Some years ago, I attended a conference and one of the speakers shared something about support that has stayed with me ever since. He explained that when you are doing what you know you must do, not everyone you know supports you. In fact, some of the people you may get the least support from are your family and friends. He went on to explain there is a reason for this. The people who are closest to you are most afraid for you. Their words or attitudes of discouragement are very likely the reflections of their doubts that they would be safe if they made the choice you are making.
In spiritual reflection, we could take this one step further. Their doubts may be the reflection of your own doubts. In either case, the way to break free from other people’s doubts relies on breaking free from our own.
Martha Sinetar, in her book Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood shares her own experience with her family when she decided to write this book. The family was not very supportive in the beginning. Her husband was not entirely sure it was a good idea nor very encouraging, and her children weren’t very thrilled about doing a few more chores so that mom had time to write.
You can imagine how frustrating this was for Sinetar. But she knew she needed to write the book, so she made a commitment to herself and made a stand with her family. The sentiment with her family went something like this — if you want to eat, you will do your share of the cooking and make your own lunches. If you want a clean house, you will do your share of the dishes and cleaning. If you want clean clothes, you will wash them.
Well, you can imagine the response—revolution. She found herself washing her own plate to eat from, stepping over piles of dirty clothes……you, get the picture. She didn’t waiver. She didn’t tell them what they had to do, nor did she make a federal case out of it when they didn’t support her by doing more of the household chores. She simply did what she said she was going to do—write—with fair warning to her family that she was going to be much less available to take care of the household.
She could have listened to her husband’s fear that this was not a good idea. She could have continued to take care of the household and slowly eeked out her book—sometime—maybe. Instead, Sintar did what she was here to do — write a book that has helped thousands of people gain clarity for and commit to their life purposes.
Of course our family members can have good advice for us and listening to their concerns can be helpful. If you are about to invest a lot of money, you might want to listen to some sound advice before doing that. If you are about to purchase a high maintenance car, after saying you wanted a low-maintenance one, and your partner or friend points that out, you might want to listen. We often do need the perspectives of the people who love us in order to find balance in our lives and make wise choices.
I’m talking about the times our loved ones are reflecting our own doubts or their fears that are not based in solid intuition or sagely experience. There are times when you simply know, deep down in your being, what you need to do, and one of the best ways to move through the reflections of doubts is with clear, peaceful, committed resolve.
It is said that Mother Teresa had the following written on her wall at her home for children in Calcutta, India,
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Read the rest of Mother Teresa’s “Do It Anyway” at Universal Prayers at the New Dream Foundation Forums: