It can be a painful feeling when there’s something that puts a fire in your belly but your loved ones – spouses and partners, friends, parents, and siblings – seem to be hell-bent on talking you out of it.
Maybe these conversations sound familiar:
“Are you sure you wouldn’t be better off doing X?”
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
How can you cope when it seems like the people you most want support from seem to be the biggest naysayers? Here are three steps:
1. Deal with your triggers
This has to come first, because it’s only once you’ve worked through your feelings that you can see the situation in a different way.
What I mean by “triggers” is, there are unconscious reasons why you’re perceiving this experience as something that they are doing to you. There are other ways to interpret their behaviors – which I’ll go into in a moment – but none of those attempts to re-frame the situation will do any good until you address what you’re feeling. So let’s do that:
I always encourage people to see how their emotional experiences relate to their Core Wounds. Everyone’s Core Wound is either “I am Unworthy” or “I am Unlovable,” which means that until their Core Wound is healed, everyone is naturally oversensitive to feeling unworthy or unlovable – or to use other words for it, disrespected or unsupported.
And when it comes from the people who are supposed to love, support, and respect you the most, it hurts that much more.
There are short-term and long-term ways to deal with these triggers. The long-term ways involve healing them at whatever level you can, whether it’s at the Core Wound itself (which would remove the trigger permanently) or at a more surface level using Reiki, tapping, etc. (which can bring long-term but not permanent relief).
Since being in the middle of an acute trigger experience might not be a convenient time to stop and say, “Let me find a healer,” some short-term DIY ways that you can deal with your trigger include:
- Take 5 minutes of slow, controlled breathing. Seriously – this works, and I highly recommend it if you’re actively feeling angry or hurt. To your subconscious mind, having your dreams not be supported feels the same as a physical attack. It triggers your fight/flight/freeze responses, and slow, controlled breathing (e.g., inhale for 3 to 5 counts, exhale for 3 to 5 counts) is one of the simplest ways to calm those responses.
- Journal, or write that person a letter. The story that’s stuck in your mind will keep playing over and over until you get it out. And you won’t be able to access a better-feeling thought until you get that story out. Write about it (to yourself or the other person) or record a memo to yourself – but please, DO NOT share that letter or recording with anyone else, ESPECIALLY not the person you’re feeling hurt by. That’s not what this is about.
Notice I didn’t suggest you meditate. For anyone other than a master of meditation (and maybe not even them), the ability to quiet your mind in the middle of an active trigger is probably out of your reach. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
This step could take 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 weeks. Once you have calmed yourself enough to think clearly, then you can move into seeing your situation from a different perspective:
2. Understand that they are trying to support you, even if it’s in a f*cked up way.
When a loved one asks, “What if it doesn’t work out?” you might reflexively hear that as “You are going to fail,” but what they really mean (I hope) is “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
I experienced this a lot while I was married and building my business. My now ex-husband asked me multiple times if I’d considered going back into IT work. For so long I was mad that he thought I could so easily throw away my life purpose as a healer; eventually, though, I saw it through his eyes: He had been watching me struggle with my business for years and wanted to help, but the only way he knew to help was to suggest the easiest way to end what he perceived as my pain. He couldn’t understand that even when I was struggling, I was having fun and enjoying all the freedom that comes with having my own business.
Which brings up another point: You might have heard the phrase “middle class mindset.” Simply put, this refers Western society’s conditioning to desire a 9-to-5 job working for someone else, ideally for the rest of our lives. This mindset also involves great aversion to risk and to being different from everyone else, so even if your dreams aren’t about building your own business, this mindset is still likely to be what’s influencing your family’s reactions.
People who are enmeshed in that mindset perceive it as a source of security with predicable income, benefits, etc. Of course, that’s a false sense of security, because multiple recessions and now a pandemic have proven that people can lose their “steady” jobs at any time. But those experiences haven’t dissolved the unconscious beliefs held by many people about job security – and therefore, they literally can’t fathom anyone’s choice to leave a “secure” setup and embark on the risky path of entrepreneurship.
To say all of this much more simply, they are trying to support you – but they’re trying to support your security, not your dreams.
What this means is, if you find yourself wanting to scream “You just don’t get it!!” at your loved ones, you’re right! They literally don’t get it – and probably won’t no matter how hard you try. Which leads to Step 3:
3. Surround yourself with people who get it.
Instead of repeatedly expecting support from people who don’t know how to provide it, let them off the hook and find people who can support you. When you find a source for the support that you need, you’ll be less bothered by the people who don’t give it to you.
Whether online or in-person, find groups of people that share your interest and with whom you vibe. I belong to a few Facebook groups for women entrepreneurs that I absolutely love. These days I’m giving support far more than asking for it, but I’m happy to do so (I feel like it’s my turn), and it’s nice to know there’s a place where people understand the mindset of an entrepreneur. My closest personal friendships are now all with fellow entrepreneurs, too; this is how my life evolved as I naturally drifted toward the people who “got” me and away from the people who didn’t.
As you develop connections with other people who share your dream (whether it’s entrepreneurship or something else), remember to use the opportunity to share not only your questions and struggles but also your celebrations and triumphs. Because underneath it all, that’s what you’re looking for: the people who agree that what you’re doing is worthy, lovable, and overall freakin’ badass.
What’s your experience with this? Have you found any other ways to cope with it? Share with all of us in the comments.