Monday, January 23, 2012

Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Well-Meaning Folk

When are you getting married?

When are you having babies?

Weren’t you in law school? What happened?

You’re starting your own business?! But it’s a recession!

We’ve all gotten questions like these at one point or another. Seemingly harmless inquiries that can be, in fact, completely invasive and upsetting to the person expected to respond to them—for various reasons that are likely lost on the person inquiring.

The questions come from family, friends and other “well-meaning folk” with completely good intentions. They want to see us happy. To offer their experience and advice. To see us making the “right” decisions.

The problem is they are planting seeds, igniting insecurities, imposing timelines and setting additional traps on a road that’s probably a bit rocky for you already. They can’t just leave you alone because they think they are helping. What you view as probing and nay saying, they believe to be support.

Ouch. What a tough position to be in.

What you don’t want to do: be rude, shun their support or seem unappreciative.

What you DO want to do: stand firm in your conviction to do things in the way that feels right to you and to live your life on your own terms. Maybe he won’t marry you, maybe you’ll never have children, maybe you decided that law isn’t where your passion lies, and maybe your first attempt at your business will fail. But you will love again, you will find fulfillment in other familial relationships, you’ll develop a new skill and you’ll rebuild your business. Ultimately, you will gain life experience, learn invaluable lessons and discover your own strength and value. And isn’t that what the journey is really all about?

So it’s okay to accept their support, but decline to accept their opinions. It is okay to leave their questions unanswered until you have come to your own conclusions. It is okay to be secure in your decision to enjoy the ride and revel in the present without manipulation. It’s okay to daydream and to set goals without attaching anxiety to the future results. It is completely okay to NOT listen to the well meaning folk in your life. Your heart and your intuition will tell you everything you need to know. Listen to yourself.

Photo via Pinterest


B. Pierre said...

I think I've been asked all of those questions in the past week alone!!!

I've just learned over the past few years of not getting all of sudden in defense mode about my current situation.

I know why things are the way they are and where they're going. It's not my duty to explain it to others or help them understand because no matter what they'll still have there stance.

So now when ever any of those touchy subjects come up, I listen ( ok, half listen) to their comments, reply with "that's your opinion," and keep it moving. No use in wasting my breathe anymore.

It's already a struggle trying to make things happen in life, no need to add more.

Kim Jackson said...

That sounds like the right attitude, B. Pierre. You just have to take it with a grain of salt, or else you'll go crazy trying to match everyone's expectations of the way you should be doing things.

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