Hi lovely ones, welcome to episode number 14: When your people don’t understand your journey. I’m just going to start off by being really authentic right now, and let you know that if you can hear that slight crackle in my voice, it’s because I’m recording at the very end of a cold and what usually happens to me when I get a cold is that my voice goes for a time and so while I feel fine, I’ve still have this weird voice.
But what we do in businesses is we show up, don’t we? No matter what’s going on, there are things that need to be done. I’ve spent some time before now resting, but as long as I’m feeling well, which I am now, we’re back into recording. So please excuse that different sound to my voice for the time being.
In this episode, we’re going to explore what it means for your relationship with others when you’re in the process of expanding, changing and transforming yourself. You know this is my favourite topic, right? But the thing is that growth is uncomfortable and not necessarily just for you.
And I wish there was a way that we could guarantee that every time we feel uncomfortable, even when we’re the ones choosing that discomfort, that our people will gather around us with just the right words and advice and encouragement to help us continue moving forward. But it’s not always that easy.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. But before we get stuck into this topic, I want to shout out Chloe Bax who left this beautiful review after listening to the podcast. She said:
“This podcast really resonates with me. Rebecca produces quality content that truly helps with self esteem, learning to trust the universe, living authentically and so much more. listening to her feels like you’re meeting a friend for coffee on a hard day and then giving you a big hug. Rebecca is relaxed but also highly educated and extremely well spoken. You always know the advice, information and tips shared in her podcasts are super sound.”
Thank you, Chloe. I really love your words of encouragement. I’m so grateful that you took the time to leave that review. For all of you that take a couple of minutes out of your day to write reviews, please know that it really makes a difference. So let’s dive in.
Talk about your people. Because you adore them, right? They get you. They know what you’re about. They want you to succeed. And they’ve got your back, don’t they?
And I’m betting that you don’t have to look too far in your memory bank to recall a time when someone close to you was less than supportive and perhaps downright unhelpful.
I’m not saying that their intentions weren’t good. But the result for how you felt was less than favourable for you.
This is where we actually assume that the people that are close to us, will get what we’re trying to do and be completely supportive, but it’s not always that way.
- Maybe it was when you wanted to leave your job security to start your own business.
- Maybe it was when you said that you were returning to your studies.
- Maybe it was when you said you were taking a break like a real break, not just a week off.
- Maybe it was when you wanted to move away or travel or have a baby, or when you wanted to overhaul your health.
Whatever it was, the change was big.
You could have used all the support available to you. And when you went looking for it, either it wasn’t there, or you are instead confronted with negative opinions or well-meaning advice designed to keep you exactly where you are. Thank you very much.
Because this is the way it sometimes goes.
We decide to do something big in our lives, we decide to make a change.
And the people around us are confronted by that change or think they know better for us. Or we just prefer that we just stayed safe in our comfort zones because it makes them feel more comfortable.
You know, there was a time it takes me back to a time when I was I think I was about 23.
In a very short space of time, I’d made the decision to leave my PhD. So, yes, I have the academic title of doctor. But that’s because I went on to do what’s called a professional doctorate.
But before that, I had started a research PhD and within a month of starting it, I just knew what wasn’t right for me. And I’d come across the opportunity to do a placement at a small private mental health hospital.
In a town that was six hours, actually six and a half hours from where I lived at the time. I never lived away from home before.
And this happened within about two weeks, I decided to drop my PhD and move six and a half hours away to make the most of this placement, a clinical placement where I just knew that the opportunities that would come my way as a clinical psychologist to learn and get stuck into the broadest amount of clinical experiences possible would come from this opportunity.
And I told my dad about it. And in fact, I think I said something along the lines of Dad, can you help me move to this particular town?
Now, my dad has quite strong opinions. That’s probably saying it in the most diplomatic way. But my wife’s recording right now.
And she is a way that my dad has strong opinions. He has strong opinions because he’s done a lot in his life, particularly business and he’s experienced a lot of failures and a lot of success.
And so naturally, as a parent, he wants to protect his children as much as possible, but also encourage them to do things that help them to live bravely. The thing is, my dad isn’t great about encouraging things he knows nothing about.
If I was perhaps doing an apprenticeship, a building apprenticeship then his opinion might have been different. But he couldn’t quite understand why I had to move six and a half hours away to do this clinical placement.
And so for a time, he was really against me moving away. And he made those opinions known and couldn’t even really justify why. And now when I look back, I just know that that was about a father’s protection for his daughter.
Honestly, it really pissed me off at the time. I was so bloody annoyed that he couldn’t just see that what I was doing was in the service of my career.
And that it actually was the best thing I could have ever done in my career in terms of experience at that early formative phase in my time as a psychologist as an intern, psychologist, and dad was not at all supportive until he realised that I wasn’t changing my mind on this and then he actually did a 180 and ended up helping me move six and a half hours away.
God love dad’s right? He packed all my stuff up in a trailer and drove it down with me and helped me move into the flat that I was living in at the time.
