Warning: Why Your Expectations Of Others May Lead To Conflict

Teachers sometimes label students based on demographics, gender, appearance, family name, and more. Potential employers mark applicants with facial piercings, tattoos, locs, size, hair color, and communication style.

More labels we use to describe people are a parent, educator, athlete, Christian, attorney, wife, coach, or something else.

Then there is…Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian, Macrobiotic, and more.

The words are labels. Based on your understanding of a name and the people attached to them, you develop perceptions. Your perceptions motivate your thoughts and your actions.

Your perception may also influence your expectations of the behavior and actions of others.

I am not much for labels to describe myself and pride myself on being an eclectic woman. Having said that, I self-identify with Veganism.

I do not eat meat, dairy products, or seafood. Occasionally I “cheat” with shrimp, lobster, or crab.

Recently, I was dining at a restaurant. I ordered shrimp. I was casually called out for posting my “Vegan” dishes on social media but eating shrimp at the restaurant. Someone at the table had a belief about their understanding of Veganism, and I did not fit the model, so they questioned me.

I was surprised but choose to explain. I know I did not have to explain, but, as an educator, I felt compelled to expound. I want to teach others on any topic, concept, or idea I am versed in.

And so, here is the lesson.

I do not take life too seriously and avoid placing restrictions on myself that create unnecessary tension or stress.

From the time we are born, our days on earth are numbered. God is the only one who knows when we will be called home. Life is short, so I pursue joy.

November 2019, marked my second year anniversary as a Vegan. I have no desire to ever eat meat, dairy, or fish again. I am cool with a plant-based lifestyle. My weekly grocery list never includes lobster, crab, or shrimp.

When dining out with family or friends, occasionally, a restaurant will have a limited menu. So limited that, when I need a protein source, I will order lobster, crab, or shrimp. And you know what? I order it without guilt and with a big ass smile on my face. Lol!

Okay, honestly, a part of me hopes to someday eliminate this choice; however, I lift weights, and I need to continue to develop muscle mass. Never mind, 55 is creeping up on me.

I am not, and don’t want to be that one person in a party of six that insists everyone change restaurants because of a limited vegan/vegetarian menu. No shade to the person(s) who stand up and do so. It is not that important to me. I accept and forgive myself instead of berating myself for not being as I want to be.

What is more important to me is nurturing relationships with those who matter most to me. I consciously choose to experience love, joy, and laughter with people who matter.

I am imperfect.

“For we all stumble in many ways if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body.

– James 3:2

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

-Ecclesiastes 7:20

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to resist expecting others to behave a certain way based on a label (self-titled or other). I will be the first to admit it; it takes practice, but trust me, I know you can do it.

As it applies to your wellness when you set expectations for the behaviors of others based on your perception of how you think they should act, you create an environment conducive to experience disappointment and possible conflict. I learned this the hard way.

We must learn to accept people for who they are and remember, the only person we can change is ourselves. Focus on you. What do you want out of your life? What are your goals? Are you holding back on something because you are worried about what others will think or say?

Consider this post a challenge. A challenge to break from your discernment of how you think you should act based on an archaic notion from the past.

In 22 days, the ball in Times Square will drop. With the New Year come new goals and resolutions. Instead of randomly setting another New Year’s resolution that will fade faster than the ink on a paper receipt, set an intentional and realistic goal to do something you have always wanted to do. Like something that will set your soul on fire! Go BIG. Make it worth the time and effort.


Small Change Net Big Results

While browsing the frozen section of the grocery store for my son for real ice cream as opposed to my liking for natural homemade natural ice cream, I stumbled on, a blast from my past.  🙂

At age 23 Chunky Monkey was my prescribed best friend! Who doesn’t know about Ben & Jerry’s delicious, unorthodox, and addictive flavored ice cream!  I was pregnant with my daughter and was under doctor’s orders to gain weight, which was an enormous challenge for me.  My Obstetrician, Dr. Chong, told me that I was too skinny.  Dr. Chong wrapped his child-sized hand completely around my upper arm and pointed to my branch like boney limbs,

“You need to eat.!  You too skinny!”

