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Why your loved ones will hold you back... and why you shouldn't let them.

May 21, 2024


Those who you love dearly, will be the first ones to stand in your path.


“You’ve got to be aware of the choices you are making”, he said.


“Well I am aware of the risks of trying to give advice, you know. I have spent more than 2 years thinking about this. What gives me the right to give any advice to anyone? It’s a very serious thing to ponder.”


“Exactly, and what are you going to do if someone hurts themselves based on what you say? I would be very careful if I was in your position.”


“Yeah. There is always that risk. But what if I have carefully thought this through? What if I have created a method which prevents misunderstanding of what is being said? What if there was a way to do it right?”, I asked.


“I don’t know, it still seems like a big risk to me. I would not do it.”


“Isn’t that risk always present even when a qualified therapist, which I am not, is working with clients?”


“They are trained to handle that sort of a thing. You’re not.”


“But then why do so many trained therapists also …”


“I don’t know man. I am your friend, and I am here to give you the best advice I can. I am watching out for you. I think it's very risky to counsel people without formal training.”


This conversation happened with a close friend of mine 4 years ago.


Was he actually watching out for me?


Friends are important. Especially those with whom you can have deep conversations, and those who you can trust.


Yet, we have to observe carefully what happens when we ask for advice from our well-meaning friends or even family.


Unbeknownst to them, sometimes their words can appear to be helpful, but actually they play a major role in preventing you from embracing who you must become.


They turn into naysayers, in spite of their best intentions.


This is not limited to friends alone. Even family members will want you to follow the path you have always been walking.


Generally, we expect family to be supportive when we try something we want to, however, the reality is the exact opposite.


They stand in your way.


They want to be able to see where you are headed, all the time.


They want you to be safe from harm.


This “safety” and caution needs to be understood in the right context.


For it is often not your safety they want, but their own.


The safety they are clinging to often is, “If he changes, what does that mean for how society will perceive our family?” or, “If he proceeds to do this, what does that mean about my search for meaning?”


The reason why this needs to be considered is that very often, when you begin to pursue the path that is closest to your drift (your true calling), it will also lead you farthest from others.


This is because to be bold and face yourself, is one of the hardest things to do.


And when you do it, when you start that business, or enroll in that degree program, or take that odd job, your family will feel as if you are betraying them.


To know yourself, you must betray society.


Why does this happen?


The problem of Identity


Everyone in your closed circle has their identity associated with what you have been doing. Like pieces in the jigsaw puzzle, their position, and self-image, depends upon what position you have always occupied.


So you doing that job which pays less, for example, might fit in perfectly with how your friends see themselves as doing slightly better than you.


The moment you do something which appears better than your past self, your position in the puzzle has changed.


Now, because you have moved, they have no idea who they are!


This calls for some subtle obstructing.


Now they will have conversations with you, in which unconsciously, they are trying to derail your progress.


How to tell the difference between good advice and bad advice.


Even then, some advice could be genuine. 


Perhaps you are making a mistake and your family is telling you the right thing to do.


The way to tell the difference is to listen whether they are truly putting themselves in your shoes. Whether their advice is about “what I would do in that situation”, or “what appears to be the right thing to do for you”.


Genuine advice is always compassionate, and it validates how you feel.


If you don’t feel seen or heard, when you are receiving advice, you can rest assured, that advice is probably not right for you.


Have the ability to discern naysaying from truly caring advice.


Because if you fall prey to the negativity which will be rained upon you from all directions, you will never begin to walk the path you are meant to.


To be yourself is a lonely road.


Only after you walk alone, in calm control, solitude, and faith in oneself for a while, do others come around and support you.


“I get it now. I think it works, and it's effective”, were his words a few months ago. They were said after we discussed a problem he was facing at his workplace.


To evolve and flourish into your highest vision of yourself, you must break the mold society has created for you.


Are you prepared to do what it takes?


I believe you are.



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