We have all been here, right? Maybe you were offered a chance to participate in a business opportunity and those people closest to discouraged you because “that would never work.” Did you have a dream career that requires tons of hard work and a little luck, like being an actor, a singer, or a writer?
Then chances are you have heard the “what are you going to fall back on when that doesn’t work out” speech. I believe that these people mean well, most of the time, but it can be a challenge to find motivation and stay focused on your goals when those we love, and trust, seem to think we are choosing the wrong thing.
Understand the difference between unsupportive and not actively supporting
There is a subtle difference between being unsupportive and not actively supporting someone, and understanding it can help you find motivation. A person who is not supportive will try and convince you to abandon your goals.
This person is the one who tells you that your dreams are unattainable, and you should give up on them now. An unsupportive person will point out all the reasons you should not do something, making statements like:
- Are you sure you have time for this?
- You know that most people are not successful at this.
- I don’t think you know enough about this to be any good.
People usually ask these types of questions or make these types of statements, because they want to be helpful and help you look at all the angles. They may not realize that when human beings start something new and outside their comfort zone, they frequently need reassurance.
However, some people make these types of statements because they are jealous. Other times, they are projecting their fear and doubt onto you. Regardless of the reason, the sad reality is that comments like these can come from the people closest to us, and they have the power to wound us.
Somebody who is not actively supporting you looks a little different. This person doesn’t go out of their way to help you but doesn’t try and dissuade you from your goal. An active supporter might see your latest article on your Facebook feed, read it, share it, and tag some friends. Or maybe they read it and stop there. Or perhaps they don’t read it and scroll right past. These types of people are not actively supporting you, but they are not unsupportive either.
Learn how to handle each type of person
Understanding the difference can help you find motivation and develop a plan. First off, when it comes to dealing with unsupportive people, the simplest thing to do is nothing. You know who these people are, and the truth is you do not even have to tell them what your latest adventure is.
The idea that I do not owe people an explanation was a difficult concept for me at first because I am a sharer. I also like the approval of others, and due to some lingering effects of childhood trauma, I seek reassurance. I am learning that at the end of the day, this life is my adventure, and I can live it how I see fit.
I will not convince the naysayers with a debate about why I can be a flourishing writer or that living your dreams is the only way to live. I will convince them when I have done the work, and they can not refute the facts.
Their opinion at this point will be irrelevant because of how far I have already come. They will be buying my books at Barnes and Noble when they learn of what I am doing. Not everyone that you know has to be aware of your plans at the early stages, especially the unsupportive people.
However, when it comes to people who do not actively support you, there are a few things you can do. First, ask them to do specific things, rather than wait for them to figure out how to help you. If you have a YouTube channel, you can share a video to your Facebook page and ask five friends to share it on their pages.
Secondly, try and understand that they might be insecure. According to Alden Tan, “it could be plain ignorance or even jealousy, but some people tend to attack new things.” Lastly, have faith in yourself that you can do this without their support.
Three things you can do to build confidence in yourself when people don’t support you
It can be hard to build your confidence, but doing so will help you find motivation in the face of adversity. The first thing that you can do is learn how to challenge your limiting beliefs. These are the negative thoughts that we tell ourselves when we feel the most vulnerable. When I say things like, “No one wants to read what I write,” I am feeding a negative belief.
The key to these types of statements is to replace them with facts. One of my stories has reached 1000 reads, so the statement that “no one” wants to read the things I write is factually untrue. While it might be true that a friend I have doesn’t think I will make it as a full-time writer, the facts will help you retrain your brain what to believe.
Secondly, stop worrying about what that friend thinks. Stop wasting energy, thinking about what other people think. Giving people so much power over how you live your life is one of the most unmotivating things you can do.
You are free to decide to stop placing your decisions in the hands of others. Nearly everyone told Walt Disney that “No one wanted to watch a cartoon about a talking mouse,” until someone realized it was genius. We wouldn’t have the happiest place on earth had he listened.
Lastly, let the negative people walk away, and if they don’t go quietly, you can remove them from your circle. You do not have to bring negative people into your bubble. Negativity will suck all the motivation from you and make it difficult to believe that anything is possible.
Remind yourself that you are the author of your story
Your brain will believe what you tell it. This is your life to live, and you get to decide what paths to travel. It can be challenging to find motivation when people seem to not believe in you, but the only thing that matters is to believe in yourself.
You will find people who support and nurture you. These people will help you grow. Maybe they will teach you a new skill, or possibly, become a mentor. Humans are social creatures, and we seek reassurance, but it is ok to keep going if we don’t find that at the beginning of the journey.
As you grow, so will the caliber of the people you associate with. I have been fortunate that my family and friends are a supportive bunch, but there are currently people close to me that do not know I have been writing. These people would have reacted in a less than favorable, to downright hostile, way and I knew I didn’t want to deal with the negativity.
Have you had someone important to you not support your goals? Were they unsupportive, or not actively supportive? Share your story in the comment section below, along with any tips on how you find motivation!