Have you ever been around a strongly opinionated person? You know, someone who always has something to say about someone or a situation. Even if their opinion is not essential or relevant, they feel like giving one. It does not bother them whether you bluntly say, “Keep your thoughts to yourself” — they will tell you what’s in their mind anyway.
Unfortunately, many people in my family are heavily opinionated. You cannot walk in a room full of them without commenting on everything, from your weight to your nail color. It is as if you need to hear all that when your only goal is to get water from the kitchen. If you try to ignore them, they call you disrespectful. The nerve!
The reality is that, trying to make such family members change is comparable to asking cows to stop mooing. They are all adults; they have reached their respective ages acting like that. Hence, there is no way for them to want to make internal changes anytime soon. Insisting on the latter will only hurt you more than it should.
Despite that, your negative-thinking family should never stop you from following your heart, trying new things, and reaching for your dreams. If I allowed my folks to get to me, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and you wouldn’t be able to read this. Like most conventional people, they always said that writing was suitable for ultra-rich individuals or those who didn’t mind being poor forever.
Do you want to know how to move past a similar hurdle?
Know Yourself Well
The first thing you must do is get to know yourself. You can never counter anyone’s criticisms when you cannot even decide about what you are fighting for.
One of the questions you should ask yourself is, “Who are you?” The answer should not be merely your name, but what you aspire to become. In my case, the proper reply is, “I’m a writer.”
Another ideal question is, “How much do I want to turn into this person?” If it is so bad that you are unafraid of possibly getting disowned by your parents, go for it. If you cannot give a sound answer, though, then perhaps you should wait before taking action. The worst-case scenario is that you hear your family members taunting you with I-told-you-so messages.
Own Up To Your Mistakes
Sometimes, the negative thinkers in your family are correct regarding their opinions. They have either been there and done what you are about to do or had known someone who has. That’s when their words of discouragement make sense, even though they sting.
Assuming your opinionated loved ones are correct, you should avoid acting sulky. It is a childish move, especially when it seems like their negative views are validated. Instead, you must own up to your mistakes and accept that you are not on the right side of things this time.
Should you disclose this realization to the family? That is entirely up to you, but there is technically no need for that. What matters the most is that you can learn from the failed incident and do everything to prevent experiencing a déjà vu.
When your goal is to keep your opinionated family members from ripping your confidence level and repeatedly stepping on it, you should stay away from them.
I can tell you first-hand how challenging it can be. That is especially true if you have get-togethers a few times a year. Worse, your negative-thinking loved ones have no idea that they are doing something wrong. In their mind, they merely want to help you.
At times like this, you have no choice but to make excuses so that you don’t see your family members. Lying is awful, but it may save you from heartaches and rifts. If they drag or carry you (literally) to the meeting place, though, try to avoid any opinionated aunt or cousin from cornering you. Ask your closest relative to stay by your side and talk to you about everything so that no one will dare to interrupt your conversation.
The social norms require everyone to follow their elders’ lead and whatever they tell you. If you do the opposite of that, you may earn wrong labels due to your rebelliousness or mischievousness.
As difficult as it may be to swallow the latter, you must keep in mind that social norms are nothing but unwritten rules that humans have all been following over the years. You can never go to jail for defying your parents or wanting to prove to them that they have wasted their time by thinking negatively. If you can pull it off, your loved ones may start looking at you in a different light and holding their tongue before giving you another unsolicited opinion.