In my post Self-sabotage, I wrote about the little and big things we do to sabotage our best efforts. The negative self-talk, the excuses, the self-doubt all besiege our interests in bettering our lives. We often work against ourselves and don’t realize it. I received many thoughtful replies to that post and while writing it I realized that sometimes it’s not just ourselves that sabotage. Sometimes it’s others. It can even come from people who love and care about us.
It may or may not be intentional, but our friends and family might be disrupting our attempts to better ourselves. Common tactics are complaining, temptation, and passing judgement. For example, if you are wanting to get fit, they may complain that the gym is taking up too much of your time. Or you may be trying to get ahead at work and taking college classes for advancement, your friends may tempt you by asking you to go out with them instead of going to class.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your loved ones may not realize their comments and behaviors are upsetting to you. Also they may have insecurities about their own life issues and they don’t like the pressure this puts on them to take a closer look at those issues. There is also the possibility that they fear they’ll be left behind while you are making these positive changes. They may feel the relationship is threatened.
They may also fail to understand why these changes you are making are so important to you. It is to your benefit and theirs if you explain that you fear for your health, which is why you’re hitting the gym. You can explain that you are unhappy with the lack of responsibility and low wages at your job, hence the dedication to achieving more education. Your loved ones may not appreciate your reasons if they are unable to relate.
Their negative behaviors can certainly hurt and cause you distress especially if you are stumbling down the road to self-improvement. Of course you cannot control the behaviors of others, but you can control your own. So how do you neutralize this sabotage?
It’s important to be honest with your loved ones. Tell them why you are unhappy with your life and how much it means to you to try to do something about it. Ask them for their help. If you involve them in this mission for self-improvement they will be more apt to see your point of view. If you have support you are more likely than not to succeed. Ask your friends to exercise with you. Ask them to take a brisk walk with you while you catch up on the latest. Then reward yourselves by resting at the local coffee shop over skinny lattes. Ask a loved one to help you study, or ask if it would be ok to call them the night before a big exam to receive a dose of “you can do it” for your shaky nerves.
If your on the tail end of their passing judgement, tell yourself it’s not about you. That it is a mere reflection of their own personal issues. Your life is your own. They can’t live it for you.
It’s also good to be prepared ahead of time if you know you’ll meet up with those that have trouble with you life changes. For the person who isn’t comfortable with your health efforts by offering you a huge slab of cake, tell them, “it looks delicious and you might have some later.” But for anyone who keeps persisting with temptations simply say, “I’m trying to make a positive change for myself and I would love and appreciate your support.”
Our journeys are our own responsibilities and you are accountable for your choices. For those who really do want what’s best for you, their actions will speak louder than words, by helping you achieve your dreams and goals. Only you can decide what is best for you. The reigns are all yours!