Are You Projecting?

My husband, Adam, and I went to Indianapolis this weekend to watch the DCI world championships.  We’re both big band nerds and watching drum and bugle corps perform is something that we both love to do.  We had about a five to six hour trip back home and long road trips are always a great time to talk about any and everything.  One of the topics that came up was health, go figure.  I tend to eat very differently from the way that most people eat.  It can make it a bit tricky to go out with a big group of people, especially for someone like me who doesn’t like a spotlight shone on me.

I tried to explain to Adam why I get a little stressed out when I have to deal with a group outing that involves food.  I don’t like to be an inconvenience to others and I always feel like the way I eat is a major inconvenience to the general public.  Whenever someone asks, “Where should we eat?” I inwardly cringe.  I know that the real question behind that is, “Where can Katie eat?”.  As I got to think about this a little more though, is that really the question or is that just how I am perceiving others to feel?  Am I projecting my own feelings onto them?  The short answer, probably.

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Do you find yourself doing this?  You feel that how you choose to eat or workout or live your life is a little bit outside the general norm and that in turn puts the people you come into contact with off.  It tends to bother me when people demand things be a certain way just to make their life easier.  I totally understand that in some cases, people need to demand the way they eat for the sake of their health.  Those who have Celiac’s disease HAVE to avoid gluten in every way possible or else there can be major medical complications.  They deserve to have their food prepared in a way that is safe to them.  Other people though have abused things like Celiac’s or lactose intolerance or other eating issues just as a way to lose a few pounds or because it is the fad of the moment.  I am not here to debate whether this is right or not, I just know that I don’t want to contribute to the difficulties some face by having to eat a certain way for medical reasons.  Because of my desire to avoid that issue, I realized that I am projecting my own feelings onto those around me without ever really knowing if that is how they truly feel.

Projection

When I think about it more, I am pretty positive that most people do not care that I eat differently.  They probably do not feel overly burdened with trying to accommodate me.  When they ask me what can or will I eat, they genuinely care about my answer and don’t think that I am being demanding or a spoiled brat.  That is all in my head.  As I told this to Adam on our ride home, his response was to just relax.  Try not to worry so much about what other people are thinking.  Because I am not a person who demands that things need to be a certain way or else I won’t participate, most people are happy and willing to help me out.  I would imagine if you feel this way too, you might be overthinking the situation exactly like I did.  Making the choice to be healthier and to eat in the way that makes you feel good and allows you to be happy is something that I fully support.  Much to your surprise, your friends and family will feel that way too.  As long as you aren’t throwing a temper tantrum if something isn’t exactly the way you need it or demanding that they do it your way or the highway, the people around you will be more than happy to work with you.  And if you want some tips on how to help them accommodate you, check out this post.

Don’t project your own feelings and insecurities onto others, because like in my case, you’re probably wrong.  Try to relax, enjoy time with your loved ones, and don’t worry about what people think.  You will have a much better time, I promise!

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