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How To Cope With Family And Friends That Aren’t On The Same Journey As You

After you've been through a weekend or several-day workshop, there's something that happens for the next few weeks, or maybe longer. You're on a kind of high, having been immersed in an environment that was supportive of your goals. It's understandable that when you get back, your loved ones might look at you like, “Who's this?!?”

How do you cope with family and friends that you love that aren’t on the same journey as you? You're functioning at a different level that maybe some or most of the people around you don’t get anymore. You want them with you, but here's the trap … it’s easier not to grow and hope that you will do enough for everybody.

Don't be an unnecessary martyr. I nor anyone can tell you whether or not the people you care about the most are on the same journey as you. Only you know that. Just because people live together or are in the same family, though, does not mean they’re on the same journey, nor does it mean they need to be on the same journey. They’re on a train based on their life, their karma, their programming and their purpose.

You’ve got to get to the top yourself first. Then if anybody wants to switch trains and journeys on their own accord, you can be the model. If you try to do enough for all, you’re just going to get tired.

You may think, “Harv, I understand all of that, but what do I do? I love these people. I want them with me but they don’t get me anymore.” That’s life. I get it.

Here’s what you do:

1. Be with someone when you’re with them and not when you’re not with them. If one of these people is your husband or your mother, and you find that you have to be with them all of the time, you don’t have to be with them all of the time. Respect where they’re at and simply allow them to respect where you’re at. Don’t put them down for where they’re at. Don’t look for accolades. Don’t judge anything. This is their life at this point in time. It might change one day. You do what you need to do. Someone stopping you from doing what you need to do is a whole other question.

2. It's not about them, it's about you. People come up to me all of the time and say, “How do I get my wife to come? How do I get my husband to go?” I say, “If you have to get them to go, you’re in deep doo-doo, my friend.” You don’t get them to go. You hopefully ask them to go.

How? I've probably given this advice to thousands of people. I have probably had at least 1,000 come back to me and say, “When I asked them to come for me, they came.” I had at least that many people that said, “Originally when I asked them to come, because it’s going to be good for them, they wouldn’t come.”

The fact is that, wholehearted, we are all one, but in reality we’re not one. You’re separate people. People say, “Everyone’s got to be like me and I have to be like them. Otherwise, we can’t get along.” Wrong. Try it again.

Try this out, draw two circles, but overlap the circles so that there are three sections. There is a big section of you, a big section of them and a nice big section of you together.

This means I have a life, you have a life and we have a life. When we are together for the amount of time we’re together, we decide we are together, we commit to being together and we are being one. When we are not together, we are not. You have a life, I have a life, and we have a life.

It’s not about them. It’s about you. If you ask them to come to a seminar for you, it’s the truth. “Come for me. I want us to know the same things. I want us to be on the same wavelength so I can talk with you about this kind of stuff.”

Never try to pull someone up a rock or ladder who doesn’t want to be pulled up, because they’re going to do everything they can to pull you down.

This lesson came from a question in my Tough Love Mentoring Program.

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38 thoughts on “How To Cope With Family And Friends That Aren’t On The Same Journey As You”

  1. david says:

    The most wonderful advice ever

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    1. jan says:

      I agree. Sometimes I suspect that the “problem” is that depending on where and how we were raised old habits and training want to take over. But it isn’t ever about fixing the rest of the world is it? It is about doing the best one can do and being present for the significant others in one’s life and asking them to meet you there because you want them there not “for their own good”

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  2. Tracy says:

    This makes a lot of sense but sometimes you need to make a choice for you and your journey and walk away

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    1. Bernardo W. says:

      …exactly, because after a short time you don’t have anything in common to talk about anymore…!! But most people don’t leave, they stick desillusioned to their “defending” partners…!!!

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  3. Pat says:

    This article was God sent. I have been struggling with understanding how to hold on to my friendship while making that next step. I’m on a mission that I can’t say my friends or on and it was a struggle to see how I could continue my friendship with these people. Very impactful

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  4. lina says:

    wow, for months i have asked myself that question. thanks so much for your drawing. i finally got it!!!!!!

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  5. Shoana says:

    Timely article, thanks Harv! Over the weekend I went away on a trip with some close friends. There was a moment when my opinion differed strongly from theirs and they very robustly argued their point. I was able to maintain my path and then later when asked by one if “we were ok” (meaning the friendship and had it been damaged) my response was “of course we are, we do not have to agree on everything to be friends, i respect where you come from and i have different experiences to you so I simply have a different view – neither is right nor wrong”. Despite saying this I did feel a bit put out and felt like others were looking at me differently because I strongly held to a different view (the view was on marriage so was a personal and touchy subject) – I have spent a life time pleasing others and have only just realised in the last few years that it is my life and I do not need to conform to what others think – it is tough but so worth holding to your path! Thanks again for the reminder.

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  6. Clara says:

    Thank you, I was in this very edgThanks, I was standing in that same corner today. You’re right, it’s my time, my turn and my decision and it’s nice, not to have fallen into my trap!

