What do you do when you’ve found that you have outgrown family and friends? This can lead to quite a dilemma when it involves people you love. I’m going to share some ideas on understanding and dealing with this.
If you’ve been working hard on your personal development for years while your friends and family have only dabbled, then it’s likely you may have surpassed them. And today you may be living a lifestyle that is much different from the one they became familiar with in the past.
Here’s an example. If you’ve been moving toward a healthy diet for years and now you’re a vegetarian, your family and friends will not have the knowledge about the benefits of healthy eating that you do. This may lead them to dismiss or mock your healthy diet. And you may cringe when they order a 10 oz. slab of dead cow flesh, chili fries, and a shake at a restaurant because you know what that kind of diet will do. You want to share your knowledge but you don’t, to be polite.
Being into optimal living through personal development is an uncommon path. The majority of the population doesn’t eat a 100 percent healthy diet or exercise regularly for example. Just count the number of fat people you see next time you’re in a crowded public area.
I’ve had people imply that I was a fanatic because of my vegan diet and exercise schedule. Of course, those same people are grossly overweight and eat very unhealthy food.
When I go for my power walk in the fall and winter and swim in the spring and summer at 4:00 am I’ve never seen another person doing the same. I’ve seen a few people later in the day, but only a few, and never at 4:00 am.
People who are not interested in guru-style living just don’t know any better. They are ignorant. And they may not want to know… the truth. It may worry you to watch a parent eat food that you know will shorten and reduce the quality of their life. Don’t leave it to the medical profession to fix things though.
One of the people who half-jokingly called me a fanatic because of my vegan diet went to the hospital early last year (2012) because of chest pains. The hospital “machine” put her on their heart surgery conveyer belt. Her surgeon did four (4) heart bypasses and a valve replacement. Eight (8) days later at a cost of nearly a million dollars, she was dead. This happened at the leading hospital in the area. The most astonishing thing about this hospital is the food they serve in their cafeteria to staff and visitors. It is nearly all junk food like hamburgers, pizza, chips, ice cream, candy, etc. They are serving the very food that leads to people needing a hospital, medication, surgery, and other medical treatment. Many of these documentaries (list on this site) do an excellent job of explaining this.
There may be other ways you’ve outgrown family and friends that are more difficult to ignore when you’re around them. If you’re into personal development then you know the power of your thoughts, focus, and words. You understand the importance of keeping each of these on what you want and away from the negative.
You may have family or friends who are pessimistic and always thinking and talking about negative things. They criticize, complain, make excuses, and become depressed. In the past, you may have joined right in with them. But you’ve grown and today you are no longer a pessimist but rather an eternal optimist. What do you do with these people?
If you’ve grown beyond a person or several people in your life, here are some suggestions for dealing with it.
- Do not preach, promote, or sell your new lifestyle to others. Just be an example to them. Don’t talk about it unless they ask. If they do ask, be sure to find out “what” and “how much” they want to know e.g. summary versus details. If you don’t ask these questions your enthusiasm may get the best of you and you’ll end up sharing 10 times more than they wanted.
- Establish new boundaries. Let them know who you are now e.g. an optimistic, non-drinking, vegetarian. Let them know at the first occurrence what type of conversations and activities you will not participate in e.g. hate talk and drink games. In other words, renegotiate your relationship.
- Limit or end contact with anyone who doesn’t support your growth or ambitions, makes you feel bad about yourself, or brings you down when you communicate with them. Sometimes the toxicity of a relationship is so subtle that you don’t see the damaging impact until years later or after you’ve been away from them for a while. So be vigilant for this as well.
Don’t compromise your personal growth or state of mind for anyone including relatives. I should say especially relatives since they often feel they have the right to do and say anything they want because you’re “family.” Not so. The only relationship that is unbreakable and absolutely crucial to your happiness is the one you have with yourself.