Have you had those times when you felt disliked or unsupported? Perhaps you were promoted, opened a company or planned a vacation and were totally excited. When you brought this idea to your family, friends and acquaintances the idea was met with disinterest , distain or even outright anger? How did you feel in that moment? Were you angry or discouraged? Did you feel like giving up on your idea all together?
I remember a moment many years ago when my children were little and I was a stay home mother. I had completed graduate school ( I had put out over 4,000 resumes with no luck) and was serving as a full time volunteer at my church. You must also understand that this was also a very challenging time for our family as one of our kiddos had not yet been diagnosed with autism. Our family had never been on a vacation and in fact, my husband and I had not been on a date in years and we are still waiting to go on our honeymoon (15 years later).
A conversation took place with one of my family members who had just returned from a vacation. This person began to tell me about it and naturally I was happy for them but wished that I could escape for even one day. This person continued on to say that they were going on vacation again in the next week. I smiled and uttered “ great, good for you, that ought to be fun”. My reply was met with such vile anger and disgust that it will never be forgotten. I was told that I should be happier for them and be just as excited for them as they are. The person leaned in closely and with all of the venom that they could and in a low deep growl stated that I did not deserve a vacation. Naturally I was devastated.
Granted this is an extreme example of another persons lack of support but there are all levels. I heard it said once that “people are people”. At the time I found this statement to be simple and crass but after further reflection I found it profound. People are in fact people and they can be nothing more. Every person is fallible and just trying to “do this life”. I imagine that the family member that devastated me with their words does not even remember doing so and if they do, they may have a different recollection of that day.
So what can we do to help ourselves?
Understand that we each are given 24 hours in a day. We must decide how we wish to spend those 24 hours. I imagine that we would like to spend our time feeling good and if that is true than we must not spend a minute on negativity.
Understand that negativity stresses the body. A series of negative stress is referred to as distress and a series of good stress is referred to as eustress, both can be harmful to the body. Finding balance is key. An excess of stress throws our bodies off kilter and can have physical repercussions.
Understand that we have value. Another persons opinion be it positive or negative should not determine how we feel about ourselves.
Understand that it is important to surround ourselves with positive people who encourage us, challenge us, hold us accountable and who love us back
Understand that our agenda is ours alone. We cannot expect others (though it would be nice) to be quite as excited about our projects as we are. The people that we are affiliated with have their own agendas and are attempting to gain support.
Understand that we are called to support and love others. We need to encourage others in their efforts but we must also love those who do not support us. This is crucial because when a person lashes out at us, it is not about us. That person is projecting their own insecurities on to us and they need our prayers.
Understand that our callings are not meant to glorify ourselves or please others. Our callings, missions, situations are meant to glorify and please God.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” 1 Peter 4:8-10