Sometimes our lifestyle decisions (such as meditating, exercising, choosing to abstain from alcohol and even investing in a specific type of nutritional plan) may not be mainstream and considered ‘normal’ to our friends and families.
But having the support of your loved ones is a vital resource in your quest for ultimate health, wellbeing and happiness. So how can you win over your friends and family while still being true to your own unconventional life choices? In this article we will explore how you can stand up for what you believe in and your lifestyle choices in a loving, non-aggressive and positive way that leaves you and those around you feeling happy + well.
Avoid the urge to become defensive.
When you first begin making long-term lifestyle changes, simple parts of your life like a dinner out can begin to change and they may feel like uncomfortable, frustrating and intimidating experiences and situations. After all, who likes being the odd one out that is searching for vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free menu options while everyone else is indulging themselves in an all-you-can-eat menu with sweet treats and more? The going can be tough on a wellness warrior!
But the best way to handle these situations is to refuse to buy into the belief that you are the odd one out and that you have to defend your choices. Instead, if you are asked, simply say that you’ve noticed an improvement in your energy, mood, skin health and overall wellbeing etc. It’s a very powerful thing to know exactly how good you feel and why you feel that way. Convey this feeling to others with your easy going approach and it will be hard to argue with.
Remember that it is your body and your decision and only you know how good you can feel when you are making choices right for you. No one can argue the feelings you have in your own body.
Keep it personal but don’t make it personal.
Questions will inevitably arise if you are trying something that is a bit unconventional. In these situations it’s best to keep an “it’s about me” attitude when answering any curly questions. This will help prevent people from feeling confronted or even bad about what choices they are making in their lives. The last thing you want to do is make it about them, or make anyone feel down about themselves. Try to remove all judgment from the situation, respect and understand that everyone has the freedom to make their own choices.
When people are confronted with something different it can be an instinctive reflex to become defensive and ask you what might come across as negative questions.
For many people, it can feel like they are looking in a mirror and seeing your choices reflecting back at them. Deep down that person might know they are not taking care of their body as well as they could.
Acknowledge this (without judgment) but don’t let any negative energy affect you.
Preachers need not apply.
Don’t be tempted to preach what you believe to be the right way to live, but instead do all things with love and compassion and learn how to inform and educate others. Everyone is different and preaching is guaranteed to instantly put people on the defensive. Choose your words wisely and only offer an explanation if asked.
You will usually find that the people in your life who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.
This could be an opportunity to pass on some of the knowledge that you have gained but don’t mistake politeness with genuine interest. Always ask if it is okay before passing on the information.
If you have determined that they are genuinely interested in your lifestyle choices, then you can have some fun educating and passing on your knowledge. It’s always best to send over a few bits of easy reading first like a blog post on a topic that you think will interest them. Don’t go crazy and squash their interest with information overload straight away.
This is great approach for someone who responds better to facts and cannot just take your word for it. Hearing it from the perspective of a reliable third party source, e.g. an expert in the field or a case study, may help to change their perception and gain a better understanding of your choices.
This is also a really great option because it saves you from needing to retain crazy amounts of information to then pass on and also provides them with a way to understand what you believe in at their own speed. Take a step back and leave it up to them.
Let the results do the talking.
Be a role model and an example to others by following your intuition and practicing what feels good for you.
Your actions truly speak louder than words. Nothing is more effective at getting people to understand than seeing or feeling the benefits for themselves.
Bring something you love to eat to your next family gathering, leave some books in your office lunch room or invite a friend to your morning meditation and have them experience for themselves. Bring your bliss to the people; make it easy for them to join in. Who knows, you might help someone fall in love with the experience like you did which is a wonderful result for both of you.
There will always be people who will doubt you and believe that they know what is best for you, but it’s best not to get into any back-and-forth debates. Even if you’re right, these often result in both sides feeling attacked, and that’s not the way anyone should feel.
I hope you now know how to respond to others criticisms and fears about your lifestyle choices. Just remember that in the end its best to focus your energy on how you feel, your health, and using every bit of knowledge you have to live your best life possible.
Always live your life from a place of love, go beyond the fears and doubts projected onto you by others, and focus on your own happiness. Once others around you see you living confidently and effortlessly, glowing and vibrant, they will finally let you be. You may even inspire them to embark on their own journey!
For more enlightenment and self-care, don’t forget to check out our Truth or Dare Self-Discovery + Happiness Game!