Follow Susan Jeffers:

Words of Wisdom From the Archives
Welcome to Susan's world!
Each month we will include an article, excerpt or thought that we feel will enrich your life in some way. Enjoy!

Adapted from the works of
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Often, when we are working on personal growth, facing our fears and expanding past our comfort zone, we find resistance from the most important people in our lives. This is especially true of our family members, and frequently during the holidays, when tensions are high, we face the worst of it.

The people we most love are sometimes the people who least want us to change. That can be hard to deal with when we are working so hard on improving ourselves. We must remember that not everyone is on the path of self-discovery, and we have to take that into account when we see our families.

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan wrote that the important thing is to be lovingly aware that you may come up against those resistant to your changes.

When you rock the boat, someone will tell you to sit down. You need not feel shocked, surprised, or self-righteous. Often they don't even know they are doing it. In their minds, these admonitions and observations seem totally justified. What is important is that you know what is happening.

When loved-ones react negatively to the positive changes in your life, it can be for several reasons. One of the most common is that they feel threatened by the changes they see in you. Many people have difficulty with change and the negativity you receive from your mother, brother, cousin, etc. is their way of defending their own insecurity. Their reaction often has nothing to do with you, but is in fact a mirror of what they dislike about themselves.

Another reason family can be resistant to changes they see in you is just plain laziness. Rather than trying to get to know the new you, they will fall back on old habits and treat you like they always have. We all have the aunt or grandparent that still treats us as if we were a teenager, not the adult we've become.

As Susan wrote, as long as you know the dynamics of the interactions with your loved ones, you can be in charge of how you react. "As you become clearer and more adult about what you need to do in order to grow, loved ones will be able to say anything they please and you won't be affected. You can simply give them a big kiss and say, ‘I love you but I have to live my own life.' End of story."

As you follow the path of your heart, Susan recommended that you treat the people who surround you as practice for all the wonderful, positive changes you are making in your life. Watch your reactions to see what you need to work on within yourself.

The holidays can be a most trying time, especially if it is the only time of the year that you encounter some of your relatives. With December's busy schedules and extra responsibilities, it can be hard to stay upbeat by the time Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/New Year's (and everything else) rolls around. Susan recommended several techniques to help deal with the negativity and stress you may encounter during the holiday season.

Centering yourself at this time of year is key. It's important to strive for balance and harmony when everything seems so chaotic. Use relaxation audios or quiet meditation to bring yourself to a peaceful place. Positive affirmations are a wonderful way to keep yourself focused on the higher realm. Don't let your empowered thinking take a nose dive just when you need it most.

When faced with disapproval or a nasty attitude, Susan's techniques of Blending Energies can work really well. If someone attacks you with a negative comment, counter with, "I hear you, but I don't agree," or "I understand, but that no longer applies to the person I am today." While you acknowledge the person's comment, you are cutting it off with a positive statement of your own. It may not work in every situation, but it is a powerful tool for letting loved ones know that you are a changed person and that you won't fall back into old habits by reacting negatively.

The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year, and they can be exactly that. Susan believed that it is up to us to decide how we face the world. While the following was not intended specifically for the holiday season, Susan's words are a powerful reminder for when you become overwhelmed by holiday stress:

The most important thing is for you to be your own best friend. Whatever you are doing - don't put yourself down. Slowly begin to discover which, for you, is the path of the heart. Which path in life will make you grow? That is the path to take. You might be surprised when your loved ones ultimately come to understand and respect that.

In the end, we must remember to stay on our spiritual path of self-improvement, no matter what form of resistance we may encounter or from whom it comes. In this way, we do become our own best friend and, at the same time, are fully in charge of how we react to others.

Copyright © 2014 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.

Adapted from Susan's writing in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®.

Email this Susan Jeffers page to a friend