Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How to get your joy back when someone bursts your bubble (aka handling haters!)



A reader wrote to me:

Dear Fiona, I made a mistake and told my sister about my dream to be an etiquette/image coach. Huge mistake, she told me that I will never be successful :( How can I get my joy back for a career I know I would excel in but have lost my enthusiasm for?

Firstly, my heart broke a little bit, as I mention in the video.  When you’re a creative, sensitive type who wants to make the world a beautiful place (just describing myself here, not necessarily our reader), you’re an easy target for people who want to stomp all over the flowerbeds and keep you firmly rooted in reality.

But what is reality anyway?  I have found over the past few years that it is not what I thought it was.  There are two kinds actually: the reality you are living right now, which is constructed entire of your beliefs and thoughts leading up to this point, and then there is the reality of your future – starting today – which you can shape exactly as you please.

I started dreaming of a different future for myself and my husband, and now we are living it.  I am now dreaming bigger, being more of who I am and thinking ‘Wow, can things get even better than this? (spoiler alert: they can).

I invite you to watch my video response to our reader question to see my thoughts on handling people who don’t have the same optimistic view on life that you might have.

Also, I have a few additional thoughts from recording this video:

Consider the source: could this person be envious of you doing something that you love and would be good at when they think they just have to plod along with their normal life?

Know that they might just be trying to keep you safe.  Most people think they have to live a normal life and to do anything outside that is wildly dangerous.

How to handle statements like this?

Say ‘Thank you’ and smile. Then do exactly what you were going to do anyway.

Perhaps ask them to expand so that you can get a bit more of their thought process.  I like to say to people (in many different situations, not just this one) ‘How do you mean exactly.  Can you say a bit more?’  I don’t say it in an unpleasant way; I’m genuinely interested.

If they mean well, you can calm down when you hear their responses, and if they are being passive aggressive or unkind, it’s back on them to either expand on or withdraw their comments.

Then:

Vow to yourself that you will always support people who confide in you and be their cheerleaders.  Even if you just say ‘that sounds like an incredible idea!’  Unfortunately I have been unsupportive to people at times in the past, but when I did it, I believed I was helping them see reality.  Of course you can imagine it was not a good conversation for either of us and I have learned for that.

And also vow to yourself that you will never give unsolicited advice.  It is not good for either the giver or the receiver.  As above, I have had plenty of unsolicited advice both spouted from my own mouth to others, and also been on the receiving end.  Again, I have learned to not give it. Ever.

I heard a good tip recently (but can’t remember where sorry), and it was this: You can say to someone ‘I have some thoughts on that if you’d like to hear them.  It might be helpful to you, so just let me know if you’re interested’.  And then move onto something else.  If they come back to you they will be in a more receptive state of mind.  I would use this only if I really, really felt strongly about my idea though.  People will work out what’s best for them anyway, without you bossing them around!

So, I’d love to hear if you have been on the receiving end of any criticism or ‘helpful’ advice, and, how you responded (or how you wish you’d responded, because don’t you find that the zingy/strong/witty comeback always pops into your mind hours later???)

Keep dreaming big and know that I will be cheering you along :)

~Fiona~




24 comments:

  1. ahh... tall poppy syndrome... it is so mean. I have learnt to look at slightly differently, and it has taken me my whole life to be able to do so: I now recognise it as people controlling others. I know that there are other factors, but this simplifies it for me. Stops me getting into the psycho-babble of it all (which I always used to do!!) Now having a coffee and enjoying your podcast :)

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    1. Yes, they are subtly (or not) trying to control you. SO fascinating.

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  2. A long time ago I was ruminating about someone who always seemed so sad, so troubled. I kept wondering how I could help. The man who was in my life at the time simply said "You know Kathy, some people are happy being sad." It jolted me out of my unhealthy habit of being "little miss fix it". It was a simple statement but I often recall it to this day. Well, some people are happy being negative; they feel successful by spreading feelings of failure. You and I will never change them and I am not going to spend one more second trying to.

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    1. So true, Kathy, some are just happy to complain and wallow, because they've done it for so long it's comfortable.

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  3. An encouraging video to watch Fiona, thank you for sharing it :-) I love what you shared about your wardrobe dream at the end too, it made me smile! This video certainly comes at a timely moment for me too - lately a few people have noticed my pregnancy and regaled me with horror stories of birth and how they no longer have a life after kids, etc. On my birthday last week I was told multiple times along with well wishes - "enjoy your last birthday ..." Goodness! A jovial joke it may have been, but it was like a mini storm cloud for me & I found myself a little irritated. Like you I am very blessed to have a supportive and loving husband and, I do dream, of blooming next year, spending less time ruminating and being open to the possibilities present in a different life from the one I've known to date. Mel

