How to Deal with Naysayers


Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?

~ Danielle LaPorte

Sometimes I hear people blame or judge themselves for not liking their jobs or for having the feeling that something just isn’t right in some part of their life. Often the self-blame and guilt arises when family members, friends or even acquaintances express thoughts such as “But you have a great job! Many people would love to be in your shoes!” And bam, there you have it. Their own feelings don’t seem valid. On a similar note, there are folks who are taking risks and getting out of their comfort zones to do something they’ve always wanted to do, only to receive (often unsolicited) advice from family members and friends telling them to do the opposite. While these folks are dreaming big and excited to move forward, sometimes what their loved ones tell them is in conflict with what their gut, inner voice and intuition is telling them.

That conversation usually goes something like this:

You’re starting your own business? But what about paid vacation? What are you going to do about health insurance? Don’t you want something more stable? There’s still time to get a 9-5 job. So-and-so got a great job with the government, you know.

Or – But you work for (insert company name) -- you should stay longer!  (Meanwhile you feel like you’re selling your soul to them and working your butt off 60 hours a week.)

Sound familiar? 

Here’s the deal: People will tell you what they think is best for you based on their own values, fears and belief systems. It’s usually about them, not about you. Some people may even envy you for having the courage to “do your thing.”

Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection of their own reality; their own dream.
When you immune to the opinions and actions of others,
you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

~ Don Miguel Ruiz

While I’m not here to tell you what’s right or wrong for you, what I encourage is to trust what you feel in your gut. Sometimes every cell in our body is nudging us to a higher purpose. Do your best not to get caught up in other people’s “shoulds” if it doesn’t feel right to you. Often times people have jobs (or are in relationships) that look good “on paper” but feel way out of alignment or are even miserable.

My personal goal is not necessarily to change people’s opinions, as we can’t control other people’s thoughts or feelings. My goal has been to be authentically me and to be okay with - and even embrace - all opinions, even the naysayers. It’s a fact that there will be people who don’t agree with or don’t understand what we’re doing.

Advice is usually well-intended as sometimes the person advising is trying to protect us and keep us safe. I encourage you to be conscious of absorbing other people’s fears as YOUR truth.

Here are a few strategies I myself have found helpful to practice, especially when I left my full-time job:

  • Create boundaries. Some things you could say to deflect are: "That's an interesting comment," or “Thanks for your input (or feedback),” or even “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  You can use the “broken record technique” which is often effective: continue to (calmly and assertively) state what you think over and over again no matter what their response is. Example: I’m happy with my decision.  (But what about….)  I’m happy with my decision.

  • Remember you can choose what you want to do with their advice. Remind yourself that these are their belief systems and you can choose to look through a different lens.  Follow your inner voice and be honest with yourself, especially if you don’t feel their advice is not right for you. Don’t stay small because of someone else. Remember, nothing amazing came out of staying inside a comfort zone. :)

  • Acknowledge and address your own fears. Other people’s words might also serve as an opportunity to acknowledge any of your own fears they may be reflecting back to you.  Are these people serving as a mirror? Does a part of you believe their comments or advice? Are they reflecting back to you your own fears in your subconscious? If their comment is really bothering you, there may be some healing to be done still.

  • Breathe through it and nurture yourself. What would you tell a loved one or friend in this scenario? Use love and kindness with yourself.

  • Let their statements serve as a reminder to come back to center, stand in your truth and to say yes to your dreams. Go back to your “why.” Remember your underlying reasons why you are doing what you’re doing.

  • Stay on your game and keeping going for your dreams.
    Remember, the world needs that special gift only that YOU have!
    ~ Marie Forleo

  • Surround yourself with people who support you on your journey. Find a community of people with similar goals and interests. As it is easy to get caught up in thinking about people who don’t agree with you, remember that there are likely kindred spirits who will support and cheer you on as well.

  • Send them love, light and blessings, let go and move forward. Ultimately we can even express gratitude as we have people in our lives who are concerned for our wellbeing.

  • Be open to possibilities. Sometimes we have to let go of our idea of happiness and be open to the process. If what they are saying actually feels right to you, try those words on for size, reflect, and see if you feel expansive or contracted.

How about you? What have you found helpful when other people give you advice that you don’t feel is right for you?  Please share below!

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Nancie VitoComment