“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
So have you ever wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary, and then all you hear from a few people in your life are words of discouragements. “That idea is stupid,” or “Why are you wasting your time?”
You start second-guessing yourself, your confidence is shot. You wonder if you should still go through with what you want to do. Whether its your choice on becoming a vegetarian, buying a house, going back to school at forty, or spending two months volunteering as an English teacher in Thailand (after all, why would anyone spend their free time helping others rather than lounging in on a beach for those two months?)
Naysayers suck. So rather than second-guessing yourself, learn how to deal with them. Here are some tips:
1. Dealing with family. Cutting ties with your family is drastic, and unless you have a very good reason to (say an abusive relationship), learning how to deal with them is essential to maintaining any sort of relationship. One way to deal with naysaying family members is by redirection. Rather than having your family pick apart every negative flaw, shower them with success stories. Give examples of prominent successful people who have traveled down the same path. Show them how this decision can be relevant to your future. Keep track of all your small success. Remember, no matter what you think, you're family isn't trying to hurt you. Ensure them, this is the path you feel you need to take for your own happiness, success, and peace of mind.
2. Ignore them. Most family and friends who differ drastically in opinions about politics, religion, and other facets in life, have come to a truce long ago to not discuss these controversial topics with each other. If you can, when your naysayer naysays something, shrug it of, and change the subject. If your choices aren't hurting you or anyone else, there is no reason to listen. If you are working for the good of something else and are passionate about what you are doing, and they aren't able to see that, its time to develop a thick skin. Its not the only time in life you will need it.
3. Evaluate your naysayers background. Rather than just assuming this person is jealous, scared, or an ass, take a good look at your naysayer:
1. Are they living the kind of life I want to be living?
2. Are these words coming from a place of love, hate, or fear?
3. Does this person understand what makes me happy?
4. Is this person respectful of my goals, desires, and passion?
5. Will I be happier if I take this person's advice or follow my own path?
6. Is this person a credible/knowledgeable about the subject they are giving advice on?
4. Acknowledge their points. Your naysayers might be bringing up some decent point. Tell them 'thank you for helping me see any potential flaws in my plan.' Now, look at these flaws. Can you find a solution to any of these problems? Are these really problems, or just not the ideal for your naysayer? Is this issue even worth addressing, or is it a waste of time and energy?
5. Eliminate them (if necessary). If these naysayers are not main fixtures in your life, why are you listening to them? Reexamine your relationship with this person- are they constantly bringing you down? Is their presence in your life slowing down your own trajectory? If so, why are you still bothering?
6. Surround yourself with supportive people. Enablers want you to achieve your goals. They wish only for your success and happiness. These people are the true cheerleaders in your life. Sadly, not everyone has them in their lives. If you don't, reach out to people you wish to have in your life. Even though I might never have the opportunity to share a beer with Jane Goodall or Anderson Cooper, as they tell me whirlwind anecdotes about their lives, I can still be part of their positive energy. I can listen to them, watch their interviews, follow them on social media, and read their stuff. As both Anderson Cooper and Jane Goodall know, with the thousands of naysayers constantly plaguing their lives, in the wise words of Taylor Swift- “Haters gonna hate.”