I’ve always found change to be somewhat of my worst nightmare, yes I’m a creature of habit, I mean I could basically eat the same three meals everyday for the rest of my life without blinking an eyelid and the thing that I fear most about change is the uncertainty of not knowing what my life is going to look like afterwards.
In fact, I remember back to when I finally decided to take the step to get help for the eating disorder that I had. There was fear present when it came to reaching out to someone, but that fear wasn’t the main driver. Trying to imagine and make sense of who I would be and what my life would look like without an eating disorder, is what held me back from getting help for so long.
The fear was uncertainty but as I embarked on my journey through recovery, I couldn’t help but face an even greater fear and that fear was, how were people going to respond and receive me through my journey of change and once I had recovered.
You know that saying, like attracts like? That is the absolute truth. We identify with and seek comfort and support from those who are similar to us, at any given point in our lives. So when I had an eating disorder and given that I had one for so long, my entire social circle and my support were young women who were exactly the same as me. My type of social circle and support is what made it extremely difficult at times to change. Because as much as we identify with others, others identity with us too and the reality is, no one wants anyone to change, because we all feed off each other and support each others behaviours and it’s that type of support that makes what we were doing, acceptable and okay within ourselves and within others.
So, when you begin to change, it’s like you’re holding up a mirror to your social circle and reflecting aspects of their lives that they might want to change, but for whatever reason, either conscious or unconscious they can’t quite get to where you are just yet, or ever for that matter. And, that’s how unsupportive people are created.
Having come out the other side of combating unsupportive people through change, I’ve put together the best tips I can think of for combating unsupportiveness.
Accept that people aren’t going to like that you are changing. It is simple, it’s blunt and it does suck at times, but you can’t control others, you can only control the way you respond to others.
2. Be empathetic
This one can be a tough one, when people are openly unsupportive its really easy to default to anger, aggression and withdrawal. But sometimes you have to take a breath and take a step back and get into their world. They might be extremely fearful of losing you, especially if the unsupportive person is a family member, really close friend or partner.
Firstly, it’s really important for you to evaluate whether or not you want that person in your life. If you do it’s really important to reassure them that you’re still going to be the same fun loving person that you are, but you’re just going to be behaving differently and that they are still going to be the same person for you, there not going to become insignificant in your life. Once that reassurance is confirmed, they will most likely go from unsupportive to supportive.
3. Distance yourself and gently let them go
I know this is contradictory to my last point, but there are some people that just aren’t ever going to accept your change, no matter how much you reassure them and get into their world and that’s perfectly okay. Distance yourself and just let them go.
Your happiness, success, self love and body love are far more important than having people in your life that are never going to support you.
4. Find your tribe
Start to seek out and connect with those who are already doing what you want to do or are embarking on the same journey as you. For example, if your goal is fitness, join some classes at the gym or take part in group personal training.
Remember, we identify with and seek comfort and support from those who are similar to us, at any given point in our lives.
If we want to combat unsupportive people we must first accept, then be empathetic, or distance yourself and gently let them go and always, always, always start to find a way to seek out your new tribe.