People around us are not always the most reliable source of support and insight. They might not understand our needs for change, they might know how to support us, or they might not even want to support change. At times, in attempts to appease their own discomfort they enable our (and likely their own) harmful behaviors & ways of being.
Implementing any new behaviors and experience is already challenging, but when those around you interfere in your progress because they are benefiting from your complacency, it can be much more difficult to be consistent and patient with yourself in the process.
Ways in which others show resistance.
People around you might resist the change by trying to discourage you, giving you ultimatums, being unsupportive, minimizing your desire for change and your efforts, convincing you how unnecessary change is, making fun of you, calling you selfish, trying to guilt you, making rude/insensitive comments, continuing to remark that the ‘old you’ was somehow better.
All of those things can add a layer of barrier to change, create self-doubt and shame, and then drive you to choose the same, familiar, and the known - even if it’s hurting you. But, if you find yourself waiting for other people’s permission to change your life and put yourself first, just know that you might wait forever.
You have to take care of you.
Remember that you are living your life and your life only. No matter how much we may want others to get onboard and be an endless source of support, our healing and change is always in our own hands. And while it is wonderful to have encouragement and accountability from others (and makes one’s life easier) it is not their responsibility to do anything for us. It is our responsibility to turn our desires into actions. It is our responsibility to create the desired change. It is in our power to give ourselves permission to pursue the life we long for. Others have power over us only when we let them, when we believe their words, and when we keep participating in dynamics that are hurtful to us.
What to do?
You might have to have a difficult conversation (if possible) and be curious about their resistance. You might have to distance yourself, create firmer boundaries, be assertive, seek unbiased support (therapist or a coach), or create a sustainable plan that won’t rely on their support. Be open minded without giving yourself up and losing sight of your desire to heal and grow. Be honest with yourself and always choose what is best for your wellbeing.
Reflections and self-inquiry are such powerful ways into our inner world. The key to an enriching reflection is curiosity. When we discover something we deem negative or bad about ourselves, many of us immediately start judging ourselves for it. If we anticipate that judgment may come up, we can notice it without engaging in it, and then observe it with curiosity. Keep this in mind when you do this exercise.
This reflection exercise is best when done in writing so you can save it and come back to it when you have time to be present with yourself. When you write things down, it forces you to be specific and clear about what it is that you’re thinking and it helps release it from your mind.
While doing this reflection, you might be tempted to bypass any negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors because you don’t want to “put it in the universe.” Not acknowledging something that is there, is not going to solve it - it will stay dormant and will be affecting you without you being aware of it.
When going through the last section of “what would you like to believe instead?” write down as many new thoughts/beliefs as you’d like. Don’t be concerned with it not being realistic, but allow yourself to think of empowering, fulfilling, and powerful thoughts you haven’t had before. Take your time and really embody the feeling that the new belief would give you.
You can journal on the last section every day. Having a morning routine that grounds you and setting an intention for yourself acts as fuel for the rest of your day. Don’t underestimate the power of small daily habits. You can fuel yourself each morning by writing down the new thoughts and bringing forth the feelings that go along with them.