There have been a few points in my life where I’ve become so overwhelmed by particular decisions that I’ve avoided making them at all. I bottled it for fear of failure, too much stress and naturally, over-thinking what other people would say.
I had to accept that when we tell others about our goals and dreams, they’re going to have an opinion on them – whether they reveal it to us or not.
Thinking of moving country, packing in a job you hate or making a fresh start on a brand new career? These are indeed all big deals. They require lots of pushing outside respective comfort zones, changing routines and probably, some sleepless nights. Such changes mean that our minds are going to think differently and our guts are going to be in a war with our hearts. Questions such as “Are you sure?” “That’s a big step” and “What’s your motivation?”are ones which I’ve received as I’ve taken decisions. The plethora of answers I’ve come up with have been a mixture of sarcasm, white lies and blank silences. About to turn thirty, I feel like I’ve managed to master my diplomatic “This is what is happening so shut up” type responses and even managed to learn a thing or two from such encounters.
In order to manage the backlash, conversations and judgement when making a big life decision, consider the following: What do I feel like saying? What can I learn? and of course, how can this become a blog post down the line?
Here are the ways I deal:
*When faced with an awkward conversation and having to explain yourself, what bothers you exactly? For me, it’s insecurity. The thoughts of whether or not this was the right decision would run through my head. Other times, it was the person the opinion was coming from that irritated me and occasionally, I’d wonder if they really understood what was actually going on. Being self-reflective about the situation is key.
* Funnily enough, people aren’t really that invested in your life and if they are, it’s because they’re your mom or partner or best friend and really really care about you. It’s one extreme or the other and either way, thinking of their curiosity as either their boredom or genuine concern for you, makes it all the more bareable.
*When I finished school, I went back to my Summer job while I was waiting for internships in marketing to come up. It was a challenging time as, up until that point I thought I’d be walking into my dream job rather than having to work for free. As more and more people came to me with bewildered expressions and confused answers to a question I hadn’t asked, I would tell them that I was applying for NASA and my internship was simply a stop-gap. Conversations quickly moved onto something else.
*Being totally honest, if someone close to me decides to adventure off to far-flung lands – metaphorically or realistically, I too get curious. It’s human nature, really. In the past, I’ve asked questions and in some cases, I’ve even offered a negative opinion about their decision (shame on me). Knowing how it feels, I now keep in mind how it feels to be on the receiving end.
Don’t allow the opinions of others affect your dreams and special goals. Go for what’s right for you and whether it turns out how you planned it or not, at least you did it for you.