Iowa Specialty Hospital

Notes from Steve

November 14, 2022

So, they changed the sizing on some underwear that I buy via the internet to HUGE.  I measured them against the ones I have, and they were at least 2 inches bigger in the waist.  I talked to some salespeople at a men’s store I go to in Des Moines, and they said vanity sizing* is out of control.  This is gaslighting.**   I sent them back.  

I think that we are telling people what they want to hear more often than the truth.  Frankly, it’s easier.  (“yes Steve, you really weigh “x” … ok … sure, your clothes are probably very heavy - like they probably add an additional 30 pounds.”)  I’m tired of trying to argue the truth; sometimes it’s just easier to let people think what they want to think.  However, this is not the answer.  Letting people bathe in their ignorant version of the truth causes a lot (most) of society’s problems.  

In our Standards of Behavior - it says that we should all strive to practice assertive communication.  Assertive communication is so hard.  To me, it means telling the truth in a nice way.  (I will work on this until the day I die.)  I used to tell people (learned from my friend, Marcia, in New Hampshire) that the “mark of a good leader is to tell someone to ‘go to h*ll’ and have them look forward to the trip”.  Maybe this message is delivered with grace and tough love, and both parties agree that in order to become better - things must change.  Or maybe the leader communicates the message in a way that doesn’t convey the truth, or the person doesn’t take it seriously because it’s offered as a suggestion or it’s not specific enough to the individual (“everyone needs to do better” when the problem is one person).  

Honest communication that is conveyed and understood is a beautiful thing.  It allows us to grow and become better - assuming that we present and accept all communication (good/bad) with grace and humility.  This is not easy.   

*Vanity sizing, or size inflation, is the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing of the same nominal size becoming bigger in physical size over time. 
**Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the person who is “gaslighting” attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in the person to whom they are “gaslighting”.


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