This is not a post about judging people who don’t seem to be making any noticeable ‘effort’ to improve their life, or who aren’t as ‘advanced’ spiritually or what have you. Everyone has their own path.
Some people may be fine just the way they are, and who are we to say there is anything ‘wrong’ with how they are living their life?
While it is true a lot of people lament the state of their life, and that they aren’t happy, the fact is, most aren’t going to do anything about it for one of a million reasons, from laziness to limiting beliefs that make them think what they want isn’t possible, so why bother trying?
If you are someone who is more growth-oriented, it will become more and more obvious as time goes on, that lots of people simply aren’t.
The average person is going to have zero interest in having a conversation about anything related to personal development. The idea of trying to be a happier person or realize your full potential will be seen as ‘corny’ or naive by many.
After all, the world is a cruel, harsh, unfair place, and anyone who believes otherwise is just a sucker. This pessimistic view is a defense mechanism that protects people against things like disappointment and failure.
Most of us have been taught not to expect much out of life, and we settle for a hell of a lot less than we are capable of having. We believe since we aren’t totally miserable, we should just suck it up and make the best of it.
So, when you mix all of this together, a lot of people on any sort of journey of change will probably experience all sorts of discomfort as it relates to other people in their lives.
When you are changing and everyone around you is staying pretty much who they always have been, it might not always go smoothly.
You will experience some internal muck, like fear of growing apart from people; then there are those super-fun times of people criticizing, questioning, mocking and being unsupportive, which triggers all sorts of even more fun stuff, like fear and doubt.
If you are feeling a bit out of sorts with people in your life, and out of place,because of the choices you have made, and the path you have laid out for yourself, you are certainly not alone.
There are so many angles to this issue, but I want to discuss a few points in depth that I think will be particularly helpful in dealing with this problem. A problem that can really create quite the emotional impact, and throw us for a loop, a problem that can really stunt our progress if we don’t find ways to cope with what is being stirred up.
We’re Here to Grow and Evolve..Don’t Fight It
In my humble opinion, our sole purpose on this earth is to experience life from our unique perspective. We are just helping the Universe expand and experience itself. We are here to learn, explore, and create.
Growth and evolution is part and parcel of that process. We are supposed to grow and change over time—many people fight this and is a huge source of discontent and frustration.
We learn from experiences and use that as a springboard to get clear on what we want and don’t want.
We gain insights as time goes on that give us a clearer picture of the type of person we want to be, the types of things we want to do, and what we want to have in our life.
Again, not everyone will do this to any real degree in this go round, and it’s fine. But, if you are one of the people who get this, then you can’t undo it.
You have to go with it. You have to follow your intuition, listen to your heart, explore the path to which you are being drawn, and all that other ‘hippy dippy’ stuff. 😉
I know it can be uncomfortable when people around you just don’t seem to ‘get it.’
I know it is sad to see relationships change because there is no longer as many commonalities between you.
I know it is really upsetting when people don’t seem to support you, or try to make you feel like you are ‘wrong’ in doing what you do. But, remember there is no such thing as ‘wrong’..you just have a different preference, and that is totally fine.
I know at times you will feel really frustrated and just wish you were someone who wasn’t into this whole ‘personal growth’ thing. But, you are, and once that fire gets lit, there is no extinguishing it. You can’t ‘devolve,’ back to where you were before you had all these realizations.
When you become more comfortable with the idea that we are supposed to grow and change, you won’t fight it as much. You will be more accepting of whatever following your path may bring, even if you don’t exactly feel great about it all the time.
There will be less clinging and attachment to what once was, particularly your relationships with other people.
And for anyone who is just starting out on this little journey of change, don’t get scared and think everyone in your life right now is going to turn against you, or you’re going to lose all of your friends.
That is not something that automatically happens. The degree to which people experience this type of thing varies greatly, and so many individual factors influence it.
Becoming a different person will not automatically make you completely incompatible with everyone in your current experience. But, you do have to be prepared for the possibility that significantly changing yourself could lead to changes in your interactions, and relationships with the people around you.
Don’t Convince, Judge, Try to Convert, Preach,Etc…
When we start making improvements in our own lives, we often have a tendency to examine other people and notice what they are doing ‘wrong.’ Their ‘problems’ become so glaringly obvious to us.
And from a well-meaning space, we may try to offer our two cents, and help them see the light as we have. But, here’s the thing…most people aren’t going to see it this way.
They are going to see you criticizing them, and basically saying they are doing life ‘wrong.’ There is going to be a lot of defensiveness, and most likely a few jabs at you, that are just going to make you feel badly.
For the most part, people are well aware of their issues, but the pain of staying the same has not quite surpassed the pain of changing, and it may never. We can really tolerate a high level of emotional torture, but I digress…
When you tell people things they are not ready to hear, at the very least, they will dismiss it, but most likely will get a bit bent out of shape.