But initially, because he didn’t understand what was behind my decision making, because he didn’t fully understand, and probably still doesn’t, I mean, how can you unless you’re in that particular industry, he doesn’t fully understand what it means to be a psychologist, he definitely respects it.
But at the time, he knew nothing about it. And he knew nothing about what it was going to take for me to be able to get from intern psychologist to clinical psychologist with a professional doctorate.
And so I guess it was a lesson in him learning to trust my decisions as an adult. And it was also a lesson for me to be able to back my own decision making in the face of negative opinions coming from someone very significant in my life.
And this is what could happen for you. You can think that you’re about to take this huge leap. And it’s scary and all these self doubt is showing up.
And rather than actually help you move through that self doubt, the people around you join in that doubt, and actually encourage you to stay put, that’s a really hard space to be in. The point is that not everyone will get it. And the reasons they don’t get it are likely to be a combination of their fears being projected onto you. And what they’ve decided is best for you. That also makes them feel comfortable. Because this is why humans do and we do it to each other.
We’re heavily invested in staying comfortable for ourselves. And that means also trying to shape the actions of other people around us that are important to us so that we can also continue to stay comfortable.
I remember talking to a friend of mine. I’m going to call her Joe for the purposes of this podcast because I want to protect her identity.
She was experiencing really significant emotional turmoil during a period of growth in her life.
She was talking to me about her struggle with feeling misunderstood on her journey by some of her friends who she’d previously felt really close to.
She explained to me that she’s done a lot of work on herself in the past couple of years. And by work, what she meant was that she changed the way that she thought about herself.
She changed her relationship with her body, and she’d let go of many beliefs which were previously keeping us stuck. She challenged herself both personally and professionally. And you know what, she was really proud of this growth. She liked the person she was.
And that was actually a foreign thing for her to be saying about herself foreign but pleasant, you know, she was really proud of herself to get to this point where she could say back, I actually like myself now. You know, I’ve been able to reestablish my relationship.
with myself to a point where I consider myself, someone that is a friend, I am a friend to myself. And she was somewhat taken aback that what she saw is valuable evolution within had unexpectedly left her feeling disconnected from friends with whom she had been very close for a long time.
When we had this conversation, I could see that she was confused and upset. Her transformation had been hard won through her own sweat and tears, and the odd tantrum when it got bad happens to the best of us, right. Anyway, she was feeling shocked that she was actually shifting further away from her people because of it.
The friends she was referring to were usually the ones who are biocide through it all. And now, it seemed like they were distracted at best and at worst unavailable.
She was hurting
The thing is that personal evolution is not predictable. For some people, it happens only as a side effect of ageing. It’s kind of limited to just what they learn as they mature, and it may not be recognised or celebrated by them, because it’s not seen as something valuable or profound. For others, though, like me, and I’m betting This is where you sit when it comes to growth as well. It’s front and centre on our priority list.
We deliberately seek out lessons from change and challenges as they arise.
And we put effort into actively shaping ourselves and our lives on each path that we take. When I was at school. I remember reading pick a path novels.
They’re these little chapter books that were written so you could choose where the story would go next. And I’d like to say that we are always in complete control of picking our next path in life as well.
Like those little books, but it’s just not true. Instead, our lives play out on a metaphorical ocean, where we can control which direction we sail, but not the weather to which we are exposed.
It’s always a combination of direct influence over our future, and responding to what life gives us along the way.
And this makes sailing alongside our people, also an unpredictable venture.
Because we’re not alone on this metaphorical ocean. Our lives exist within a social system, family, friends, colleagues, anyone that plays a role in our lives long term.
And each person in our social system is also sailing their own little boat. They are influencing their own lives as much as they are able and are willing, while also responding to what life gives them along the way.
The flesh of little boats around us, each captained by one of our people is constantly moving as our way within us.
I was explaining to Joe that our fleet generally includes friends who have similar values to our own. It’s sharing the things that are important to us that make us feel connected, recognised and understood.
A complimentary value system is the fabric of a friendship that has you feeling like Jane really gets you.
Here’s a note on family though. Usually we are raised in a family to have certain values. We grow up to share the same values as our parents are primary caregivers and our siblings. But sometimes this is not the case. Some people have parents who practice values that they actively avoid as adults.
There’s a saying that goes you can pick your friends but not your family.
it perfectly epitomises the adults for whom family was an example of what not to do. Where am I going with this? I’m saying that we form long term bonds with people because the things we hold dear. And the way we approach the world is similar. They are our people, the ones we seek out for company, and counsel.
The thing we often forget is that we are all growing over time, some of us consciously and purposefully, like Joe, and you and I, and others not so obviously, each of us is out there sailing and boat in a way that works for us at the time.
And if you and your friends have been sailing alongside of each other for years, then it follows that it’s going to get tough to stay together as a fleet sometimes, we can get out of alignment, we may change course, life may happen and change course for us. And at the end of the day.
