Everybody hates little Miss-know-it-all. But what are you supposed to do or say if you DO know something helpful, and want to pass it on? Especially if you yourself used to be guilty of same bad behavior. What right do you have to speak up then and condemn somebody else?
A perfect example is smoking. They say that a reformed ex-smoker is the worst. It’s true. I smoked for over 20 years. I made all the usual excuses on why I continued to smoke. I smoked through my father’s lung cancer from smoking. It is a proven fact that children of smokers, end up as smokers. I thought I would be the exception. My parents were both heavy smokers, and I just HATED riding in the car with them, or if they came in my bedroom. They always had a cigarette in their hands. My father ate dinner with a cigarette at the table. I SWORE I would never smoke, I hated everything about it, especially the smell. Well, that changed when I went to college. Everybody smoked, everywhere. My first college boyfriend smoked, and so to counteract the smell and taste, I took up the habit. What a HUGE mistake. Even though I quit 4 years ago Easter, I still worry about lung cancer.
Back in my childhood, nobody really told parents about the effects of second-hand smoke, Mothers would breast feed their children while dripping ashes on them. Everywhere children went, there was smoke. Now, parents know the ill effects of smoking on their children, and slowly things started to change. When I was a smoker, I was so upset when they started out the no smoking policies in restaurants and bars. I felt that parents should keep their kids home if they didn’t like it. They were infringing upon MY rights. I didn’t want to go outside to smoke. Then, the cost of cigarettes went up. Way up. I decided that if I was going to be treated like a leper and it would cost me a fortune, I would quit. Thanks to Chantix, I made it possible in one day. Great. Wonderful. All those years of smoking, I forgot how awful I would smell. I regret that so much. Hopefully now I smell fresh and clean! It took a long time to get the smell out of my house and every article of clothing I owned.
BUT. It does no good for me to tell a smoker that they are polluting their own children’s lungs and possibly hurting their future health. They will just throw my own smoking back at me. Or say that our parents smoked all their lives and we turned out ok. Really? You really believe that? First off, my father died from smoking at age 53. Secondly, my mother smoked, and raised three smokers. Two have quit, one has not. And I worry about that one. And the generation we are raising, who are smoking in front of their kids. And so on, and so on. But, you cannot force somebody to do something. So I cannot say anything to that person that they will listen to. I’m nothing but a know-it-all.
Same with sunbathing or tanning beds. I was CONSTANTLY out in the sun, constantly burnt, consumed with getting tan. Until I got malignant melanoma. All that came to a screeching halt in a heartbeat. Horrible surgery. Horrible recuperation. But that didn’t mean a thing to anybody. It didn’t happen to them, it happened to me. It was not on their radar. They don’t want to hear about it. They burn themselves, they burn their children, all in the name of a tan. But again, I cannot say anything to that person that they will listen to. I’m nothing but a know-it-all.
Fiscal responsibility. Disrespectful children. The list goes on and on. I may have good advice, or helpful tips, but most people don’t want to hear it. It’s none of my business. I don’t have kids of my own. That’s what I hear from people.
It must be my delivery. My tone of voice. I expect so much out of the people I am closest to, that it makes me mad? that they aren’t doing what I expect them to do, and so it shows up in my demeanor.
I only mean well, but come off as a mean girl. Help me. I will listen.