Wednesday, 27 July 2016

How to handle naysayers?

How to deal with people who are putting down you or your plans and dreams? We have all encountered one or two (or a dozen) of those in life and will keep encountering them, both IRL (in real life) and online, there's unfortunately no way out of it. But how to handle those situations without losing your temper, face or self-esteem in the process?

Six years ago, I made a decision to move to Australia. I had lived abroad before and wanted to turn my life around completely, due to general dissatisfaction with my career prospects, climate, and cultural atmosphere in general (pessimistic and whinging) at home. I wanted to see what else is there (btw I absolutely love that song of the same title by Royksopp, a Norweigan duo).

I got two kinds of responses to my foolishly courageous plans to quit my well-paying job, leave everything behind, sell my belongings and hop on a plane with no visibility about if I would succeed. Others thought I'm brave and adventurous. Others said I'm mad and warned me profusely about how I'll fail and regret my choice.

I left anyway.

We all get a cr@ploads of criticism in life: some think we should have kids. Some think we shouldn't have kids. Some think we should have more kids. Some think we should have decided to have fewer kids. Some think we should change jobs. Some think we should stay in our current job. And so on, ad infinitum.

To be able to deal with this, it's essential to figure where the criticism is really coming from. It actually has very little to do with my or your decisions. It has everything to do with the worldview of the critic.

Surprisingly many people have a - subconscious - mindset like this: "Other people's decisions that contradict my life, are critique towards me, hence I have to defend my decision by attacking their decisions; or I need to convert them to believe in my values and worldview."

People with kids can think that childless couples are undermining the value of a family and sacrifices of parents. People in steady (but perhaps dull) jobs can think that more entrepreneurial people are critiquing their decision to stay put instead of chasing dreams they once had.

We are all part of a so called "world-making project" (a word from philosophy and sociology) where other people's behaviour is setting an example for us and vice versa. 

What is common for us to see, we believe is normal, and if our common and normal is questioned, we start fearing that we have to change our lives too at some point in the future, because the normal itself has changed. Or, that our decisions won't be as widely accepted in the future, because we are no longer the norm, the majority, the typical.

This, I believe, is behind the fierce attacks against legalising same sex marriage. Some people in traditional marriages can't stand the idea that their marriage is made "less normal" by expanding the definition of marriage.

My point is that whenever you encounter a naysayer or a critic - regarding your tarot business, alternative lifestyle, pre-Christian religion/spirituality, or anything else under the sun - remember it's not about you. It's about the critic.

It's revealing what their worldview and normal are, and how they are struggling with understanding your normal. It's not a reason to change your beliefs, but it is an opportunity to engage: why is the person so invested in convincing you that you have to change, or change your dreams and plans? How are your dreams and plans "threatening" this person? How can you assure that your normal is, in fact, enriching the world, not taking away from it?

Here's a little spread I devised to explore your own bias, to be mindful of it. 

  1. What do I believe about the world? 
  2. What in my beliefs is something others find hard to accept?
  3. What in others' beliefs is something I find hard to accept?
  4. What is the best action for me to take to bridge the gap between me and others (naysayers)?
  5. How to build my confidence to believe in my message/dream?
And a sample reading:

1 - 6 PENTACLES Reversed. I believe that everyone has something to give (to me and others). I only have to look for opportunities and take what comes, acknowledge the blessings. I read the 6 Pents rx as me receiving something and 6 Pents upright as me (or the querent) giving something to others.

2 - TEMPERANCE. People don't think it's easy to have a balanced give and take. It takes a lot of effort to understand that when you give, you're not being taken advantage of. If you give freely, it will come back to you in one form or another; and if you receive, you should pay it forward. 

3 - 8 WANDS Reversed. Others believe it's better to keep your thoughts to yourself and not act too fast. I don't believe in non-communication: in fact, I think the world needs more honesty and discussion, genuine attempts to try to understand each other, and more action to sort problems.

4 - FOOL. Don't care, just move on, walk your own path. True! :D

5 - CHARIOT. Trust that you have the willpower to make the life you want, and tell the messages you believe in. Don't budge or dodge, just do it.

If you have a vision, believe in it. If others don't believe in it, it just means they are not on the same mental platform yet. Photo (c) Tarot for Change.

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