We have all had to listen to advice about who or what we should be. We are taught how to act, how to think, when to speak, what to do. For some, this has been ingrained in our very being, shaping us into who we are today. It’s embedded into our subconscious minds. We take into account what these people’s opinions would be in every action that we take, losing our independence of thought.
Sometimes, the expectations can act as a motivator.
Example: “I can’t stay at this job for too long because there is no upward growth. My spouse/friends/parents know that I have potential and I need to do something more to prove them right.”
Sometimes, however, it’s more harmful.
Example: “I can’t quit my job and start my own business because I have a good job now. My spouse/friends/parents may think of me as a failure who wasted all of my money on a pipe dream.”
Learning to let go of what other people think of us is not always easy to do. We place so much importance on some of them and for some, we would do whatever it takes to keep them in our lives. It’s understandable why we listen. We forget that we don’t have to. They’ll still be here … at least those who are actually there for you will still be here.
Take a moment to understand what you want. What you desire. What your dreams are. Understand them without prejudice and without restraint.
So how do I ignore them? I can’t hide what I want forever.
Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best one. In this case, talk about it. I would also advise you to take a step towards achieving your dream and then starting the discussion. Why? You won’t be as easily deterred. Now, when I say “take a step” towards this dream, I mean research. Investigate. Plan as much as you can. Act as if you are already on your way. What can you do now to get going without tarnishing what you currently have?
So, I plan. But, they may still think less of me! They say I’m wrong. What then?
That does happen. Hear what they’re saying but take the advice with a grain of salt. If it doesn’t work for you, thank them, but disregard it. You are in charge here. You know what’s best for you. The rest of us are just doing what we can for you with the information we have.
The Lesser Known Truths
Fact #1: people will talk regardless of what you do. That’s just the way we are. We gossip. Someone could be a saint, supporting numerous causes, but did you hear about the rumour of their drinking problem? Wasting charity money on something like that.
You can’t change people. All you can do is change yourself (yes, another cliché, I apologize).
Fact #2: people get bored. If you stand by your actions in their entirety, people will eventually leave you be. Something that has their interest today, will be forgotten tomorrow. So, who cares if you took a chance on yourself for a change? What if your risk was rewarded? What if you could have the life that you can proudly call your own? This is about you, not them.
Fact #3: our loved ones will support us in their own time. If they disagree with you now, give them time. If they truly love you, truly care about you, they will come to accept your decisions. Patience is key.
Fact #4: sometimes, it pays to be a bit selfish. Fight for what you want. Determination is vital when trying to achieve success (I use success here as a term not to define monetary wealth but in terms of your overall happiness). Yes, sometimes it may seem difficult to do this especially if you have a family of your own. However, the dynamic changes when you are happier. Things come together.
The Difference Between Positive and Negative Opinions
We all have to have to be able to handle criticisms, but we have to be able to distinguish the helpful and harmful ones.
Helpful criticisms allow you to grow. They shine a light onto things you may be lacking or other problem areas in your life. They contain information on what to do next. Harmful criticisms, on the other hand, do nothing more than attacking your person. They just lower your spirits by saying what is wrong but not offering anything that you can learn from.
Evaluate them. Ignore the harmful comments and save the helpful ones. Most of the time, the purveyors of the negative opinions are the ones who may need to be removed from your life. It’s just not worth the energy it takes to keep them around.
Either way, listen to what is being said and then determine whether it’s useful to you or not. Regain control. Rise above the expectations and be your own person.
So go out there and live for your better tomorrow!