This is a guest post by Michelle of Wicked Whimsy. Here, she helps us manage those times when we step out and tell others of our exciting plans only to be met with misunderstanding and negative feedback. I am lucky to have had experienced almost no negativity with my plans, but I also don’t make room for it; if I feel it coming I use many of the tips that Michelle outlines below.
We’ve all experienced it; we share a dream with someone, eyes alight with excitement, only to watch the other person sniff in disdain and say something akin to “Well, that’s not very realistic, is it?”
If you’re not prepared, this can be a crushing blow to both you and your dream. Dealing with people who would slay your dreams with one fell swoop can be frustrating, confusing, and heartbreaking, if you let it be. And it probably won’t ever be easy, especially if those naysayers are close friends or family. However, there’s a few tips and tricks that can make it easier on you, and less likely to impact the way you view your dreams.
The first thing you’ll want to remember is that most people react that way to other peoples’ dreams because of the way they think about their own dreams. The person who is fast to pooh-pooh the ambitions of others is very rarely acting on any of their own ambitions or dreams. Since they aren’t valuing their own dreams, you can hardly expect them to value yours.
The other reason many people react that way, especially people who care about you, is that they’re trying to protect you. Misguided though it may be, they think that surely things will be easier on you now if you just give this dream up, instead of trying it and possibly failing. They don’t want to see you get hurt, so they’re trying to prevent it.
When you remember that these two things are the motivation for the way most people react, it’s a lot easier to avoid getting riled up or upset, and to stay calm instead.
With Firmness & Calmness
The best way to react to these conversations is by staying firm and calm. If you aren’t firm with the naysayer, chances are they’ll take that as an invitation to further try and convince you of their viewpoint. You might think you’re being polite, but responding with something like “Oh, why do you say that?” will only further the conversation, which isn’t going to help you out at all.
Instead, respond firmly and calmly, and change the subject afterwards, making it clear that you don’t want to talk about it any more. If they bring it up again, remain calm & say “I don’t want to talk about it”, then ask them a question. People love to talk about themselves, and bringing up their favorite subject makes them less likely to try and change the subject back again.
This is certainly a last result, and it doesn’t work in all situations, but it’s worth considering. If nothing else works, and if the person insists on attempting to be a negative influence, avoid them entirely, or at least the subject. Ask them questions before they get a chance to ask you questions, have a mental list of “safe topics” that you both agree on, but make sure that if you’re talking to them, you won’t have to talk about whatever dream it is they’re intent on slaying.
And if that doesn’t work, make them not a part of your life any longer. Stop talking to them or interacting with them. Even if this person is someone you have a relationship (of any kind) with, if they’re constantly dogging your dreams, consider ending the relationship. Life is short, too short to be surrounded by un-supportive people!
How do you deal with naysayers & would-be dream slayers?
About The Author: Michelle is a 22 year old rainbow haired writer & blogger, who writes at Wicked Whimsy, at the intersection of creativity, aesthetics, productivity, & personal development. She recently released Build Your Own Castle, a free interactive guide for getting yourself together.