How do you deal with the judgments you receive from people who have more or less ambition than you do? What ideas do you have for responding to people who feel you aim too high or too low in life?
People's opinions about you actually speak more about them than you. That's the first thing I remember.
For those who express opinions you are aiming too high in life, consider what in their lives might cause them to feel that way. Is their concern out of fear or love or pride? Are they dissatisfied with their lives? Have they failed at what you're striving for? Will they feel "left behind" if you achieve your dreams? Perhaps their concern is out of love, and they really are concerned that your aspirations are damagingly high.
If they are a trusted loved one, then it might be wise to consider their input. Sometimes we can get caught up in our own dreams and not see the risk or ramifications. I think a humble seeking of their intent and a willingness to honestly listen to and consider valid concerns is not only smart but wise--especially if it is a spouse with whom you're to be equally yoked with, and have committed to walk next to in this life and the next. When personal dreams take precedence over the couple's dreams, it can lead into dangerous and divisive territory. (I will resist going into a tangent on the nuances of compromise and commitment here.)
For those who express thoughts that you are aiming too low, the first thing to do is the same as above: consider what in their lives might be causing them to feel that way, and if their concern in out of fear or love or pride.
What makes them feel entitled to judge where you are or dictate the direction of your life? Do they feel superior? Do they put value on worldly success or labels and assume if one's not aspiring to such they aren't rising to their potential? Or do they love you and see your potential and feel you can achieve more than you are? An honest introspection might find that your fears and insecurities are truly holding you back from the risk of growth and opportunity. Is there a chance they are right?
Their intention matters, as does yours.
If someone comes with unwanted advice, it's always okay to say, "Thank you for sharing your concern. I'll take that into consideration." You can also ask them questions to determine their motive and their place in life. If they are open to suggestions they should open to questions as well. If they are coming from a place of love, they will answer them.
Ultimately, what you do with your life is your choice. You have an obligation to your spouse to be as close to the same page as her, and, if your beliefs are such, you have the privilege of checking with God regarding your path in life. Everyone else, be polite, be grateful, be open, but own your choices and dreams.
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Hi. I'm M.E.
Growing up my brothers called me a know-it-all. I wasn't. I just acted like it.
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