There may be occasions when the choice you’re contemplating is controversial and goes against the beliefs of those whose opinions you value.
Choosing to leave a relationship, stay single and never marry, or not have children are judged societally. Choosing to stop being the people-pleasing nice girl may cause a rumbling among those who like you in that role.
Making an Unpopular choice that goes against societal norms can be difficult
Especially when those around you have differing opinions. To make a controversial choice, you must possess a strong conviction. While often considering future factors alone, it is important to trust yourself in these moments.
As you move in the direction of your desires, it takes resilience to imagine disappointing those you care about, especially when it may mean facing external judgment and disapproval.
I’d like to share my client Maya’s story with you. It’s a beautiful example about building trust in yourself and preparing emotionally for repercussions that may follow unpopular choices.
As a single woman in her mid-thirties, Maya knew definitively that she didn’t want children, yet she internalized sentiments nudging her toward mothering, as well as criticisms berating her for not considering this path.
Committed to building a life around her desires and valuing her ability to travel, her disposable income, and the peace of her life, she was open to considering what she could do to mitigate the whispers of external voices.
Although these voices would not affect her decision, knowing that choices come with downsides, Maya engaged in an internal dialogue about her fears of not becoming a mother.
- She wouldn’t see her child grow up to find their place in the world.
- She wouldn’t create a positive home environment with a stable family.
- She wouldn’t experience her existence taking on a new meaning.
- She wouldn’t get to do for her child what was not done for her.
- She wouldn’t get to impart her values to another being.
- She would have no immediate family to belong to and care for her as she aged.
Ultimately, no matter which path you choose, there will always be “what if” questions about the road not taken.
By examining the positive and negative aspects of your decision, you can develop trust in yourself and feel confident that you can handle the consequences.
For Maya, taking a stand against the crowd required internal resolve. She needed to consider how her choice might negatively affect her, not those who might have a personal stake in it. Reflecting on the pros and cons, she tried on both sides of the choice, seeking to wear the one that fit most comfortably.
Maya considered what she might be missing and addressed the opposing points of her decision point by point.
- By not creating a nuclear family, she’d need to be intentional about building meaningful relationships and developing a sense of family with the people she chose to have in her life.
- To receive the care she’d likely require as she aged, she’d need to have resources to either hire someone to care for her at home or move into a facility that met her standards. She’d need to begin contributing to a dedicated savings account that would build over time.
- She would have to focus on preventative care, keeping up with her health screenings and working to build a healthy lifestyle that would keep her mobile and active.
- Knowing she wanted to be a valuable resource for future generations, she’d seek to deepen the relationships with her nieces and nephews, and look for opportunities to work with kids in her community.
Before doing this exercise, Maya had known that this choice resonated with her, but examining each of her bleakest fears to practical work-arounds cemented her trust in herself knowing she could handle the consequences.
While her choice had challenges, in looking unflinchingly at what she’d miss, she felt confident she could handle it and actively work to meet her needs in other ways.
Expanding your accumulated reserve of trust is paramount when making unpopular choices.
If you’re struggling to make a difficult choice, please reach out.