By Lauren Denos: 9/25/2015 (Ask Lauren)

Dear Lauren,

I have friends who have had horrible experiences at the gym, people poking fun of them. I am large breasted myself and am kinda worried about the same stuff happening to me. What can be done about unkind people?

Thank you,

Dear Rhonda,

First of all, understand that most people pick on other people because they are unhappy themselves. Many times they are angry with themselves and their lives so they feel like they need to take it out on someone else. I am not saying it is okay for them to pick on you or that you should not stick up for yourself, but when you understand that they are doing this because they are in pain, it can take some of the sting out of it because you can feel pity for them. I heard someone once call bullies scared little mice masquerading as roaring lions. They are working too hard to cover up what is really going on in their own lives.

Here are some things you can test out to combat this issue.

#1 Bring this up with the gym manager. Gyms do not want people like that in their facilities. If they are picking on you then they are probably doing it to other people who are not going to say anything. If you say something, they gym will probably give them a warning, if they keep doing it, tell the gym manager again. I have seen this in action at one of my gyms and the man got kicked out. Gyms like a welcoming environment, and if someone is threatening that, the gym will do something about it. If the gym does not do anything about it then that is not a good gym and you may want to find a place more welcoming.

#2 Hold yourself up straight. I know this sounds silly but the truth is many times these mean people can see that body language and they know they have found a victim. It is not necessarily a conscious thing they pick up on but more subconscious. The way we carry ourselves sends information to everyone around us. Stand tall like you have great self confidence. If you do not have that self confidence then fake it! Think of all the things you do love about yourself and keep thinking about them, let those thoughts build you up.

#3 Wear headphone and crank up the music. You are at the gym to workout and not to socialize. They will see you can not hear them and that their taunts are being wasted. Besides the music can help to get you moving better in the gym anyway.

#4 Create your own crowd. One thing I have heard from the geeks who did not have a problem in school, was that they had their own crowd and they stuck to themselves. These mean people are not the type of person you want to be around anyway. So find the people you do want to be around and cheer each other on.

Lastly, remember what this feels like and never treat anyone else like this. It is easy to fall into the same pattern of feeling bad and then picking on someone else to feel more important and powerful, or picking on someone just because you are having a hard time and need to unleash it on someone else. If you have dealt with bullies then you have a first hand example of how not to treat people. Always do what you can to support others and lift them up. LIVE FULL OUT!



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