Imagine you just stepped out of an incredible personal development workshop. You’re feeling lit up, aligned, and excited about the shifts you’re making in your life and yourself. You go back into your life and start sharing your insights and transformation with your loved ones, only to be met with judgment and a total lack of curiosity.
This experience can feel heartbreaking, and it’s a common experience as personal development becomes more and more popular.
Over the last couple of decades, the personal development industry has taken off. Thousands upon thousands of people have discovered the life-changing possibility of investing in their growth and living lives aligned with their souls.
If you love personal development, chances are there is a course, book, or experience you can point to that changed your life. And when you discovered that change, chances are you wanted to share your experience with the people you love.
Over my 35 years of working with people on their personal growth, I’ve seen the struggle people face when they begin to make changes in themselves and their lives, and they don’t feel supported by the people closest to them.
It can feel hurtful when you experience a positive life change and the people you love seem uninterested. But there is a way to navigate this dynamic that allows you to not only avoid conflict or feeling judged by your loved ones, but to actually open them up to be curious about you and your transformation.
Over the course of my career, I’ve worked with many people who had family members or partners who at first, weren’t supportive of their personal growth journey or the work we were doing. And by following my approach, they were slowly able to gain the curiosity and support of the people they love. In fact, I’ve seen countless situations where the very people who were skeptics in the beginning become beloved clients who were committed to their own growth too!
If your loved ones aren’t into personal development and you are, try these steps to bring more ease and connection back to your relationships.
1. Look at Things From Their Perspective
If you’re feeling emotionally upset or triggered by your loved one’s disinterest in something important to you, it can be challenging to see things clearly. Take a moment to step back and look at things from their perspective.
Is it possible your loved one is afraid that you changing means you won’t be as close or won’t need them anymore? Or maybe they think that because you’re changing, you want to make them change too. Chances are these fears are unconscious, but they’re still very real.
There are lots of reasons why people might be triggered by your love for personal development. In order to clearly see what’s going on, try to consider what they might be feeling and offer some compassion.
2. Let Go of Any Expectations
If you want to be able to share your wins and successes with your loved ones and have their genuine interest and support, you have to let go of expectations. Don’t put any pressure on them to be interested in the things you love. If they don’t like personal development, that’s ok! It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker in you staying close and connected.
Often people resist a passion and love for these topics because they feel a subtle pressure that you want them to change or that you think their life would be better if they adopted your new ways too. If you want them to be curious and open with you, you have to be completely accepting of them exactly where they are. The more accepting you are, the more open they will naturally become.
Your intentions in sharing your passions may be good, but to the other person it might feel like you think they aren’t enough as they are or that you want them to change. When you let this go and offer them your acceptance, the push-pull dynamic will go out of your relationship and things will smooth out naturally.
3. Acknowledge Your Loved Ones For Who They Are
One of the coaching and communication tools we teach our clients is called acknowledgment. This is a simple and genuine way of sharing with the people in your life what they already do that is a contribution.
When you see and verbally acknowledge people for the ways they contribute to your life exactly as they are, they will relax. They will feel appreciated and loved and in turn, they will usually become more curious and open with you. This might seem unrelated to getting them to be open to your love of personal development, but it’s really not! Acknowledging people brings a feeling of peace into relationships and it makes people more receptive and curious in return.
4. Live by Example
The absolute best way you can get your loved ones curious about the positive changes you’re making in your life through personal development is simply by living them! Rather than feeling like you need to share your insights and accomplishments directly, if you get resistance, just focus on living those changes authentically.
Over time, if you don’t put pressure or force an agenda on them, the people you love might naturally become curious just by watching you change. And if they don’t… that’s okay too! At the end of the day, you’re on a path of growth and development for YOU, not for anyone else. Some people will become open and curious about your passion for personal growth and others won’t. There’s space in our lives for all kinds of relationships and you don’t have to let this come between you and the people you love.