I call them Dream Stealers. You know these people, we all do. A Dream Stealer is someone who, for whatever reason, does their best to sabotage you. They undermine your happiness, drain you of energy, listen to excitement with a sour expression, and do their best to persuade you of your inability to reach beyond your current situation. Why?
Most of us understand on some level why this happens. For someone who is standing still in life, they will only be happy when others are validating their inability to change and move forward. This is sad and deserves our empathy. Not pity, but true empathy. For whatever reason this person has lost their power. They have failed to achieve their own goals and they find satisfaction in the stagnation of the lives of others. The only way to thwart this type of attack is with kindness, empathy, and a true adherence to your convictions.
For example, you decide to pursue a promotion at work and tell your best work friend about it. Your friend, who hasn’t had a promotion or raise in years, looks at you with disdain and starts telling you all the reasons they’ll never promote you. They will spend ten minutes waxing poetic about how awful the upper management is, how unhappy you will surely be in that job, and how it probably doesn’t even pay very well. Sound familiar? I’ve also heard many stories from clients whose direct family members sabotage their goals in many ways. Anything from buying their favorite junk food, to saying negative things about their training techniques, or telling them they’re getting too skinny. I’ve heard it all, and I’m quick to point out the poisonous nature of these conversations and open their eyes to the true motivation behind these conversations.
So what can we do about this? First, we must recognize who in our lives are Dream Stealers. Sit down and write a list of all the people you interact with on a regular basis. Then go through and read that name, pay attention to how you react to reading it, and maybe even say their name out loud. How does your body respond? What kind of thoughts come up when you think about this person? If you’re paying attention, you will be able to easily categorize your contacts into Energy Fountains and Energy Drains.
Now comes the tough part. Your job is to extract these people from your life, or if possible have open discussions with them on your guidelines for interactions. For example, you could say to your father, “I know you love me Dad. I know you want what’s best for me and try to protect me. And I need you to know that if you truly want me to be happy, you need to stop saying negative things about my weight loss goals. When I share with you something positive in my life that I’m excited about, I need you to give me a hug and tell me you love me and leave it at that. Ok?”
Part of growing up is recognizing that we are fully accountable for our life experience, which includes all the people we surround ourselves with. Only you can choose who gets to be in your space. Protect yourself as fiercely as you would your children or other loved ones! Reach out to the people who lift you up and are always there with a positive comment and a sunny outlook. Surround yourself with positivity and your life will take a major turn for the better!