Are You Killing Your Dream Just To Please Others?
Last week I read a letter written by (a woman we will call) Cindy.
She was just about to start some online courses, dive into her passion and start her own business. Being a homemaker for many years, she was sure her teenage kids will be ok with her plan.
The reality surprised her harshly, once she learned, they are not only against it but they accused her of being selfish and worried, she will not have time for them and their needs. Which, according to them, she “should” do. Cindy was heartbroken….
Very often when we have a new idea to revolutionize our life, on this or another level, there will be a group of people – friends, family – that will not approve. They will rush in with stories and warnings; what dangers await you, and if you really need to change anything, they have an advice for you.
Immediately you will feel completely discouraged, even depressed because of lack of family support, doubting if those people are your real friends. You may even start doubting your plans. This is a very important point in your decision making.
I believe it helps to understand first, where they are coming from. These are some of the reasons causing people to be unsupportive:
They call you selfish to protect themselves from experiencing change.
They are selfish and needy themselves and don’t want to have less of you in their life.
They are scared of any upcoming relationship changes, that may follow your decision.
They have other plans for you.
You threatened their worldview. Their system.
They have insecurities and by showing you are taking responsibility for your life, you are making them even more insecure.
They don’t know how to have a real, honest conversation; when threatened they use blame, as a primary communication mode.
All of the above.
Once you figure out that their reactions are more about them, not you, (unless they are not) you can move on to the next steps.
What can you do before you take any dramatic actions.
1. Imagine. Imagine yourself 5, 20,30 years from now. Did your dream come true? Or it didn’t? Do you feel resentment that you let others to decide about your life? Or did something else – more meaningful – emerge?
2. Have a talk with yourself or with a trusted, supportive friend. Is it an emotional decision or an intuitive one? What need will this dream satisfy? Is it negotiable?
3. Conversation. If your decision will affect those close to you, prepare them. Some people “just do it” and live with the consequences, but many need a “permission” to start making changes. Either way, honest conversations are on the horizon – will any deep, meaningful relationship exists without it?
A. Make sure they understand what this project means to you. What you feel is your mission and why this is the time.
B. Give them time. When introduced to a new idea most people will go through four stages: a. denial; b. ridicule; c. opposition; d. acceptance
C. Show them how you will make it all work. Make an agreement.
D. Ask for support. Tell them how they can support you.
I know none of that is easy. What is the alternative? Giving up? We tend to avoid confrontation at all cost. As a result we shut down in the name of peace. The cost to you: feeling dead inside, growing negativity in the relationship, resentment.
What did you passionately dream about and didn’t get the support you needed. How did you make it work? What did you have to sacrifice and what were the rewards?
Please share in the comments below.