My last article about making decisions sparked an interesting question.
What if you’ve made a decision, or are on the verge of making a decision that your family/friends/partner don’t like? Such as quitting your job, changing the direction of your career or leaving school. You may be having a discussion or an argument with your loved ones about what you should do and they may ask you to justify your choices. How do you remain in your power and stand firm?
Here are three tips for dealing with loved ones in this scenario:
1. Remember that your nature may be very different from theirs
Some people see life as a damage limitation exercise and think that it’s best to play it safe in all life areas. But what if you’re the type who sees life as an adventure? You need to recognize that sometimes you and your loved one might not be operating from the same world view. If that’s the case, you’re not going to agree on what you should do. In addition, if your loved one worries a lot they may be projecting all their concerns onto you and your situation. But just because your mother or your wife is concerned does not always mean there is cause for concern. Our worries are about us – not about other people. We worry based on our own fears and experiences.
2. Remember that there are some people who will never give others their approval or blessing
This is not true of everyone, but there are quite simply some people who will not give others their blessing or approval. In some ways, this means that their loved ones have to try extra hard to please them and prove things to them. So if you’re finding regularly that you can’t do anything that your loved one agrees with, perhaps consider the possibility that they are not very good at accepting others’ choices. It could be about them – not about you.
3. Acknowledge that your spirituality may make you see things differently
If you’re a spiritual type and they aren’t, there may be other differences that you need to take into account. For example, you may be very tapped into your purpose and intuition. When asked why you’re taking a certain course of action by a loved one, if you say it’s because it feels like the right path to you, that may not be a valid reason in the eyes of other people. Accept that this is so and don’t expect them to understand your path or your way of doing things. But you can uphold the view that you are the expert of your life – the one who truly knows best for you, even if they don’t think so.
Remember also that when our loved ones disagree with a course of action, it is usually because they feel it will lead us away from success. But spiritually-minded people often have a different view of success from others. Many spiritual people hold that growth is the ultimate life success. Check what your loved one’s measure of success and failure is. You may find that it’s very different from your own.
My personal definition of success is happiness and growth. As long as I’m mostly enjoying myself, growing and learning (usually on some adventure or other) then I feel like my life is a success. However, other people in my family think that success is about long-term material security and stability. It’s clear that we have different values and so I don’t expect them to agree with my choices all the time.
Getting involved in the world of entrepreneurship has taught me a lot about my definition of success and achievement. I noticed that many entrepreneurs fail and ‘screw up’ before they succeed in a significant way at something. For every project or venture that succeeds, there may be two or three or even more that don’t. I have also noticed that life is a bit like this. You can appear to screw up a couple of things and then succeed at the next thing. But you may not have succeeded eventually without those experiences of ‘screwing up’. So even if you appear to fail in something and your loved one is proved right, did you take the wrong path?
I personally am committed to following my own heart and listening to my inner voice, even if it involves some apparent screw ups along the way. For me, that’s the only path that’s worth anything.
What is your definition of success? How do you deal with loved ones who tell you that you’re on the wrong track? Please share in the comments.