Alright, now that you have determined and deemed yourself worthy of your goals, what the heck do you do now? How do you deal with friends and family who actually actively discourage you. Well, aside from drop kicking the outspoken ignoramus try out the suggestions I have provided you with below.

When Friends and Family *Discourage* You (Actively)

As mentioned in my previous post (When Friends and Family do not Support Your Goals Part 1) if your situation is (active) discouragement from others regarding your goals, then it takes a little more tact to handle it.

Firstly, you should take their discouragement as a good thing. Whenever you get people dissuading you from pursuing something, that usually means there is great value hidden in the goal. This also means when you finally achieve your goal, there are going to be some really great things in store for you. Here’s a quote which I shared on Facebook earlier this week, which also happens to be one of my favorite quotes ever:

“History shows us that the people who end up changing the world – the great political, social, scientific, technological, artistic, even sports revolutionaries – are always nuts, until they are right, and then they are geniuses.” ~ John Eliot

When Neil first made the decision to quit his full time firefighter job and pursue his passion full time, he faced resistance all around. The resistance didn’t daunt him though – in fact, he took it as a positive thing, because it meant that success was going to be even sweeter when he made it. The resistance also made him even more determined to pursue it and succeed, because then he could show people that everything they said were merely limiting beliefs, and anything is possible in this world (something which we always believed in since young).

Secondly, people’s discouragement usually reflect their inner fears and beliefs. For example, if you have someone discouraging you from pursuing your goal to become a dancer, it says more about their belief that dancers don’t make good money or that it’s hard to make it as a dancer. However, this is only their belief, and not a fact.

Thirdly, when your friends and family make a point to share their disapproval, that’s really just their own special way of saying “Hey, I care about you ♥”. It’s just that they don’t know how else to express that, especially if they are not good at expressing themselves. Hence, you should be happy about their concern for you.

What You Can Do When People Actively Discourage You

So, how should you handle such a situation then?

1) Address their Concerns (if applicable)

1. Remain open to feedback from others, but at the same time evaluate them consciously.

2. Understand the source of any concerns so you can address them accordingly.

3. Adapt your plans if needed, but only if it’s for the betterment of your end vision.

4. Discard the unconstructive feedback at the end of the day.

Follow those 4 points above, and you will be in a good place. You don’t have to be defensive about their discouragement (after all what resists will persist) – understand why they react this way, and address their concerns accordingly.

2) Focus your Energy on your Goals (Let the Results Do the Talking)

If the unsupportive people in your life still proactively discourage you after you have tried to address their concerns (in a logical, calm manner, not by shouting or arguing), then clearly, it doesn’t matter what is said to them, because now they are reacting from their hang ups, and not so much about your situation.

At this point, it may be best to focus your energy on your goals and show them that you know what you’re doing via your actions and results, and not via verbal talk. Don’t spend too much time entertaining their fears, because you are just delaying your progress. Let your results do the talking.

Know that rejecting your goals or your plans doesn’t mean they are rejecting you per se. It just means they want you to be happy and they are unsure of whether your goals or plans can help to lead you to happiness. You should use their discouragement as an impetus to succeed faster and on a grander scale then, as a way of letting your friends and family know you are in a good place and they need not worry about you.

3) Tune Them Out

Having people actively discourage you on a regular basis regarding your goals is most definitely a very spirit-deflating experience.

I recommend to tune them out. Perhaps don’t cut them out totally from your life, but at the very least, reduce the time you spend with them.

At the End: Learning To Be Self-Reliant

At the end of the day, having unsupportive friends and family shouldn’t deter you from achieving your goals. It’s not sustainable to always be reliant on others to give you support anyway, because others have their priorities just like you do, and those priorities may not always include you.

And I’m not saying this in a “Boo-hoo, we live in a cold world and there’s no one we can ever rely on” sort of way. That’s a ridiculous, self-limiting thought. I’m saying this as a “There are people who do want to help you. But there is a time and place for everything, and it’s not fair to expect constant attention and support from others all the time” sort of way. There comes a time when you need to step out on your own and become the person you are meant to be.

To begin with, your goal should be self-fueling and something that drives you forward. If you’re not capable of achieving it at the moment, that’s okay: develop the capability by cultivating the necessary skills. Even if you aren’t capable of doing so at the moment, you can always develop the capability by cultivating the necessary skills. Knowledge can be built, skills can be learned, new relationships can be fostered. If you’re always dependent on others’ support for your success, that means you will enter into descend into a state of limbo whenever people are not around to support you. That’s not a healthy situation to be in!

Whether others provide support for you or not should be a secondary factor, not a primary one. Great if they can give you support — cherish that and make the best out of it!If not, appreciate what you can get from them, while at the same time learn to redirect your support needs elsewhere, via the steps I have already outlined earlier in the article.

Take this as a big step in becoming a more self-sufficient and self-reliant person. Believe it or not, this is actually a great opportunity to build your identity outside of the current relationships you have, and to come into your own. Say your name is John. Who is John? Who is John outside of his relationships with others? What is he capable of accomplishing by himself? These are some existentialistic questions you’ll probably end up addressing during this journey.

Interestingly, you may find that as you become more self-sufficient, the people around you begin to show more interest, and perhaps offer more support, to your goals. You will definitely find that you start to be more confident, less needy, and more directive in what you do. That’s when you become a fuller person in your own right, and not someone who only exists within his/her relationships.

With love from the Trench kitchen,