Dealing With Unsupportive People
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.
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