Since supersized servings of collard greens weren’t doing the trick, I resorted to fudge sundaes during the daytime at work and Chunky Monkey ice cream at night.  :).  I still didn’t gain weight but continued on with my love for the fatty delectable dessert.

Until recently, when I saw my old treat in the freezer, I had forgotten all about it.  I was curious about the nutritional label and had to sneak a peek at the label.  Back then, I don’t think I noticed food labels. My girl Oprah says it best.  “When you know better, you do better.”  She’s right.

Twenty-nine years later, I finally read the jaw-dropping label. Hoooooly Moly!!

28 grams of sugar X  4  servings is 112 grams of sugar!!!!

300 calories per servings X  4 servings = 1,200 calories!!

300 grams of fat per servings X 4 servings – 112 grams of fat!!!

I’m dying thinking about this… mouth wide open…. thinking about how many times I ate a full pint and what the contents were doing to my body.  It makes me wanna barf.  Ugh!

Looking at me then, I appeared to be the epitome of health, and for the most part, I was healthy, or so I think.  However, my metabolism was high, my body processed the food quickly and at almost 5’9, I weighed 125-130 pounds.   Surely had I continued to eat Chunky Money at this pace with a few other bad food habits, I was on my way to being overweight and dealing with health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease and more.

Back then, even though I overindulged in sugary treats like this, I also balanced out my diet with daily servings of fruits and vegetables.   A high metabolism and good genetics kept me slim and trim, and I did not have any health issues. But the fact is, my diet exceeded the daily recommendation for… well. Everything.

Today I thank God for putting me on a path to a better place where I learned to make smarter choices about my health and well-being.

Too frequently though many people wait until a medical condition dictates a lifestyle change.  Particularly women.  Women of color.

In 2014, the CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention) reported the leading causes of death in ALL black females ALL ages were:

Heart disease – 23.2%

Cancer – 22.5%

Stroke – 6.2%

Diabetes – 4.6%

Chronic lower respiratory disease – 3.2%

Alzheimer’s disease – 3.1%

Unintentional injuries – 3.0%

Kidney disease – 2.0%

Septicemia – 2.3%

Hypertension – 1.9%

Heart disease (22.3%) and cancer (21.6%) remained at the top of the list for ALL females, ALL ages.

When you consider the fact that lifestyle behaviors can significantly reduce women’s risk factors for these illnesses it is disturbing.

If you have prediabetes, research shows that losing 5%-7% of your body weight and getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity like brisk walking can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

(CDC)

Why do women wait until a doctor tells them that a lifestyle change is in order?  If we learn to listen to our body, it usually sends signals by responding to the food we eat, the beverages we drink, and other behaviors. If you walk up a flight of stairs and you are out of breath, that means something.  When was the last time you had an annual check up?

Take a pledge to live a healthier lifestyle.  Even better, commit to a better lifestyle with a family member, a friend, or a colleague. Try a new recipe, join or start a walking club, take a yoga class, take a strength training class, or something else, just get busy moving.   Please!

Oh and… if you’re gonna get down with Ben & Jerry’s, remember portion control or better yet, try making your own healthy chocolate ice creamAvocado Ice Cream or a quick frozen strawberry yogurt. Making your own is healthier and more fun.

Making small changes in your life can net significant health benefits. Instead of attacking your health with major changes, start with minor changes like drinking more water and less juice or soda, reducing the amount of sugar you put in your coffee or substituting one high-fat food item with a lower fat food item. Take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators or do jumping jacks or pushups during commercials of your favorite TV show.  Over time, you will experience big gains. Whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself because I won’t give up on you.

Grad school is slowing my posts, but I’m still here.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Smooches!  🙂