Learning to deal with naysayers

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One of the worst things that can happen when you're starting to get your confidence back and feeling good about yourself again, is someone trying to bring you down.

Have you experienced this? It's so demoralizing, isn't it?

According to Dictionary.com, a naysayer is "a person who habitually expresses negative or pessimistic views."

Based on that definition, it's implied that a naysayer is someone who is always being negative or pessimistic, regardless of the situation. You should use this fact to remind yourself of why you shouldn't listen to naysayers. When you're turning things around, don't let people take that away from you.

How I Dealt With Naysayers

Given how I allowed others to bully me for two years without saying anything, it wasn't easy for me to say no to someone. Fortunately, I've gotten better at it and have done it multiple times now in order to do what has been in my best interest.

The first real time I didn't listen to the naysayers was a big deal. I mean, I did something big. I decided to go off to Europe on my own! The naysayers in this case were my parents, especially my mother. Of course, my parents were just looking out for me, but they're not travelers so they didn't understand why I wanted to do this. It probably caused my mom the most anxiety she's ever experienced.

Let me put this into some context for you. I was 25 years old at the time but because of the bullying and my parents being rather sheltered, I had lived a rather sheltered life myself up to that point. I certainly had never been out of the country. I didn't even go away to college. I lived at home and commuted. I didn't participate in study abroad or anything like that. Aside from going on trips within driving distance of home with my family, the farthest I had traveled was to Florida with some extended family members.

So this was a big deal, but I did it anyway. I had been wanting to go to Europe for a while and decided that I was going to make it happen. Despite the resistance from my parents and the subsequent second-guessing on my end, it was the best thing I've ever done for myself. In a couple weeks it's going to be the anniversary of my trip 7 years ago and I have a special post planned for it.

My biggest piece of advice as someone who had to deal with naysayers is to trust your gut. Sometimes we actually do know what is best for ourselves.

Let's look at why some people might be naysayers anyway.

Why People Will Try To Bring You Down

First off, a naysayer can be anyone. It can be a well-intentioned parent, a friend who's not being a very good friend, or a miserable stranger who's just looking to bring down anyone they come into contact with.

It's a little trickier when it's someone we know, because it's probably someone who we respect. When it's a stranger it's like someone going around just trying to spread some misery virus that's plaguing them, in which case we should get as far away from them as possible.

But, seriously, what are some reasons why others might want to bring us down?

  • They're jealous.  This is probably the easiest reason to imagine. Sometimes when someone can't do or have something, you doing it only reminds them of that fact and it upsets them. They end up envying you.
  • They're selfish.  Similar to jealousy, if someone can't do or have what you can, they may not want you to be able to as well. They think that if they can't do or have something, then no one else should be able to either. They weren't successful so they don't want you to be successful.
  • They like to play things safe.  This was the reason my parents didn't want me going off to Europe. They're used to living in their comfort zone and not taking any big risks, but not having any great successes either. No risk, no reward.
  • They don't want to see you get hurt.  This is the reason of the well-intentioned parent or friend. They're really just looking out for you, but in a kind of overprotective way. Our parents try so hard to keep us protected in the nest that it's not easy for them to let us fly.
  • They're closed-minded.  It's hard to change the mind of someone who is this way because they are just not open to new things. It's similar to playing it safe. If it's not something they would do themselves then it doesn't make sense to them. It's their way or the highway.
  • They're unhappy.  When someone is unhappy, they want others to be unhappy too. Instead of working on becoming happy, they'd rather be passive and wish for others to join them in being unhappy. As the saying goes "misery loves company." I say that's not the kind of company you want to be keeping.
  • They feel inadequate and insecure.  When someone feels like they don't measure up it can be quite threatening to them to see someone being successful. You being successful reminds them of something they believe they aren't capable of.

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons for why someone might be a naysayer. Some reasons being more well-intentioned than others. Regardless of the reason or the person who is being that way, it's important to know how to deal with it.

How You Can Deal With Others Trying To Bring You Down
  • Don't let it get to you.  This one might be easier said than done, but it can also be as simple as that. Part of it comes from developing a thicker skin over time and part of it is just letting it bounce off of you. You can't control how others will react, but you can control your reaction.
  • Tell them you appreciate their concern, but that you have to make your own decisions.  This would be particularly true when it's your parents who are being the naysayers. They understand that you have to make your own decisions at some point, but they'd also appreciate hearing that you get where they're coming from.
  • Cut them out if you can.  This is the toughest one. Of course there are going to be certain people that you can't cut out of your life, but if it's someone who you have no obligation to then it's okay to cut ties. You have to do what is going to be in your best interest.
  • Surround yourself with people who support you.  This one is my favorite because it can do wonders for you. There's nothing like being around people who just get you. No matter how out there you may feel like your idea is, there will be others who will feel the same way.
  • Remember your "why."  When someone is making you second guess what you want to do, just remind yourself of why you want to do it. I knew that going to Europe was going to change me and that's what got me through it. So just remember your why and trust your gut.
Final Thoughts

Having to deal with naysayers is something that will happen. Period. No one can go through life without encountering some form of resistance for something. When you've been bullied or have gone through something that has set you back, there are going to be people who won't understand the things you do to overcome that.

For me it was needing to travel and everything that having that experience has done for me as a result of it. That's when my recovery really took off and I've been able to become someone who I am happy with. As I wrote about in the previous post, the only person you need to like you is you.

Sure, there are going to be naysayers who we respect, but it's about knowing when to listen to them and when to listen to ourselves. If you know yourself really well, then don't be afraid to trust yourself. Your feelings are there for a reason.

It's only been through taking action that I've been able to become more of the person I want to be. I really believe that we have to be proactive with our life. We can't sit back and wait for things to change. It doesn't work that way.

You have to remember that naysayers are projecting how their future is going to be, but it doesn't have to be yours too.

Have you had to deal with naysayers yet? Do you have anything you would add to the lists above? Let me know by leaving a comment below. 
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