As the maxim says, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”
They love you but stress you
When facing challenges, we often reach out to our family or friends for strength.
But we do not always anticipate their own stress and filters that they bring.
The fact is that people around you see your challenges through their own lens.
They mean no harm, but when talking about a situation their empathy comes only from what they relate to.
Visions of life
We all have a different vision of life. The same information will land differently on your brain than another. One of the best examples of holding different perceptions is siblings: growing up in the same household, one may have felt unsupported or neglected while the other sibling felt trusted and happy with his or her freedom, even if they were treated the same.
Both are right and wrong at the same time. Right because they felt that way and it is their truth. Wrong because it is not the only truth but a different point of view.
The person you confide in has their own unspoken fears, beliefs, judgments and so on. It has nothing to do about you but it will influence their answer.
Projecting their Fears
When I opened my practice, I heard many worries directed at me. “Will you remain on good terms with your past employer when you return to reason and see that you are failing?” “How will you find clients, you are unknown,” or “but what if you do not generate a full salary?”
Needless to say, when you are in need of support, these words first hit you hard. You feel devaluated and it affects your own confidence. Apart from not helping, they add a layer of fog to your own inner doubts.
But what I learned is that behind their poor choice of words lie a simple truth: “we are scared for you because we cannot imagine doing it” or “we don’t want to see you suffer.”
It has nothing to do with them believing in me or not. It has to all to do with them not believing they could manage what I want to do or to face my challenges.
Finding the best space
So how can you deal with this situation, and find a safe space to speak your mind?
Obviously, family and friends have their role, but when sharing your struggles you need to choose your interlocutor carefully. Trust your feelings that whether or not the person you chose is the right one, and can really help you rather than be an echo chamber of their own worries.
If you can, find neutral support like a coach. Someone who is not emotionally involved is likely to offer better objective guidance and support. It may not be the advice you wanted to hear, but it will definitely be the advice you need to hear to help you move forward.
If you are in the middle of doubts with anxiety rising, you can access a free five steps tips booklet Dancing with your Fears (Gracefully) and bring back calmness in you.