If you are working on creating a unique, non-standard life experience for yourself, it has all sorts of pitfalls, trials, challenges, and obstacles along the way.
When this is your why, and you are striving to consciously create reality by choosing your own path in life, it can and will impact those around you. Friends and family, coworkers, even acquaintances may offer support or resistance along the way.
Some of this is super helpful. Other aspects of this don’t serve you at all. Some of this is borne of jealousy, distress, and the fears of whoever resists your intentional change.
The most difficult to deal with, however, and the most infuriating, is the often passive-aggressive, well-meaning “advice” you’ll be offered.
Don’t know what that is? It looks a lot like this: You’re starting a restaurant? That’s great! You do know, of course, that the restaurant business is super-hard to get into, and most fail, right? — OR — I couldn’t quit my job and start my own business, especially in this economy. I hope your family is really ok with you doing this, and that you have a contingency plan? — OR — I don’t want to discourage you, but …and so on and so forth.
When you have chosen to work with mindfulness in order to consciously create a new reality, it can and will draw people to judge, comment, and otherwise turn your dirt path into mud. Some of this is easy to ignore and work around — but what do you do when it’s someone you love?
Taking it on the chin
The first thing to do is to recognize that this is not malicious (at least, if this comes from a loved one or close friend, it’s hopefully not malicious). The person throwing a wet blanket over you really believes that they are working in your better interest.
Everyone has encountered this to a lesser or greater degree in their life. A teacher who told you that you were doing it wrong; a parent telling you NO because they were afraid for you; a friend backing out due to their own fears. These “well-meaning” moments on the part of others were likely a singular occurrence, and relatively speaking, minute.
When this is about your life, and choosing a direction and path all your own, this gets a lot bigger. If you are striving to create something new that goes against the “norm” or societal expectations, people tend to react.
When it’s a close friend or a loved one offering well-meaning advice or commentary, chances are this is coming from their own inability to see the end result, or possibly even the path itself, that you see. Their world view, based on their own innate perspective, may simply not allow them to see such, because it is so very far out of THEIR comfort zone.
So they warn you. They “advise” you. The friend or loved one offers you a glimpse at their own perspective, and quite possibly their own fears and worries because they themselves can’t conceive of this thing, whatever it is. This is why how you react to this when it happens — and it will — can make the difference between keeping your friend or loved one, and maintaining your own sanity.
Well-meaning may neglect intention
Chances are, if you are already going for it, and choosing something unique and against the grain for your life, there’s a lot of fear involved. When you recognize that reality is an illusion, and you are empowered via mindfulness to alter, influence, and even control your own personal reality, acting upon it is huge. Frequently it involves new actions you have never taken before, as well as breaking out of your comfort zone and other potentially distressing but exciting acts.
Because this is all about mindfulness, and working with your own awareness of what you are thinking and the ideas therein, as well as what and how you are feeling and intentional actions you choose to influence and take control over, only you can fully perceive it. The big picture is entirely built within your perception, and no matter how thoroughly you may lay it out for anyone else, they will see it from their own, personal perspective.
Nobody is inside your head but you. Conversely, you can’t get inside anyone else’s head.
Because of this limitation, that well-meaning person, from their own perspective and mindfulness (or lack thereof) of their reality, offers that passive-aggressive, unhelpful, and even sometimes hurtful, advice or wisdom. Either their intent is to warn you based on what they fear, or to offer you an alternative perspective they might believe you have not considered. It’s also possible they feel the need to play “Devil’s advocate” to help you.
They may not know the intent behind what they are doing, they just “feel” it’s something they must do.
How do you react to this without hurting them, telling them off, or feeling hurt yourself?
Mindfulness, reaction, and action
The biggest problem that can come from this, if you already have some doubts which you have overcome, is that this “well-meaning” assault can stir them. Don’t let this throw you off your path. Recognize it for what it is, take it in, analyze it, and then let it go. This can take a number of different forms, but the key is to not allow it to make you second-guess and rehash what you likely already have gone over.
So how do you react to this? Here are a couple of suggestions, which can be used individually, or combined in some way or other.
- Say “Thank You.” Offer thanks to the friend or loved one and their “well-meaning” commentary/statement/advice.
- Explain yourself. This can be a trap, because it could spark an argument. If you choose to explain yourself, do so as generatively, and without argument, as you can. But know that this could spark a discussion or even a fight because the person who has given their “help” may be convinced they are right, and you cannot change that. Hence the better option may be:
- Don’t engage. After you have said “Thank You” or made some other non-committal response to the “well-meaning” offering you received, walk away (literally and/or figuratively). This can go a long ways towards not upsetting anyone, both yourself and the friend or loved one.
There are other options, but these three are the most common. Just bear in mind, the “well-meaning” friend or loved one is (hopefully) not trying to hurt you, they think they are “helping.”
This also can inform you, in the future, whom you might be able to share change with more readily, and thus receive the kind of support you need.
What do you do with unhelpful commentary/advice/ideas/statements from “well-meaning” friends and loved ones?
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on June 12, 2019.