It is never easy to go against the grain of the people around you. Some of the biggest decisions I’ve made in my mere 26 years of life were done in opposition to my closest family members and friends. When I decided to start going to church with a friend from high school, a family member told me church people are crazy hypocrites, which is true, but I think this applies to all people, not just church people. When I decided to cut all of the perm out of my hair at 18, I was told that it was a horrible mistake to cut off all of my “long, pretty hair.” Even though I slipped up and got a relaxer the year after that, I immediately regretted it and have never regretted my decision to be natural since that second big chop. But more than anything, every new mother knows that once you have a baby, everybody else becomes an expert on what you should and shouldn’t be doing. People who don’t have kids (and aren’t medical professionals by any means) will tell you how to breastfeed or the exact time you should potty-train your child. And Lord forbid the topic comes up of whether you should keep working outside the home or choose to be a stay-at-home mom. You will not want for opinions because they will come like flies come to fruit.
There was a time when I used to resent these didn’t-ask-your-opinion opinions and allow them to upset me. I used to question how people that seem to oppose everything I decide to do say that they love me and not support me. But now, I’m grateful for the opposition because it makes me a stronger person and forces me to really analyze my own decisions in a good way. People have always feared and distrusted what they don’t understand or what is different from them. I’ve realized that I have two options when people oppose something I’m trying to do. I can
Let those opinions control me and paralyze me from doing what I feel is the right thing to do
Use those criticisms to make me even more determined to prove people wrong later.
The choice is always ours. We can take the easy, but miserable road of people-pleasing and staying stuck in the box people will keep trying to put us in or we can take the sometimes lonely and difficult road that will make us people that we are proud to be, but most importantly, it will make us people we are meant to be. I choose to listen to those criticisms, nod my head, and focus on what my head, heart, and spirit tell me to do, tapping into all that positivity, optimism, and power that I have within me. What do you choose to do?