I don’t know who said this, but I love it: “Some people follow their dreams, others chase them down and beat them to death.”
This has been an invaluable phrase to remember when “chasing a dream”. See, to live an Aesthetic life, you won’t do everything by the book. You definitely won’t be able to respect the status quo. You won’t be doing things the way people expect you to, or following the road that they think is the safest, and as much as you shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone, the reality remains that you probably will have to explain your position at some point. Probably to someone you love or respect, but who doesn’t see things your way, or is too afraid for your welfare (or afraid that you might be right) to let you take risks; someone who is tied to fear and will try to drag you back to mediocrity. This is a tough situation to face, and it’s really easy to fold like a dental office in a hippie commune. It’s really, really easy to pull a quick cop-out, to change the subject, to cut off communication, especially if you’re a people pleaser. But you can’t: first, because cutting of communication may cause you stress and damage the relationship, and second, because it will crop up again. It always does.
So, here are a few things to keep in mind when having the tough conversation of explaining to someone you love why you’re chasing a dream, wether it’s a dream to be healthier, to have a better job, or to travel the world:
1.Maintain respect for them.
Don’t go in there with the strategy of invalidating their perspective to make yours look better. Say you’re talking to your carnivorous mother as to why you’re choosing to be a vegetarian (Mom: this is hypothetical). This is an example of trying to invalidate their position: “You don’t really need meat, and most of the meat we eat is so saturated with hormones and chemicals anyway that it can’t be good for you. 70% of the people who eat meat have parasites, and 120% are overweight. Besides, meat has been linked to grumpiness, AIDS and the common cold*”
Great. Do you realize what you’ve just done? Yes, you may have handily invalidated their side of the argument (especially if you came into the discussion prepared for battle, and they didn’t) but in doing so, you’ve invalidated them. Not what you were looking for. You need to respect their opinion while firmly supporting your own as the right choice for you.
2. Cut out wimp language.
“Well, that’s just sort of what I like…” “We are sorta thinking about maybe kinda…” “Yeah, maybe you’re right…I donno…” These are the other end of the spectrum. This is where you let your desire to not hurt the other person overwhelm your prior convictions. You fold, and end up backing off and appearing indecisive. You’re not communicating effectively. You’re not letting them see a good reason for your decision, so it will make your stance that much weaker in their minds. Back to the vegetarian example: What if you said this to someone: “Well, we just were…kinda…well, see we’ve never liked much meat, and so we really…I mean, it’s healthier to…cut down…not that we’re saying it’s bad, we just…well, and we did get a lot of tomatoes, so we’ll probably eat those for a while…” They are likely to think you are having money problems, or have brain damage. In either case, you’re not communicating the message “I’ve decided to become a vegetarian. There are quite a few reasons why I’ve decided that this is right for me.” well at all. They will miss you entirely.
3. Chase down your dreams and beat them to death.
Keep this in mind. It’s your life, and your dreams. Most things that are really worth doing will go against the satis quo in some way, and you’ll have to communicate clearly with the people who question your decisions. Seek as much advice as you can, but ultimately it’s your descision, not theirs. They probably wouldn’t want to make the descision for you anyway.
*these claims have not been validated by the FDA, and may have been looked up on the internet.