Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
I wish my brother would shape up. I could list everything he needs to improve, but the biggest issue is his diet. We are close to the same age, close to the same height, and he’s literally three times the person I am. I eat organics only, and my brother eats every junk food product he can get his hands on. He’s also no longer physically active. I try to redirect him every chance I get, and he just gets defensive. I only want him to listen and change so he can be healthy. How can I get him to change?
Concerned, Healthy Sister
Dear Concerned, Healthy Sister,
I could talk about diet, and healthy lifestyle for hours. I could suggest videos for said sibling to watch, and I could elaborate all the things that will happen to your brother if he does not change.
Chances are, though, you’ve already communicated all these things to him, and he still eats what he eats.
This is not what I see as being the issue.
What I see as being the issue is your need to brag about yourself and criticize your brother.
You would be amazed how many thin people who eat organic are actually not in good health. Some smoke, some are in toxic relation ships, and some are deficient in nutrients because all they care about is being skinny.
On the other hand, there are some people who do not eat organic, who are not as thin as the next person, and they are in excellent health.
What some who consume organics only also fail to understand is- not everybody can afford to follow suit. For all I know, you are single with a six figure income, and your brother is a schoolteacher with three kids. Just because you are privileged enough you can have a certain lifestyle does not mean everybody else is.
Regardless, he’s a grown man who has the right to decide what he’s going to eat, and does not need your approval.
It’s best to keep advice, and opinions about other people’s lives in general to yourself unless they ask for it. The fact you indicate there are various things you feel your brother ought to change tells me nothing about him, but it does indicate to me you think you are more qualified to make his decisions for him than he is for himself.
Assuming he’s actually a loser who needs to get his shit together…nagging him will just piss him off at you. Everybody has opinions about how other people could do things better. So what? None of us are so perfect we can’t stand to improve.
Having said that, you’ve stated your point- plenty of times. So in the event he ever DOES decide he wants to eat like you do, your brother will know who to come and ask.
In the meantime, instead of trying to make his decisions for him, just be his sister. He might not try to choke you to death with your organic whatever at the next family gathering.