All of us have experienced, at some point in our lives, those people who try to tell us what we can’t do; why what we want to do is silly; how something we want to do is a waste of time; that a dream we hold dear is unattainable. Sometimes those people are mere acquaintances and it’s easy not to take their opinions or statements seriously; it’s easy to dismiss them. Sometimes, though, those people are friends and family – people who are supposed to care about us, support us, and offer us encouragement to pursue our dreams and desires. When the negativity comes from them, it’s hard to set it aside.
Let me give you an example of each.
All my life (growing up) I wanted to be a police officer. My father, after I had enlisted in the U.S. Army and become a Military Policeman made the statement that, “The only thing worse than a cop is a soldier, and you’re both.” He didn’t mean that cops or soldiers were bad people. He meant that I could do more with my life and he didn’t understand why I was pursuing a life in uniform. He saw it as a waste of potential and he was very critical of that choice for years to follow. That outlook, coming from my father, was devastating to me. I can’t begin to articulate how much stress it caused me to know that each and every day my father was ashamed of me; not proud of the man I was becoming. Of course, he never said that and never meant that. It was just how I interpreted his comment and allowed the negativity that I perceived to impact my motivations.
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