“In order to have faith in our own path, we don’t need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong”. – Paulo Coelho
In the process of Pathwalking, we all encounter people who are unsupportive of our effort. But sometimes that goes even further. Sometimes they are determined to show us that our path is wrong.
This is ultimately more disheartening than a lack of support. Having someone actively taking the time and effort to show you that your own path is wrong can be very hurtful, very upsetting.
And of course, being only human, sometimes our reaction is to give exactly what we are getting. And that is no help to anyone, either.
When we react to negativity with negativity, guess what we get? Yup – more negatives.
So – what DO you do when someone is out to prove that your chosen path is wrong?
Different things will work for different people, and this is also dependent on what that person is DOING in order to prove that you’ve chosen the wrong path. It begins with how the perceived sabotage makes you react.
For me, the initial reaction is usually a mix of hurt, anger, disbelief. Why are you working so hard to knock over the sandcastle I am building? If I give in to these negative emotions, the downward spiral begins.
First I have to note that while the attack feels personal, it is not. They are attacking the path I have chosen, not ME, directly. What they do not realize is that the path is so much a part of me that this might as well be a personal attack. But as I have said previously – other people may trigger feelings in you, but YOU are the one to feel them. And we have choices. We ALWAYS have choices.
The anger, the hurt, the resentment must be allowed to pass. Can’t deny these feelings, can’t ignore them…I have to accept how this makes me feel, but then choose to not hold onto those negative feelings.
The next step is analysis. Why is this person set against my path? Is this something about him/her, or is it me? Do they see something I do not? Can they show me something I am missing? Are they jealous of my choice? What sort of things are going on in their life that might drive them to be negative towards me? Is this person important to my life?
That last is an interesting question of perspective. Who the person is makes a big difference. Family, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, random friend-of-a-friend? There is a hierarchy of importance amongst the people in our lives, and that will directly impact how their opinion of us and the things we are doing affects us. This will help to determine if we need/want to respond to the negativity, or outright disregard and ignore it.
Should I choose to respond, it will usually be along the lines of the following: I appreciate your opinion, but respectfully disagree or I will take that into consideration or I’m sorry you feel that way, but this is what I am choosing or simply Thank you.
The key to the response is to not counter with your own negativity. Don’t feed the fire. The person you are perceiving to be knocking your chosen path may mean well, may just not understand or be even capable of understanding. They may even just be looking to start a fight because of their own issues. If it happens to BE malicious, well, then I would suppose this person isn’t really a friend. But that’s a whole other notion.
Pathwalking is about empowering the self. Some people do not like to see others empowered, or are uncomfortable with it, and so they do things to try to disempower. This, however, is the reason why you cannot strike back. Just because they are trying to prove YOUR path is wrong, does not mean you return that in kind.
Disempowering another denies YOU the empowerment you are seeking for yourself. There is never a need to disempower others, in especial when seeking you own path and your own empowerment. Knocking someone else down to prop yourself up is not choosing your own path, it is actually giving your own empowerment away.
Our paths may intersect from time to time, and while we may disagree with the choices someone is making, we will never be able to help them change that by trying to prove them wrong. They have to fail or succeed of their own accord. And if they ask for an assessment from us, we need to not attack, but take a neutral, constructive approach. Wouldn’t it be great if our so-called “leaders” caught onto THAT notion?
The sense of empowerment that comes from Pathwalking is healthy. It feels good. One of the things that this choice might do is inspire others to consider their own options. No two paths are exactly alike, and where our faith might come from differs, and this is not about “right” or “wrong”, it is about choosing to be active instead of reactive to life.
“In order to have faith in our own path, we don’t need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong”. Wise words indeed.
This is the thirty-fifth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.