We may be left feeling separated from the ones who had once been a pivotal part of our journey.
This was the case for Joe. She felt separate, disconnected, different even.
And the thing is thanks to her growth, she is different within herself.
But the problem was that she felt unrecognisable to the people who she usually felt were the ones that see her completely. And because of this, she in turn struggled to recognise them.
And what I explained to Joe is that even though it hurts, it’s actually very normal for humans to grow apart when they grow at different rates or in different directions.
It doesn’t mean that either person has done anything wrong, unless their actions have been hurtful and contributed to some kind of divide between the two of you.
And that doesn’t mean that anything needs to be fixed unnecessarily.
But it is helpful to understand that relationships are tidal, in some phases will feel close, and in other phases more distant. And there are times when we part temporarily, and other times when the potting will be permanent and for the best.
I wish I could present a piece of binding magic, the powers of which could return people to each other, especially if you’re listening to this and grieving for a particular friendship or relationship that’s no longer in your life in the way that you want it to be.
But of course, it’s not that easy.
And in the absence of my magical powers, I want to leave you with some things to consider for your journey and for the journeys of those people in your fleet.
Number one, going solo:
Sometimes growth is so personal that that needs to be done alone.
That means that you may not want to share it with anyone or anyone for that matter. parts of it might hurt. Important growth is like that. And some people cope better with pain if they have space to process it before they share it. Distance like this is often temporary.
Remember that it’s not just you that needs space through some chapters, your people might need a little space at times too. And that’s okay.
Number two, new equals threatening:
Just because you feel like a new and improved version of yourself doesn’t mean that every person around you will see you like that.
Some people might be threatened by your transformation. growth can be uncomfortable for some because it holds up a mirror of what’s not working in their own lives.
This kind of confrontation can fracture a friendship when someone grows at a pace that the other person is not yet ready for.
This happened to a friend of mine.
Who decided she wanted to travel overseas to give herself a challenge and widen her worldview.
Jasmine spent a year travelling, working and living overseas. And when she returned, buzzing with all these stories and new beliefs and goals for her life based on her fresh perspective, she found that her friendship group who would all remained in their hometowns, and were progressively settling down into long term relationships and creating their own families.
Were no longer a good fit for her because they didn’t share her experiences. life altering experiences like this can change our direction so much that we no longer share enough commonality in the relationships to continue opening each other’s worlds.
Number three, shit happens:
Life happens and sometimes it happens so catastrophic Lee, that we are irrevocably changed by it.
We may end up heading in a completely different direction to the rest of our fleet.
In cases of trauma, grief, loss or some other disaster, we may be forced to grow in a way we didn’t ask for. But that leaves us very different to our old selves. those differences can sometimes become chasms in existing relationships. It’s also worth noting that healing from these events can go either way. Sometimes healing causes us to grow apart. Sometimes it causes us to grow together. These changes are not wrong, they just are
and they occasionally mean that we don’t feed them with the old fleet anymore.
Number four, it’s your path:
Expecting others to always get it when no one will ever sale the exact same course as you will leave you with a case of the difference.
is disappointed, dissatisfied, disconnected.
We all want to be understood. We all want to be seen and heard, because sharing ourselves helps to make sense of our own journey. But it’s worth remembering that sometimes the only one that can understand your journey is you. So Please mind your expectations.
Number five, stay or leave:
Sometimes feeling disconnected is a sign that we need to work harder to reconnect. Perhaps it’s information that you’ve been a little absent in the friendship, or that your friends may also be feeling distant. Do you need to work harder? Does the friendship need more of you in some way.
On the other hand, if this feeling has been happening for a long while, perhaps it’s a sign that you have sailed your courses together and it’s time to go your separate ways. Not all relationships, whether they be family, friends or lovers.
meant to last our entire lifetimes Do you need to let go?
Number six, celebrate your own growth:
The truth is, no one needs to understand your journey but you are seeking validation from others may undermine the inherent value in your evolution.
I want you to celebrate your own transformation because you know exactly how far you’ve come.
Lovely one, here’s to connection with ourselves and with our people. And here’s to respect for ourselves and for our people to love more when needed and let go when needed on the journey.
And if you feel like you want to prioritise your personal growth more than you’ve been doing recently, jump on over to rebeccaray.com.au/free, that’s f r e e to take one of my free masterclass
are challenges. You’ll find self sabotage, imposter syndrome, procrastination, and perfectionism are all covered.
So that’s the space you want to go and explore when you feel like levelling up in life.
I’ll catch you for our next episode shortly.
Lovely ones, thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you got something meaningful from this episode, the most meaningful thing you can do is to leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts, because it’s these reviews that helped this podcast stay here. Make sure to subscribe and share this episode. I’d love to see your shares, so be sure to tag Hello, Rebecca Ray. I’ll catch you next time
**This transcript is taken from our software and sometimes it’s not perfect, thank you for understanding.