The following email is the inspiration behind this article:
My husband and I would like to homeschool our children. We have a few years before our oldest reaches school age, but we have talked to some of our family about it. Most of our family is supportive of our desire to do this, but we have at least one close family member who is not. He drops not so subtle hints and comments about why he thinks we shouldn’t. Any advice on how to deal with this?
It’s no fun when someone dislikes the food we put on the table or the color we picked for our bathroom or the person we voted for in the last election or the education we’ve chosen for our children. It happens every day. Someone disagrees with something we have done, are doing, or will be doing in the near future.
How to Avoid Being Disagreed With in One Easy Step
1. Move to an uninhabited island. Alone.
BINGO! Nobody will ever disagree with you again. It’s beautiful.
I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago in Facebook Hissy Fits, but basically, as long as you live on planet earth, you’ll need to get used to the fact that lots of people will not agree with your choices. And that’s actually OK. I’m learning this myself right now. I’ve always had a difficult time tolerating the disapproval of others. It’s something I’m intentionally working on this year – as in, I’m literally focusing on this area of my life because it isn’t healthy.
What to THINK When Someone Disagrees with You
Our thoughts matter. In fact, often, it isn’t the circumstances of our lives that do us in; it’s the way we think that makes or breaks us. So when someone disagrees with you or criticizes you for something, here are some logical things to check off in your noggin:
1. Why are they disagreeing with me?
Sometimes the criticism is valid. They see something that you are blind to – and they are trying to help. Is this a person that has a history of loving you and looking out for your best interests? Then you may want to take their criticism seriously. It might initially hurt, but ultimately it will help you grow as a person. And that’s a positive.
Is this a person who has a history of being critical and always trying to “one-up” you? Then take their criticism with a big grain of kosher salt or sea salt or Real salt – or whatever kind you typically use. You get to choose. I won’t criticize.
2. It’s OK if others disagree with me. They’re Wemmicks, like me. They’re not God.
God is big and what He says matters in huge ways. Humans are small and what they say just doesn’t carry the same weight. Tell yourself that until you truly believe it.
3. It’s OK if I disagree with others. I will take responsibility for my own decisions.
That’s maturity. And maturity is good.
What to SAY When Someone Disagrees With You
Sometimes you find yourself sitting at a big table over Thanksgiving dinner, and Uncle Clifford decides that’s the perfect time to let you know you’re a Bozo, a dingbat, AND a class AAA moron for homeschooling your children. As soon as you recover from choking on the cranberry stuffing, you pull yourself together in order to respond in a (hopefully) adult way. What might that response look like? Here are some ideas:
- Why, thank you, Uncle C for your thoughts on the matter. To each his own, eh?
- Well, that’s an interesting perspective, Uncle Cliff. It always amazes me how many opinions there are in the world on all the various subjects. We never run out of topics to discuss. I’d love to know what you think about the orphan situation in Romania?
- I know, I know. I’ve got serious issues, don’t I? It will be a miracle of the highest heavens if my kids grow up unscathed. Can you pass those sweet potatoes? They are the BEST!
- Uncle Clifford, your concern for our children is really quite incredible. You wouldn’t want to babysit for us next Friday night, would you?
Get my drift? Unless they have a credible reason to put you in the hot spot, you’ve got to NOT CARE. As long as people think their opinion holds any amount of weight with you, they will badger you until the cows come home. Or until you have one. Once people can see that you don’t take them seriously, they will often back off and leave you alone.
The recipe for disarming negative, critical people is a cup of reality with a twist of humor. That’s a twist OF humor. Not twisted humor. (Just thought I’d clarify.) You won’t always be able to think of these things on the spur of the moment, so if you know what the typical hot button topics are in your own circle of friends and relations, prepare yourself in advance.
And get ready to have some fun this holiday season.