I love acronyms.
Acronyms come in handy when studying for midterms and finals. They can also be used to create some pretty awesome company names – TCBY, The Country’s Best Yogurt – and help us remember the planets: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos (it’s just not the same without Pluto).
In this month’s edition of SELF magazine* – the one with Jenny from the Block on the cover – one of the smaller articles discusses several ways to keep conversation positive when a friend brings up weighty issues (pun intended). I found the article pretty interesting because many of the situations described are ones that I have been in myself, both on the giving and receiving ends. I took a moment to think about what I was reading and came up with an acronym to repeat to myself when these situations inevitably come about – KIPS.
At first I wanted it to mean “Keep It Positive, Stupid” as inspired by “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” a popular acronym and philosophy. Then I realized that “Keep It Positive, Stupid” was an oxymoron. Oops. In the end, I decided that the Keep It Positive Strategy sounded much better.
So in recognition of this genius new acronym, I decided to go through the five scenarios listed in the SELF article and provide my own KIPS answer.
She says: “It’s so unfair; you have a perfect body.”
SELF says: “Thanks! But nobody’s perfect.”
KIPS says: “That’s really sweet of you to say, but you have to remember that we all have our own insecurities. If you can keep that in mind, you will start to realize that what you’re rockin’ isn’t so bad after all.”
My answer here is a lot like what SELF says, and that’s because I generally agree with the way they would handle the situation. When a friend compliments you, accept the compliment. Don’t feel like you have to say, “Oh no, I’m not perfect. My thighs are huge.” Why bring negativity into the conversation when your friend has just said something so positive about YOU? The best thing you can do to make your friend feel better is to accept the compliment and help her remember that she’s not alone. Everybody goes through feelings of uncertainty about themselves – it’s impossible not to, especially in today’s society. Helping her realize that we’re all in this together will bring her one step closer to thinking “Hey, I’m not so bad.”
She says: “I can’t believe I ate that cookie. I feel disgusting.”
SELF says: “Oh, I bet it tasted great. Everybody needs to indulge sometimes.”
KIPS says: “As long as you ate it for pure enjoyment, you should have no regrets!”
One of the things I’ve been working on most recently is making sure I am respecting my cravings and feeding myself the foods that I want to eat. If I feel like veggies, I’m going to have some veggies. If I feel like ice cream – you can bet I won’t deny myself that creamy goodness. As long as I only take what I need to satisfy my craving and leave my stomach happy, I know I’m doing it right. A little goes a long way and as long as you keep that in mind, you can eat WHATEVER YOU WANT.
She says: “Ugh! I’m so fat.”
SELF says: “Your value isn’t measured by your dress size. Hey, how’s that book manuscript coming along?”
KIPS says: “It’s just one of those days. Let’s find something to do that will get your mind off of it.”
I changed what I said from what SELF says here mainly because I thought the part about the manuscript was a little too corny and unrealistic for normal conversation. I think it’s better to just let your friend know that we all have days where we feel a little down and, for lack of a better word, crappy. If you acknowledge that feeling bummed is something you’ve gone through before, she’ll be much more open to getting out of her funk and finding a way to get her mind off of the negative thoughts.
She says: “Don’t let me order a slice of pepperoni.”
SELF says: “Sorry, I’m not a diet cop; I’m just your friend.”
KIPS says: “OK, but if you really want a slice of pizza, I’ll split one with you.”
As I mentioned before, as long as you keep in mind that a little goes a long way, you can eat anything you want. Volunteering to share something “sinful” with a friend will show her that you don’t see foods like pizza as scary and that if she wants a slice of pizza, she can have a slice of pizza, guilt-free. Make sure to emphasize the fact that she should have the slice IF she really wants one. Don’t make her feel obligated to get one – offering it as a suggestion, not a demand, is key to avoid coming off as a friend who is out to ruin her diet.
She says: “C’mon, one doughnut won’t kill you.”
SELF says: “You’re right; it won’t. Go ahead and grab one. I feel like having fruit instead.”
KIPS says: “You’re right; it won’t. Go ahead and grab one. I feel like having fruit instead.”
There is nothing I would change about this scenario. It’s short, sweet and drives the point home that you are in control of what you put into your mouth. Show your friend that peer pressure is so overrated She’ll love you for it.
It’s also important to note that a good hug is never a bad idea. As the saying goes, sometimes actions really do speak louder than words.