As you are making courageous changes in your career and life, you may encounter negative reactions from friends and loved ones. While it would be lovely if everyone in your circle would cheer you on and support you, the reality often looks different. Here is how to approach negative reactions in ways that open possibilities and foster positivity.

Become Aware of Your Own Default Negative Reactions

The first step towards positive transformation in your relationships is to grow your awareness. Get curious about what negative reactions feel like inside the person who is displaying them.

For this purpose, I invite you to begin to notice your own default negative reactions. We all have some well-established negative behavioural patterns. Shining a light on them, can help you grow awareness of your own negative reactions. How do you react when you feel insecure? Do you tend to get defensive? Are you prone to withdraw? Do you find fault in the other or yourself? In what ways do you tend to react when you feel threatened?


To study what happens for you, I encourage you to think of a recent time when you felt threatened, insecure, or unsure of yourself. For example, perhaps a loved one, friend or family member expressed a negative reaction to a courageous change you are making. As you recall the scenario, simply witness your reaction without judgement. Then pay attention to the sensations in your body as you recall this challenging situation. Notice your posture, breath, and heart rate. Become aware of areas of tension or pain in your body. Tune into your level of confidence and self-esteem in your triggered state.

Hold the Triggered Part of You in Compassion

I invite you now to hold this scared part of you in compassion. Imagine this part of you as a scared kitten or puppy, that needs your love and care. Take as much time to be with the raw and vulnerable part in you. This part of you truly needs your love and compassion. Notice what happens as you embrace the scared part of you. Is there a softening, a lightening, a release? What are you noticing now in your body, posture, breath, and heart rate? Is some of the tension you might have felt earlier dissipating? Allow yourself to witness and appreciate the transformation that happens within you, when you hold yourself in compassion.


Hold People Who React Negatively in Compassion

Now that you’ve experienced firsthand what it feels like inside of you, when you outwardly react negatively, you may already feel more compassion for others. I invite you to extend the compassion you are feeling to the people in your life who are displaying negative reactions towards you. It can be so frustrating and hurtful to receive criticism, blame, or rejection, or be ignored. That’s why it’s so helpful to remember the root cause of these behaviours. They are all rooted in feelings of fear and powerlessness.

The courageous changes you are creating have most likely triggered fears and insecurities in the people who are closest to you. People who are reacting negatively to the changes you are creating are hurting on the inside in similar ways to what you’ve just experienced first hand. Simply knowing that they are scared too can help you hold them in compassion. As you do, the emotional field begins to soften and more transformation may be possible.

Look for Positive Intentions in Yourself and Others

As destructive as negative reactions can be, when we look more deeply, it is possible to find some positive intentions. Before looking for positive intentions in another, it is helpful to recognize and ground yourself in your own positive intent. After all, the changes you are creating in your life and career are motivated by your heart’s desire.

Maybe you want to create more freedom and flexibility. Perhaps you want to express yourself more creatively. Maybe you want to show up more authentically. Your intention for your career and lifestyle changes may even be founded in wanting to be more present with your loved ones. Take a moment to name your positive intentions for yourself.


Now that you’ve established your own positive intent, you can also begin to see positive intentions in your loved one’s negative reactions. Maybe your loved one is longing for stability and safety. Perhaps s/he wants you to succeed. Maybe s/he yearns for more family time and connection.

Take some quality time to ponder positive intentions behind your loved ones negative reactions. As you do, notice once again how the relationship’s emotional field is softening. Take heart from these positive insights and stay connected to your own and your loved one’s good intentions.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Besides holding yourself and your loved ones in compassion as you navigate your courageous journey to career clarity, it is also important to surround yourself with supportive people. Take a moment now to notice who in your circle naturally encourages you on your career clarity quest. It’s time to nurture these supportive relationships and make it a priority to spend more time with people who are truly there for you.

The most genuine support often comes from people who are on a similar journey. Most of my career coaching clients express a longing for community support on their journey to career clarity. That’s why I created Career Clarity Circle, an engaging virtual circle that naturally builds a sense of community support among people who are creating and sustaining energizing careers.


Dana’s testimonial gives you a sense for what it’s like to be part of this community: “Through Career Clarity Circle, I gained confidence in believing that it is possible for me to pursue and focus on activities that are fulfilling for me. It is very valuable to explore together with other participants, being listened to and listen. I feel reassurance, knowing that others are on a similar journey.”

A new Career Clarity Circle is forming now! To join Career Clarity Circle, simply send me a message “YES to Career Clarity Circle” via the contact form on my website.