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    1. I'm sure you will be getting lots of opportunities to practice 'smile, silence, ignore advice' Mel! What is wrong that someone wants to say to a new mother-to-be all those 'jokey' statements? I'm sure those comments will give you the impetus to enjoy every second of motherhood and be the relaxed and awesome mother I know you are going to be, as well are creating your beautiful and creative life :)

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  4. When I was getting a divorce from my first husband, my mother was aghast. No matter what he did, I was to stick with him. I sought professional help to get through that tough time, especially since I wasn't getting family support. And I got advice that has helped me ever since. My counselor said, "Your mother is in an emotional wheelchair. You are asking her to do something she is incapable of. You wouldn't ask a friend in a wheelchair to go jogging. So don't ask your mother to do something she can't do either. Just imagine her in a wheelchair."
    Having that image really helped. When I would talk with my mom, I would imagine the wheelchair and tailor the conversation to what she could deal with. I have used it with other people whom I sense have limited empathy.
    If you want a French take on this, check out the movie "Les Soeurs Fâchée" (The Angry Sisters), with Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Frot who play sisters. Isabelle Huppert is rich but unhappy, while her younger sister is less successful, simple, provincial. The younger sister (Catherine Frot) has written a novel and comes to Paris to pitch it. The older one does nothing but put down the younger one. But guess what happens. Predictable and satisfying, with some excellent one-liners.

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    1. That is such wonderful advice - the wheelchair. Pardon my story here, but when I had to tell my mother my ex (when he was my ex) raped me, she said, "I'm sorry, I can't listen to this. I mean, this happened to my daughter and I can't stand the thought of it." I was horrified at the time because I had no one else to talk to about it. She had always been my go-to - and I felt she let me down. I never shared anything like that with her again and, truthfully, was a bit angry with her for years. You just helped me see her as she was - someone who didn't want to hear her daughter had been hurt, not someone cutting me off. It didn't make her weak, it just was her wheelchair, something she couldn't handle. Wow, thank you for sharing that!

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    2. I've never heard the wheelchair thing before, it's so good! I will check out that movie too, thank you.

      LBD, I'm sorry for your experience, but I'm glad you can see it differently now <3

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  5. Lara in AustraliaJuly 31, 2018 at 9:14 PM

    Thank you, Fiona. A very thought-provoking post. I have been on both sides - giving and receiving unwanted advice. As I age, I've learnt to keep more of my opinions to myself and to ignore unsolicited advice.... but it can still hurt / anger / embarrass me. We are all works-in-progress !

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  6. Any chance of a transcript?

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    1. Sorry, not at this stage. I've looked into transcription services and trialled one that looked good and was a reasonably good price, but there were so many errors (maybe from my accent?) I'd have to go through the whole thing and edit it and that would take quite a bit of time away from writing my books. Not saying I will never transcribe, but for now I won't be.

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  7. Hi Fiona, this was a great post/video! Definitely resonated with me. When I told my then boss that I planned to go to grad school for Positive Psychology at 45 and with a full time job, he said he didn’t think I would make it and that either my job would suffer or I would fail my degree. In the past I would have let this make me feel bad about myself but I felt so strongly about it that it gave me more of a “just watch me!” mindset. I did succeed in school (graduated with honours) and I now use this work every day in my job of transforming the organization I work for (I was promoted). Following that dream changed EVERYTHING in my life in a positive way.

    As hard as it can be, we need to stand in our authentic truth. I have no control over what others think about me. But I do have control over whether or not I choose to be authentic - so I focus on that.

    Thank you for the great post and video!

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    1. Annoying people can definitely have the opposite effect than they intended, which can be quite helpful, Catherine. Bravo to you!

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  8. I have studied "teachers" for years about walking in our dreams and every single one said the same thing, to be very careful who you share your dreams with. There are people who want to tear your dreams apart. Dream thieves. You have to believe in your dreams strong enough that you don't need a cheerleader to prop you up. And believe in it strong enough that no one can take it away from you. It is not easy because we all want people to cheer with us. Don't worry. Once you are walking in your dream, they will come. It is not easy but believe that supporters will come!

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    1. Love this, LBD. 'Show, don't tell' is a favourite saying of mine which goes along with this.

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    2. I’m going to put that saying on my vision board!!

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  9. I really appreciated your video teaching and agree with all the comments that have been added so far. The only thing I would add to this conversation is .... your eyebrows are fabulous. Such a great frame for your pretty eyes and facial features. Good move on your part, Fiona. XO

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  10. Many years ago my male boss slammed a piece of paper on my desk with the words "I've been told to bring this to your attention but I don't think you're ready". It was an entry form for a new management development programme. If I hadn't been interested before - his attitude certainly fired up my ambition. I applied, was accepted worked long and hard hours and eventually ended up taking his job. Debbie

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    1. Yay for you Debbie. Do you think he meant it as reverse psychology??? Or not... Glad you showed him, and took his job too. Yes!

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  11. This is so amazing blog. Thanks for sharing the blog
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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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