Change and Negative Feedback

If you’ve ever undertaken a change in your life, or plan to, if you start working towards a goal, change a habit, try something new, there’s potential negative feedback. This isn’t about discouraging anyone; it’s simply about being prepared for a few obstacles along your path. And known obstacles are easier to recognize and address than unknown ones. Another life motto to add to my list: preparation is key.

Change for the better is wonderful. But sooner or later you’re going to become a mirror. And that has some drawbacks. What exactly does being a mirror mean? You may be familiar with the expression ‘holding up a mirror’. This applies to a person, who isn’t literally holding up a mirror, but is doing something that makes others take a look at themselves. There’s inevitable comparison. Those around you may not like what they see reflected back. There will be negative feedback.

But here’s the interesting thing. Rarely anyone will come right out and tell you that your initiative has provoked a reaction, shook them up, encouraged them self evaluate. Because that can be painful. Rather they’ll rationalize the situation, their feelings, as your fault. The feeling of dis-ease will have nothing to do with them, and everything to do with you. Never underestimate the tortuous logic of a person’s rationalization.

Upsetting the Balance

But what’s going to be your fault? Upsetting the balance. You probably know by now that humans don’t really like change. It goes back to caveman days. Something new wasn’t fun, it was potential danger.

So when you start something new, when you decide to make changes, people aren’t always going to like the way it reflects on them. But they won’t recognize it as that. Rather they’ll latch onto the newness as the problem. And since you’ll be the source of this newness you’ll be the problem.

It’s always a really big surprise when the people close to you don’t encourage you. You’ll be asked: ‘What’s going on with you?’ ‘Why are you doing this?’ ‘You’ve changed’ ‘I liked you better before’ ‘Why isn’t this/am I not good enough for you anymore?’ ‘What’s the real reason?’. Notice it’s all you. Or there are non-verbal markers: showing no interest, ignoring anything you say about your new endeavor, becoming distant, ostracizing the person from a group.

Is It a Judgment?

Think of a classic story lines: the person who decides it’s time to better their life; the guy or girl who decides to go to college when no one else in their family or friends ever has. There’s always a scene when they’re accused of thinking they’re too good for everyone else. This isn’t true, of course, but it is a fine line.

If you and I are both overweight smokers and you decide to quit and join a gym, if you start eating better, of course I feel judged. Because we probably shared a lot of rationalizations. We had a lot in common in our outlook. And now there’s much less. There may even be less activities or less time for activities together. Are you still going to be as present if I’m still a smoker and you’re not?

What if we go to a club and get smashed every Saturday and I decide to quit drinking? Will we still be partying every weekend? So even if you don’t pass judgment, you’ve made your opinion known, even if it’s only by the choices you’ve made.

OK, these may be dramatic examples, but still real. I had a neighbor who decided to go to aerobics two nights a week. Her children were two and four. She wanted to get back into shape. Nothing big, she was gone a hour at most. A short drive, forty-five minute workout, home. Her husband complained, her children whined. She’d upset the balance. And the more in shape she got, the more confidence she gained, the more her husband complained. Thankfully she stuck to her decision. Her family got used to the new routine, her husband realized she wasn’t going to lose it and run off.

Perhaps losing people along the way is inevitable, though. After all we become another version of ourselves, however small the changes. But real friends will stay. They’ll get you no matter what, and know you get them.

Keeping Quiet

Finally, it’s a good idea to keep your endeavors under wraps, at least for a while. There are two reasons for this. The first is it’s hard to keep your mindset when you being questioned and even criticized. Manifesting depends on believing it’ll happen. That’s hard when you’re getting messages to the contrary.

The second is that working behind the scenes allows you to find your comfort zone, or your style. You can hear intuition better and tap into your feelings more easily without a lot of outside chatter. It’s like listening to the radio with and without interference. In other words, you allow yourself time to get used to the change.

There’s no time limit on this. People have toiled away in secret for years, not feeling comfortable enough to share their projects with others. Depending on what you envisage, it may be easier or harder to keep from those close to you. But whatever that is, remember to do what makes you comfortable. And above all, give yourself permission to try something new.

On another note: If you know me, you know I love animals. Sometimes more than humans! For the last few years, I’ve been marking my birthdays with a charitable donation, or asking for one in my name in lieu of a gift. This year I’ve decided to take it to the Facebook Fundraiser level and profit the Blind Cat Sanctuary and Rescue. Just click the link to donate. Even a dollar is great. Every little bit helps. It’s completely anonymous, you don’t have to be on Facebook and Facebook doesn’t charge any fees; the whole amount goes directly to the shelter. Thanks.