So you want to make a change, but you are getting resistance from your friends and family. What do you do?
There are so many external factors that inhibit change and one of the biggies are the nay-sayers. The people in your life who would prefer you stay just as you are, or don’t agree with what changes you are making, or how you are making them. And some people won’t understand your perspective on a certain topic.
Dealing with resistance can make you feel like the “odd woman out” as you might feel like you are not being fully appreciated, supported or understood.
A question I often get is, “why is it that people have a hard time supporting the changes I want to make?” Often is it is more comfortable for them if you remain your same, predictable self. The people close to us, parents, friends, partners, often just prefer to maintain the status quo. Your change, growth, and shift will inevitably require them to do some changing too, as they’ll have to respond differently to you, and this is uncomfortable for some people.
You can’t change them. So what can you do? How should you handle the people who, well meaning, or otherwise, attempt to sabotage your efforts to create a better life for yourself? Do you just cease your efforts and retreat back into the life you longed to change? I hope the answer for you is no.
Here are a few ways to create a healthy boundary around yourself against those who are resistant to your change, values, beliefs or even perspectives.
1. Get very clear on your own values and motivations for this change. When are confident about why you are changing, you’ll be less susceptible to others’ opinions. And the same is true with regards to your beliefs, values and perspectives. Remain true to yourself and stand firm in your convictions. When you have clarity, that deep knowingness, you become less willing to follow the herd and most people won’t even fight you on it because they can feel your confidence.
2. Prepare a comeback. If you are worried about people’s reactions, which is normal, you can strengthen your self-esteem by preparing what you are going to say. It could be matter-of-fact, humorous, or whatever fits best for you. Anticipate the common reaction, and prepare a response that will shut the conversation down and make it clear you’re not open to negotiating about your intention.
3. Accept that some people may never support your progress. Consider saving your progress updates for people who are more supportive. If you give them less opportunity to offer their feedback, it’s less likely that you’ll have to contend with them. I know it can be scary to go against the crowd and stand up for what you desire and believe in, especially when it feels unpopular, but being true to yourself means accepting that some people will never follow you. That’s okay, because you are the leader of your own life.
4. Be a supportive resource for others. When people begin to notice that extra pep in your step, or are intrigued by your beliefs, or perspectives, they’ll want that for themselves. That is what makes a great leader. If you sense someone is considering their own change, offer your story and share what has worked for you. Don’t push, lead. Change can sometimes be a slow process, but if someone is ready to take the first step, you could very well serve as their expander. Being a supporter gives you a confidence boost, which helps you be less susceptible to others’ opinions.
5. Push through it. There may be times when it feels impossible. When so many forces are stacked up against you, and you can’t possibly forge a new path in life. This is exactly when you keep going. This is the stress point beyond which true lasting change occurs. Revisit your goals and make sure they’re still in line with your core beliefs. And if so, just keep going. You can create a new life for yourself and serve as an inspiration to others.
Let’s take this to our journals so we can do the inner work.
Who are my biggest resistors to the changes I’m trying to make, or even towards my values and beliefs?
What bothers me the most about their resistance?
Is their nay saying what is preventing me from being, doing and having what I desire?