I’ve been noticing recently that a lot of people are struggling with making changes in their lives not so much because they have a problem being selfish, but because the people they love have a problem with them being selfish, and so they disagree with them.
Surely that makes them the selfish ones, right?!
Here’s the thing – you are on your journey, and they are on theirs. Yes, you may interact and engage and love one another on your journeys, but they are separate journeys. We can’t expect to know what someone else is going through, thinking or feeling, because we’re not them. Similarly, we can’t expect someone else to understand exactly where we’re coming from because they’re not on our journey.
If you’re going through something right now, whether that be changing jobs, moving house, dealing with a loss, depression or an eating disorder, chances are you’re desperate for your loved ones to understand, so they can support you. Instead you may find yourself justifying and defending your choices constantly, getting into arguments or avoiding talking about the topic at all.
There’s another aspect of your journey you may be forgetting, and it’s possibly the hardest to accept: our loved ones are often the greatest mirrors to our deepest fears. I remember when I first started talking about following a different career path, following my dream of being of service to others, I got very definite ‘No’s from my parents. It was completely untenable to leave a well paid job for all that uncertainty – what if it all went wrong?
The same thing happened when I wasn’t eating. My dad, in his desperate attempt to help me, often praised me in the early stages of my recovery for ‘eating more’ and ‘looking healthier’, not realising that at the time these were my biggest fears, manifested in front of me.
So, what do you do when people disagree with you and your choices?
1. Acknowledge that they might not be able to. If their journey is at a stage where they’re not able to accept other peoples’ choices, it might be that you have to accept them as they are, and love them anyway. Allow them to have their journey and instead take your dreams and share them with others who can appreciate them more.
2. Check in with yourself and see if the resistance you’re getting from your loved ones is more about your own insecurities with your decisions. Face up to your own fears, acknowledge them, own them and forgive yourself for them. It’s amazing how peoples’ opinions shift when you become truly comfortable with your choices.
If you need help acknowledging your feelings and forgiving yourself, check out the meditation below 🙂