WHAT RESISTANCE WILL I RECEIVE FROM MY FAMILY ONCE THEY REALIZE THAT I AM GOING TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS?
– Stress of Family Obligation & Tradition. The biggest source of stress is the obligations, and the burden of family tradition. Family relationships are complicated. Maybe you come from a long line of physicians or Airmen. It is natural for your family to want you to purse and uphold that tradition. Now, if your dreams are not the dreams of your family, it is your right to try something different. Choice is our greatest gift.
– The Desire to Avoid Confrontation. We have all been in a place where it is just easier to avoid certain situations or people. The solution is not to avoid them completely. Setting boundaries is important, but be mindful not to let fear chase you away from confronting those difficulty family members. What is the worst that can happen? Maybe they get an attitude or cut you off. The reality is that the anger will dissipate. People calm down, change their minds, grow, etc. At least by confronting the issue head on, they can never say that you were being deceitful or untrue. Things always have a way of coming full circle.
– Negative Feedback. We have all had that family member that leans over and whispers something completely unnecessary like, “Getting kind of big, has your new job made you lazy. Statements like these open up the flood gates of stress. If someone says something negative about you, this means that their self-esteem in question. We tend to be more aggressive when our self-worth has been challenged. This means that your new found path has made them feel very insecure.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MANAGE THAT FAMILY STRESS CAUSE BY THE PURSUIT OF YOUR DREAMS?
– Time to turn it around. Embrace that they are who they are. To keep them in your life, you are going to have to love them anyway. Personality is pretty constant. Given that your family members will probably go on being their same old selves, you need to decide what your boundaries are. For example, my husband and I use the word Sweet Tea. If he or I say this, we both know to head for the door. So, I challenge you to come up with a code word. Use this code word to refocus and interrupt your negative thoughts thatare provoked by that family member. This code word should remind you a peaceful situation, make you laugh, or make you visualize something completely different. This code word is the first step towards taking control back from your stressful family member.
– Repeat: It’s not about me. You think it’s about you when your brother calls you a “selfish, lazy, son of a something,” but actually it’s not. You being around him triggers feelings that he does not want to deal with. Just remember misery loves company.
– Don’t try to control them. The only way you can avoid getting stuck in other people’s craziness is by not trying to control them. Disconnect yourself, if you try to argue and explain yourself, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of stress. Constantly explaining your decision will take you on a crazy cycle that will never end. Please do not fight evil with evil. Always fight evil with good.
– Make a plan. If it helps to plan where you are going to sit, what conversations you will have and how you will respond to sensitive issues. Come up with potential answers to those sensitive question, but do not drive yourself crazy with the “what if’s”. Plan sensibly. You might invent five or so canned responses to be used when unjustly questioned about your new direction.
– Plan for recovery time. Therefore, allow some needed recovery time after discussing your new life with those family members. Set aside a day or evening designated for doing things that make you happy. It could be for taking a bubble bath,watching your favorite movie, spending some time alone reading or cooking, etc.
HOW WILL YOUR LIFE BE IMPACTED BY FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS?
– Tomorrow is not promised. That annoying aunt may not be around next Christmas, so do your best to put your mess aside so that you can enjoy the moment. Look to your family for comedy material. Just think how many comedian have made a living off of bad family experiences.
– Have the courage to live a life true to you, not the life others expect you to have. When people realize that their life is almost over, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. It is important to honor your dreams. If you have your health, you have freedom. Do all that you can do, while you can do it.
– Your work will not feel hard. Simplifying your lifestyle, aligning your dreams and making conscious decisions, will allow you to live happily with the income you make. The work will have more meaning then the money you make. I am not saying that generating a living and satisfying wage is not important, it is your accomplishments that will intrinsically reward you.
– Your family will respect you. Do not regret spending too much of your life working and not cultivating your relationships. The older we get, the more we value spending time with those that we love. Those little league games, banquet dinners and thanksgiving meals are the memories that we carry with us throughout life’s journey. Prioritize love. Prioritize your relationships.
– You are allowing yourself to be happy! Happiness is a choice. Choose your dreams. The comfort of familiarity can cause you to lose valuable time. Fear of change will tell you to lie to others and to yourself. Deep within, you long to laugh and have silliness in your life. Following your dreams is not easy but will emotionally allow you to feel free. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is the last thing on your mind. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, and be authentic with your family. Invest in your happiness.