Deborah Smith is a positive psychologist specialising in the science of happiness and mindfulness.
She has more than 25 years’ experience as a psychotherapist and is here to help, so email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
My sister-in-law often makes jokes about my weight, which I end up taking to heart. How can I handle this when I’m around her at Christmas? Bethany Forster, Newcastle upon Tyne
It’s not easy to deal with negative comments about ourselves, no matter if they’re meant as a joke or not. People I call frenemies (think half friend, half enemy) are found in any group, whether it’s your family, friends or in the workplace. They’re difficult to spot initially, as their approach might seem friendly, which encourages you to view them as an ally.
However, they can be equally judgemental, jealous or competitive, criticising you in front of other people, gossiping about you or letting you down at the last minute. Once you recognise a frenemy for what he or she is, their power to hurt you is greatly diminished and their behaviour will become predictable.
There are many reasons why people behave this way, but one thing they likely all have in common is unhappiness and a drive to project their negativity onto others.
So, the next time your sister-in-law makes a jibe about your weight, understand that her comments say a lot about her and nothing about you. Finally bring your focus back to yourself and be proud of what you’ve achieved on your get-healthy journey.
3 WAYS TO MAKE PEACE WITH 2017
PUT THE ‘HAPPY’ IN CHRISTMAS
Make a pact with friends and family that only positive topics will be discussed around the Christmas dinner table.
Do you keep a gratitude journal? Read over it to remind yourself of 2017’s positive events and achievements.
If there was something you hoped for or tried to achieve in 2017, but it didn’t happen, make a plan to help you move closer to that goal in the new year.
‘Mantra: What we think, we become’
This Buddhist proverb reminds us to be aware of the power of our thoughts: make an effort to think positively about yourself and your future.