The other day, I was invited to attend a women's business prayer group. As I arrived, I was greeted by the facilitator and introduced to a few women, shown around a bit and offered tea before the group started. I grabbed my tea and found a place to sit next to two women chatting. I introduced myself and exchanged some niceties, but I could tell they were involved in a deep conversation. So I politely sat back in my seat and sipped my tea and observed. I scanned my attention around the room, but I kept getting pulled into the distraction of the conversation next to me. It quickly became clear they were discussing another woman and her decision to "go it on her own". Without making this post sound gossipy, I have to say that I really felt in my heart for the "other woman", I'll refer to her at #3. I was immediately triggered by emotions of times when I was that person and experienced the "behind the back" chatter.
In the short time I was sitting there, I was able to gather that the two women in the conversation were not at all happy with #3. They never mentioned their business but it appeared that the women were pretty tight until #3 decided she wanted to spread her wings and fly. I felt bad for #3 because, I've been there and it doesn't feel good. It makes what should be an exciting time feel tainted by negativity and gossip. This especially hurts coming from other women who should be doing everything to build each other up, not tear them down.
I lived through two similar situations in recent years coming from part-time jobs I had while I was building my yoga classes. Each situation arose when I made the decision that it was time for me to move forward and focus 100% on myself and following my purpose. The first situation was the most bizarre experience I think I'd ever had to that point. Instead of being happy for me, the person was so angry that I could even fathom moving on. It became a matter of, "if you're not with me, you're against me and we will have to cut all ties". Which eventually we did. I found it very interesting that this came from someone who made a living off of promoting happiness and finding one's dharma. I guess that was only the case if it coincided with their needs. The experience came at a time in my life when I was also breaking out of some of the very patterns that had gotten me sucked in in the first place; people pleasing and controlling. The emotional ups and downs took a toll on me and I had to do a lot of work to recover. Listening to the conversation that day was a definite trigger for me.
The second situation was not quite as dramatic, but still uncomfortable to say the least. This person also took it very personal, even as I explained it had nothing to do with them, but I had to do what was right for me and at that time it was taking my business to the next level. For the first time in my life I stood my ground and stuck by my decision, even when this person begged and begged for me to stay and just do a little more. I knew that wasn't an option for me because if I did, one day would turn into a week and then a month and so on. Needless to say, it was not enough for them so they ended all contact with me. It wasn't that I was happy that I had caused this person to feel this way, but I was so proud that I didn't go back to my old patterns of doing for others and neglecting myself.
So, back to the ladies at the prayer coffee. The more they talked the more I could feel the energy that they were just puffing themselves up to take the sting off the fact that #3 was following her dreams and they were not. I began to be triggered again to the feelings of isolation I had at a time when I should have been so proud and excited. I felt for #3 because if they were talking about her in this way, how did they make her feel when she gave them the news? Thinking back to my own experience, I found myself wanting to escape the coffee and find #3 and sit and have coffee with her! To show her support and compassion, giving her some validation at a time when it might be tough to find.
When you make decisions to grow in your life, to follow your truth and your passion, whether it's in business, home life, relationships or just living a peaceful life, there will ALWAYS be someone with a negative opinion of you. The enemy has them lined up, like an army ready to send into battle, just to see if you can be drawn off focus. If you are showing up and living your purpose and doing it different than others, I'll tell you this, the first one through the window gets bloody. There will be times when you feel defeated. But there will 100 more times when you feel so much joy you can't contain it. I promise you this! Don't give up! Keep on doing your thing. Find your tribe, especially women who will lift you up and support you. Look outside your niche or industry to connect with other women who are living their truth. Friends and family are a great support system, but sometimes they don't understand all of what you are doing. Don't expect them to. Some of the best support I've found in the past year has come from people I didn't know and have nothing to do with yoga. Be diligent about finding the support of like minded women who have absolutely nothing to gain from you other than fellowship. And finally, remember the dreams and purpose God has placed in your heart is way more important than the opinions of the critics.