabeth in rank and fortune, and Lady Catherine has wealth and prestige above many in the country. But Elizabeth responds—

“I am only resolved to act in the manner, which will, in my opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.” (Austen, 346)

Those people that would tear us down have nothing to do with you and me. Absolutely nothing. NOTHING! I didn’t go up to that girl and ask her what I should study at college or whether I should marry my husband or whether I should have my babies. I didn’t ask that guy his opinion on my hair cut or what car I should drive or what house I should live in. Why? Because it is none of their business. I wouldn’t have listened to them in these matters, so I can’t let their opinions and comments change my efforts to treat my body well.

This goes way beyond working out at the gym. This applies to every part of our lives. Often when we decide we want something more, that we deserve something better, there is someone there to tell us that we don’t deserve it or that it is too hard. But we can’t listen to them.

We have to choose our own happiness and our own future. We deserve to be our happy and healthy.

Works Cited—Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print