It’s going to happen. As you forge your own path, as you say no to what people around are saying yes to (and vice versa), some people are bound to not understand. You’re going to get resistance. “That’s not how the world works.” “Come on, you can’t do that.” “Who do you think you are?”
Congrats, you touched a nerve
Interestingly, I’ve found that the people who are the least supportive of you are the ones who feel the most threatened by it. For example, when I’ve told people that I feel like self-employment is the only way that I’ll ever feel like I’ll ever have a sense of security, some people who are in a traditional “secure” job have lashed out disproportionately at me, said how ridiculous that is, and that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and how dare I? In reality though, I think that they might be wondering if I’m on to something, though they might want to, as it would bring up some uncomfortable thoughts regarding their own path.
(This may not be so much news. If you’ve ever heard of a news story—or known someone—where a staunchly homophobic person is later found out to be closeted, you know what I mean.)
In my experience, the stronger the opposition to your message, the closer to home it is hitting. Once you realize this, it is one of the greatest assets to protect against loneliness.
You versus a world of meh
The hardest response to deal with are the people who just don’t care. They hear you talk about your ideas, your dreams, your wild adventures, and they say, “oh that’s nice,” possibly with a patronizing pat on the shoulder. Or they just stare at you, blinking. Ooooh, I know, it gets me mad just thinking about it.
But the truth is, there are some people that just won’t understand. And those people you may just have to let go, or let become more distant. And that’s fine. Remember, you’re growing and changing, and sometimes, other people don’t do that, or they grow and change in their own way. And your paths may diverge.
While that’s painful, there is a bright spot. By pulling away from those who don’t understand you, you leave room for others to come into your life who do understand. It may not seem like this is possible, and in those moments of despair, it is always tempting to compromise your ideals for the sake of others. But try not to compromise too much. You need to be true to yourself. And frankly, you can’t not be true to yourself after a while. Don’t try to fake who your are.
That’s how the light gets in
Allow that space to open up. Don’t fill your life with people who don’t understand you. Learn from that void. Use it to give you strength, determination. Stand strong against it. And I promise you that eventually you will find others who are on your same path. An tribe of people who are standing up against loneliness and disapproval, and therefore are capable of pretty much anything.
Have you encountered disapproval when you’ve forged ahead on your own path? I’d love to hear about it below.
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