Beck says it all boils down to one thing: They're fighting to keep THEIR identity in tact. And since you're part of THEIR life, you better not change. And if you do, you better change back - quick! But as you know, that's not going to happen. So here's how to handle your loved ones' criticism:
- First: Pay respectful attention. Don't resist or submit to their attack, just listen. After all, this person might be concerned that they no longer "fit" into your new life. So when they challenge you, be attentive. Responses like "Tell me" and "I hear you" will help calm them down so you can talk.M
- Next: State your position for the record. Tell this person why you decided to lose weight, start a new career, get married, have a baby, move to a new town - whatever the change is. Help them understand that this is about you not them.
- And one last way to handle someone who criticizes you for making a change: Offer unconditional love. It's a secret weapon that can help soften the blow of your changing identity. For the husband who's scared that you'll leave him because you've lost 50 pounds, and is constantly trying to feed you, tell him "No, I don't want that cheeseburger, you darling man."If your kids can't handle the idea of you remarrying, try "You're such wonderful children, and I'm getting married again." When you're cheerful and loving, it makes it harder for them to criticize. Also, it might just make them stop, ponder and maybe even begin to make changes of their own they've been putting off.
If you'd like to go further, check out Martha Beck's book, Finding Your Own North Star.