If people are having a hard time understanding, criticizing and what have you, don’t make it your mission to get them on your side. If you are feeling compelled to do this, you have to turn inward because the discomfort has nothing to do with other people, it is coming from within.
You are feeling doubtful and insecure, and are trying to quell it by getting other people to agree with you. You are not certain what you want is appropriate, proper, realistic or whatever, and you are looking for others to give you permission to do what you are doing, and want what you are wanting.
This is a recipe for disaster each and every time. Sure, others validating us can feel nice, and give us a boost, but we can’t rely on it. We can’t look to others to make us feel better about ourselves. We can’t make others approval a condition of feeling good about our choices.
With that being said though, it is a good idea to surround yourself with people who will encourage you, and support you. None of us are so confident in our beliefs; very few make it through the other side without coming up against obstacles. Having people who will pick us up is important.
Some people who get really into working on themselves can become just as judgmental as ‘ regular’ folk. If we are not careful, we can start to think we are better than people operating on a ‘lower’ level of consciousness, or we have earned some type of ‘right’ to evaluate other people’s behavior because of all the wisdom we have gained, and having had success in applying it.
Wow, I’m really loving the air quotes today… plenty more to come below.
Sometimes we are going to find ourselves being a bit judgmental..it happens to the best of us. The key is keeping our mouth shut. Ultimately, it’s none of our business how other people live their life.
If we feel the need to change people to make them more to our liking, or to make things easier on ourselves, again, we have to go inward and work on our own shit.
Just do your thing, and people will take notice of the positive changes. Some people may express more of an interest in learning about what you have been doing, and your mindset. And you’ll get to share your experience.
Some people won’t, so don’t waste your breath trying to broach topics of conversation in which they have no interest, or try to ‘help’ them when they aren’t asking.
Let Yourself Feel Whatever Comes Up
There are lots of nuggets of wisdom we get in theory, but may not exactly apply with perfection in our day- to- day experience each time a relevant opportunity arises. That is sure as hell my experience!
Change is the only constant.
Don’t care what people think.
Attachment to what was, and resistance to what now is, will cause great emotional suffering.
Know all relationships don’t last forever.
How other people respond to us, has nothing to do with us, and is all about their own shit.
You have to take ownership of your feelings.
The list could go on and on.
When we start to see how the changes we are making in our life, are impacting our relationships with other people, and other aspects of our outside experience, we might not just totally roll with the punches, and stay in our happy place all the time.
Shit is going to probably come up. Let it.
Feeling more uncomfortable around people you have known all your life because you can’t seem to relate to them in the same way you once did, is normal, and it will probably feel icky. It may even feel a bit scary, or sad, to think at some point, you may not even remain in contact with certain people.
When the people we care about don’t support us, and crap all over the things that are bringing us such joy, that can really hurt. We may feel a sense of betrayal, resentment or anger.
Feeling like we don’t belong or nobody gets us can make us feel isolated and alone.
You worry you may be a subject of gossip or ridicule and that feels awful.
The idea of people talking about you behind your back, or making inaccurate assumptions, can make your blood boil.
The various issues that come up,courtesy of our dealings with our fellow humans (particularly those close to us), can be some of the most unpleasant, and difficult, to work though.
And the first step in overcoming this hurdle is acknowledging how you are really feeling about what is going on, whether it is receiving constant disapproval, or realizing you don’t want to be friends with certain people anymore.
If you just stuff your feelings down, because you know you ‘shouldn’t’ be feeling a certain way, you are going to remain stuck. Don’t judge yourself, or beat yourself up, because you should ‘know better’ than to have these lower energy emotions and thoughts. This will just shut everything down.
And in doing so, you miss out on a golden opportunity to examine your belief system, your fears and all that other fun stuff, and make significant headway in clearing out the muck.
You can’t start to feel better until you are able to admit you aren’t feeling great in the first place.
This whole getting happy and living authentically thing is a very, very, million times very, worthwhile pursuit, but it isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, if we’re being honest. It sometimes involves wading through some muddy waters, emotionally speaking.
Being at odds with your family, moving away from certain individuals, not feeling like you fit in with people you have known your whole life, not being understood or supported, and the like, can bring up a lot of stuff.
But, like anything else that surfaces on this little journey of personal growth, it can be dealt with. It will suck sometimes, I won’t lie, but you’ll get through it.
Just always go back to why you are doing what you are doing. Remember the importance of honoring who you are and what you want. Don’t be fooled into thinking taking things down a notch will make things easier…it really won’t because diminishing ourselves for the benefit of others doesn’t feel good.
If you are experiencing this issue, it means you have really started to make progress, so even though it may not feel great, you should actually be quite proud of yourself for how far you have come.
As time goes on, you will be more comfortable with your journey, and the person you are becoming, and this will naturally make you more okay with the changes that will inevitably result. You won’t suffer as much through them.
What did you think of this post? Can you relate to changing while everyone around you is just business as usual? Did anything I said here particularly resonate with you? Do you have any insights or tips for people who may be dealing with this issue? Can’t wait for your comments guys!