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What Can You Do When You Don’t Feel Supported By Family and Friends?

What Can You Do When You Don’t Feel Supported By Family and Friends?

This article is one in the multi-part series entitled The Entrepreneurial Mindset.

Is there someone or several someones in your life who aren’t supporting your small business dreams and goals? Are these people causing you to question or yourself, making you wonder if you’re making the right decisions? Do you feel depressed as a result?

The University of Michigan conducted research which involved collecting and analyzing data from thousands of individuals, and they discovered that a person’s relationships with close family and friends played a huge role in whether or not the person ended up severely depressed. Of course, depression can stop you from reaching your goals, no matter how badly you want them.

After all, being successful in life is hard enough, so when family and friends aren’t on board with what you want to achieve, it can make your journey that much harder. Instead of being able to celebrate your accomplishments or talk about your concerns, you constantly feel as if you have to defend yourself and your decisions. It can be exhausting.

How do you deal with these kind of people without losing yourself in the process? There are a few options to consider.

It Isn’t You, It’s Them

This is a phrase that any person in a relationship hates to hear, but it is true a lot of times. If someone doesn’t support your decisions or your dreams, it is possible that it has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. For instance, they may fear that your business ventures are going to take even more time away from them and they’ll never see you. This may cause them to become unsupportive, purely because of what they think will happen to them as a result. Tell your friend or family member that you don’t feel supported and give him or her the opportunity to tell you why they are having a hard time giving you what you need. Speaking of what you need…

Tell Them How You Want and Need to Be Supported

No one can read your mind so if there is something that someone can do to make you feel more supported, you’re better off saying what it is versus dropping hints or letting them figure it out on their own as everyone is different. For instance, I may take my spouse picking up more of the housework as supporting me, whereas you may want your spouse to give you uninterrupted talk time. Share what you need and ask the other person if they are willing and able to provide it. What can you do if you still don’t feel supported, even after saying exactly what you need?

Let Their Lack of Support Motivate You to Succeed

One option is to let the person’s lack of support motivate you to try even harder. When I first switched careers to writing full time, I had friends ask me when I was going to get a “real job.” I can’t tell you how hurt and angry that made me, but instead of letting it bury me, I used it to make me work that much harder. Failure was not an option because there was no way I was going to prove to them that I couldn’t make it writing for a living.

Let Go of Unsupportive People

Another option if someone refuses to or simply can’t give you the support you ask for, is to let them go. Certainly, this is easier in some cases than in others (as it is easier to let go of a short-term friend than it is a parent, for example) but, at a minimum, you may want to distance yourself from this person. You could even declare the topic off limits for times that you do get together.

Lean On Those That Do Support You

Even though there may be some people who don’t support you, chances are good that you can name a couple of family members and/or freinds in your life who back you 100 percent. These are the people that you should spend more time with. These are the ones that you can feel comfortable around when it comes to sharing your goals and dreams because they are going to be standing right behind you, no matter what obstacles you face.

Learn How to Support Yourself

Finally, you should always, always support yourself in whatever endeavors you choose to follow in life. While it is nice to have someone walk beside you in your journey, the reality is that most of our hardest work has to be done alone. So, don’t be afraid to keep pushing yourself—especially if it is something that feels right.



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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.