Louise Thompson 's Opinion

Inspirational advice to rock your life with energy, passion, happiness and balance.

Louise Thompson: When loved ones don't love the new you...

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How to react to friends who aren't supportive of your postive life changes. Photo / Thinkstock
How to react to friends who aren't supportive of your postive life changes. Photo / Thinkstock

What do you do when you are loving the new you that is emerging with your new shiny life and, well, some of your nearest and dearest, they don't love the new you? In fact they are not supportive of the changes you are making at all. They don't agree. They undermine you. What do you do when you start changing, letting go of the limiting beliefs that have kept you stuck and you start creating a life you love, setting and holding great boundaries over your time and energy -but you don't get the support you expect?

It can go two ways. I see many clients who, once starting to make conscious positive change, are so much happier, healthier, braver, more fulfilled, and their family and friends are thrilled for them. They love the changes. They adore seeing this new happier person they love emerge. They are supportive both practically and emotionally and many end up starting their own process of positive change and development. Seeing those ripple effects spread is a beautiful thing and this is what happens most of the time.

However, even when someone is noticeably happier, stronger, brighter, a few people will find that their loved ones are not on board at all. The woman whose husband has been calling her fat starts to lose the weight and feels better about herself, then finds he starts to undermine the change, pushing her to eat unhealthy food. The mother who sabotages her daughter's weekends away with a string of needy requests to stay. The teenager who won't have an open discussion about an allocation of domestic chores. There can be some subtle, and not so subtle undermining of the changes the client (you!) is so proud of. It seems very unfair, but is it really that surprising?

The thing to know when you meet this kind of resistance is that it's okay. You can handle it. You can stand in your truth and say "You know honey, you go ahead enjoy that triple cheeseburger, I'm going to skip it and eat more healthy later". We can still choose the new us.

These undermining attacks happen because even though you were unhappy with the old you, the other person in question was totally happy with the old you. The way the old you operated suited them just fine. The fat old you meant they didn't have to look at their own weight issue, or they felt secure around you in a social setting, not when you are attracting the admiring eye of the opposite sex. Or they like you living at home, being single as you are their constant companion and diversion from the fact their own social life could do with some work. Or they love the fact that you pick up all the laundry and the groceries and the cooking. All that stuff is working really well...for them! Why change a good thing! So, whether conscious or subconscious, they have a vested interest in perpetuating the status quo. They don't want to go to the gym. Or get out and meet new people. Or do housework. They want you to stay as you are. For things to stay as they are.

We live in wonderful social ecosystems, and when we change it creates a gap around us for others to change. Or not. Some people will absolutely be inspired by and enthusiastically support your change. They will join that yoga class with you. Or volunteer for the washing up. They are so delighted to see you happier they can't do enough to help. Yay! Fortunately those people are by far in the majority.

Then of course there may be a few who are not so thrilled. That's okay. Obviously it's easier if your change is supported, but you don't actually need their approval. Now you know what you really want from life you can't un-ring that bell of self-knowledge. Know that going back to the old you is not an option you want to take. Respect other people's choices to stay as they are. Hold your new boundaries firmly, state them with love and compassion but with firmness. It's your life, your time, your energy. You get to decide how it is spent. And you know what? Eventually almost everybody comes around. Rather than force, by far the best approach is to lead the way. Inspire them with your progress. Dazzle them with your happiness. Lift them with your positive fully owned choices.

Focus on the people who love the new you and hold the line with those who are not yet on board. You can't force them to embrace your change. Far better to be the lighthouse. Lead the way. Shine.


Action step

Make a list of the people who are supporting you being your happiest self, and creating a life you love. Show some gratitude and spend more time with them.


Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise, visit positivebalance.co.nz or connect on Facebook.

- NZ Herald

Louise Thompson

Inspirational advice to rock your life with energy, passion, happiness and balance.

Louise is a corporate escapee turned wellbeing pro. After 17 successful years on the commercial side of media a serious health crisis led to a complete lifestyle overhall and a brand new direction. As a life coach, and the first Martha Beck accredited coach in New Zealand, she loves nothing better than to help her clients get inspired, get happy and make their own rules for a connected, passion-fueled life. Her first book, The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness, aims to motivate people with practical solutions to step up and live their best lives. A qualified yoga teacher she also runs her own yoga studio and leads corporate wellness seminars. Louise loves to run, cook and dance, and is an incurable travel junkie.

Read more by Louise Thompson

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