Author Topic: thank you, Dear Abby!  (Read 20210 times)

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Fleur

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #165 on: October 23, 2012, 03:29:52 PM »
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

Yvaine

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #166 on: October 23, 2012, 03:33:52 PM »
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

I do think it's the term "best self" that comes off wrong. It's not an idiom that's really familiar to me, and it sounds a bit like advertising copy--is it a current pop-psych thing? It comes off, through the toobz, kind of like the posters using that term have a set idea in their head of what everyone's "best self" is, whether it's a romantic partner or not, and so it can sound kind of judgmental of posters with different priorities.

TurtleDove

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #167 on: October 23, 2012, 03:36:32 PM »
TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.
I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.

I still do not follow where you are seeing that I am applying anything to others.  "Best self" as I use it and have seen it used is, as I continually state, not objective and is exactly "making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value."

In other threads I have said that I want each person to be his or her best self becuase I want people to be happy. In other threads, my comments are in response to someone who is unhappy with something or another.  I always say, if you can change it, do. If you don't want to, don't, but then don't complain about it. It doesn't matter to me either way, aside from I would like people to be happy however they get there.  If someone complains that she has brown hair and wants blonde, I would say, "then dye your hair blonde."  If she says, "I don't want to," I would say, "then be happy with brown hair." It's not a judgment on whether the person should have brown or blonde hair. It's about whether they are happy how they are, and if not, what they will do about it.

Regarding the bolded, no, I am basing this on actual SOs I have had. We have discussed these things.  It is important to me to be with someone who takes care of himself and is fit and active, both physically and mentally. It is also important for me to be with someone with whom I am comptable and I am not a couch potato.  It really does not matter to me whether anyone else is - I just would not choose them to be my SO.  I don't see how this is offensive, unless for some ridiculous reason you want to be my SO!  :o 8)

To clarify, for the hypothetical couch potato morph to happen, my SO would have to have changed fundamental parts of himself.  That just seems highly unlikely.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 03:40:05 PM by TurtleDove »

Fleur

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #168 on: October 23, 2012, 03:39:26 PM »
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

I do think it's the term "best self" that comes off wrong. It's not an idiom that's really familiar to me, and it sounds a bit like advertising copy--is it a current pop-psych thing? It comes off, through the toobz, kind of like the posters using that term have a set idea in their head of what everyone's "best self" is, whether it's a romantic partner or not, and so it can sound kind of judgmental of posters with different priorities.

Ah, gotcha. I certainly have no particular attachment to that phrase. And I certainly meant no judgement on anyone! I apologise if I have caused offense. I certainly don't go around thinking 'oh he sucks, and she sucks, they watch too much TV'. It isn't as calculated or as considered as that. I would just say that in a relationship situation, that particular characteristic wouldn't appeal to me, just as I'm sure some of my traits wouldn't appeal to others. As long as there is no rudeness, I just say 'no harm, no foul'.

TurtleDove

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #169 on: October 23, 2012, 03:41:45 PM »
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.

Moray

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #170 on: October 23, 2012, 03:43:54 PM »
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.

I do confess that I'm confused by your answer, though. In the past you have explicitly stated that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese." It's absolutely your right to think that, but it's completely at odds with your current assertion that "best self" can only be applied to oneself and is purely subjective.
Utah

TurtleDove

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #171 on: October 23, 2012, 03:48:29 PM »
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.

I do confess that I'm confused by your answer, though. In the past you have explicitly stated that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese." It's absolutely your right to think that, but it's completely at odds with your current assertion that "best self" can only be applied to oneself and is purely subjective.

Perhaps poorly stated, whenever that quote was made.  Not sure the context.  I can affirmatively state right now though that I would not be my best self if I were obese.  I don't care whether anyone else is obese unless they are unhappy being obese. I would imagine I said that in a thread where people were lamenting the fact they were obese or were unhappy with that fact.

Moray

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #172 on: October 23, 2012, 03:50:13 PM »
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.

I do confess that I'm confused by your answer, though. In the past you have explicitly stated that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese." It's absolutely your right to think that, but it's completely at odds with your current assertion that "best self" can only be applied to oneself and is purely subjective.

Perhaps poorly stated, whenever that quote was made.  Not sure the context.  I can affirmatively state right now though that I would not be my best self if I were obese.  I don't care whether anyone else is obese unless they are unhappy being obese. I would imagine I said that in a thread where people were lamenting the fact they were obese or were unhappy with that fact.

Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts. You said the comparison was valid, and that, just as a heroin addict wasn't being their "best self", an obese person was also not their "best self". Like I said, you're entitled to your opinion, it just doesn't jive with what you're saying now.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 03:52:27 PM by Moray »
Utah

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #173 on: October 23, 2012, 03:51:17 PM »
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm offended. I'm not offended and I'm enjoying the discussion.  :) In any case, I've said many times I have no problem with what you or the LW or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner. That's a matter of taste.

Here are 2 sentences for comparison:

1. "I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner."
2. "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television."

These two statements do not have the same meaning. Neither do these two:

1. "I'm looking for a very attractive woman to accompany me through life."
2. "Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?"

I've been trying to explain what the difference is for me, but I guess it's not coming across clearly.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

TurtleDove

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #174 on: October 23, 2012, 03:55:53 PM »
Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts.

Hah!  Funny, becuase I was going to make that comparison in my response.  I do personally see similarities, as have been fully explored in other threads, expecially when people say, "I feel bad so I eat more."  I don't really think it needs to be discussed here.  I don't think obese people or heroin addicts are disgusting people.  I do see problems in behavior and I doubt either are their best selves, but unless they are related to me or my SO I don't really care. For the record, my beautiful and talented sister died 6.5 years ago due to her heroin use. By the time she died she was NOT her best self.  She told me this.

Moray

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #175 on: October 23, 2012, 03:58:15 PM »
Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts.

Hah!  Funny, becuase I was going to make that comparison in my response.  I do personally see similarities, as have been fully explored in other threads, expecially when people say, "I feel bad so I eat more."  I don't really think it needs to be discussed here.  I don't think obese people or heroin addicts are disgusting people.  I do see problems in behavior and I doubt either are their best selves, but unless they are related to me or my SO I don't really care. For the record, my beautiful and talented sister died 6.5 years ago due to her heroin use. By the time she died she was NOT her best self.  She told me this.

So you say the obese aren't their best selves, but that you don't care, because they aren't you or your SO, right? That's still not the same thing as saying "the concept of best self can only be applied to oneself". That's very clearly saying "I am judging all these obese people as 'worse' than their 'best selves', but I don't care."

So which is it? Judging others or not judging others?
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Fleur

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #176 on: October 23, 2012, 03:59:21 PM »
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm offended. I'm not offended and I'm enjoying the discussion.  :) In any case, I've said many times I have no problem with what you or the LW or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner. That's a matter of taste.

Here are 2 sentences for comparison:

1. "I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner."
2. "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television."

These two statements do not have the same meaning. Neither do these two:

1. "I'm looking for a very attractive woman to accompany me through life."
2. "Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?"

I've been trying to explain what the difference is for me, but I guess it's not coming across clearly.

I'm glad I didn't cause any offense :) I wouldn't like to think people thought I was being rude or nasty. To compare the two sets of statements, I actually did mean the same by both my statements-by 'too impressed' I meant 'in a romantic partner' not  in general. That may be enhanced by the appaling quality of television in the UK ;)
I'm totally with you on the second set of statements, though, and I agree that this man comes off as both arrogant and entitled.

TurtleDove

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #177 on: October 23, 2012, 04:01:00 PM »
So you say the obese aren't their best selves, but that you don't care, because they aren't you or your SO, right? That's still not the same thing as saying "the concept of best self can only be applied to oneself". That's very clearly saying "I am judging all these obese people as 'worse' than their 'best selves', but I don't care."

So which is it? Judging others or not judging others?

I am not judging people I am not even thinking about. 

Fleur

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #178 on: October 23, 2012, 04:01:11 PM »
Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts.

Hah!  Funny, becuase I was going to make that comparison in my response.  I do personally see similarities, as have been fully explored in other threads, expecially when people say, "I feel bad so I eat more."  I don't really think it needs to be discussed here.  I don't think obese people or heroin addicts are disgusting people.  I do see problems in behavior and I doubt either are their best selves, but unless they are related to me or my SO I don't really care. For the record, my beautiful and talented sister died 6.5 years ago due to her heroin use. By the time she died she was NOT her best self.  She told me this.

I'm sorry about your sister :'(

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Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
« Reply #179 on: October 23, 2012, 04:02:05 PM »
As someone who is very overweight, and who doesn't snack much, doesn't load their plate, and prefers fruit to... say, chocolate... I find the comparison to drugs invalid.  It may be valid for some people, but some people exercise compulsively to the point where they actually burn themselves out.  EVERYTHING is bad in excess, even oxygen and water!

That said, I am very sorry about your sister.
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