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  7. Tim Jones says:

    Harv, I read your book on 10/31/10. I attended MMI on 12/10/10. I saw you on stage at UIBC5 in February of 2011. I am a QL graduate as of November 2013. We have not met in person yet. Adam Markel is my mentor as I travel my path to fulfill the purpose for which I am here. None of this would have occurred without Peaks. I am One with Source because of the principles I learned in QL. I am a Warrior! I know my Mission; “When I Believe I Achieve.” Many days I walk alone & it’s perfect because this is MY path. Nobody wants what I want as much as me, and they were not sent here to fulfill my destiny, I was! Thank you for being present in my lifetime. We will meet one day, of that I am certain. I see you.

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  8. Frances says:

    Thank you Harv, very timely reminder for me to stop worrying and helping others to my detriment. I just need to get on and do what I have to to succeed.

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  9. Ursula says:

    This is the truth. It is touching me deeply to clearly face it.
    Thank you, Harv.

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  10. valentyna says:

    Спасибо,Харв , за письмо-одно удовольствие и счастье читать его.Сейчас я уверенно иду своей дорогой.Я оставила там.позади, много друзей, знакомых и даже родных.Вначале было больно,пока я не поняла-у каждого свой путь.Я встретила новых друзей, которые разделяют мое мнение.И как не удивительно,вернулся даже кто-то из давно знакомых…И я счастлива..

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  11. Thea says:

    thanks you Harv! I just asked this question in the freedom first wealth coaching. Now it’s more clearer to me!

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  12. NAGESH says:

    Thank u very much HARV; hereafter I won’t pull up my family members who don’t want to be “pulled up”…..Thanks once again for your wonderful and adroit advice…

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  13. Daniela says:

    Hi, Harv, and thank you for another great “tough” lesson. Since I started on my path of self-development, I have found out that friends, members of my family and co-workers are sometimes looking at me as if I were an alien of some sort; they don’t seem to be able to grasp what I’m saying. I recommend them great books and courses, I share with them some of the amazing things happening in my life, but there are only 2 or 3 people around me whom I can really talk to. Sometimes I get to feel lonely, but then I return to my books and webinars, to my writing and my online coaching, and accept them as they are, living this unique moment in their lives. As you said, we all need to learn to respect other people’s journey trhough life and not expect everybody to behave and feel like we do.
    Looking forward to other insightful lessons from you…

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  14. DeAnna says:

    SO TIMELY every time! Thank you for your insight and wisdom!

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  15. tareeta says:

    Dear Harv,

    thanks for the wonderful peace of advice, i am on my growth path since last 8 years but i learnt this simple reality hard way during the course of time, your message and as well as my belief in your authority has validated my understanding that it is my journey and i am responsible for this, and cant take responsibility for others, if they want to grow i can support but cant pull them. thanks & lots of love to you

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  16. salvatore says:

    Fine, say Harv!!!! we did can’t do other:-) Big more success for spiritual life. they have a direction write:-)

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  17. HAROLD SOTO says:

    POR DIOS.!! QUE BUEN CONSEJO HARV.!! ESA ES UNA GRAN CLAVE.!! MIL GRACIAS.!! SOY SEGUIDOR TUYO… ME ESTOY APRENDIENDO TU LIBRO DE MEMORIA.!! DIOS TE BENDIGA.!!

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  18. Frances says:

    Never try to pull someone up a rock or ladder who doesn’t want to be pulled up, because they’re going to do everything they can to pull you down.
    Yes, I recognized this in myself not that I wanted to pull anyone down, put the juxtapositioning of a passionate person can create fear if one feel inferior. So I changed my inner response to others to”I am happy for someone else success and happiness. There passion helps me embrace my own” I also, realized I was not on the same wave as my family and friends from childhood for a long time and this has opened the door for to meet and grow from awesome artists, dancers and healers as well as give in return to kindred spirits. Boundaries and honoring ones time and beliefs are a two way street.

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  19. Laurie Delk says:

    True for family as well as your team – like they say “you can lead the horse to water, but you cannot force him to drink” — “you can’t push a rope”

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  20. Beth says:

    Oh so true! This is one lesson it took me the longest time to get. Thanks Harv!

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  21. Ebenezer Yemoh says:

    Thanks for this free advice Harv. I feel like you wrote this for me. I left my country Ghana to the US last year to attend college but I always have this pressure from home. Everyone wants to hear from me everyday and asking all kinds of questions which just wastes my time. thank you once again

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  22. Anab says:

    wow clarity! 🙂
    Thank you Harv for reminding me

    “Never try to pull someone up a rock or ladder who doesn’t want to be pulled up, because they’re going to do everything they can to pull you down.”

    and knowing I am alone and not so alone having this community.

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  23. Terry Smiley says:

    Hello fellow journey takers, I am new to Harv’s financial freedom course but I have studied this concept with Dave Ramsey. Some of your friends or your family members will actually resent you for trying to better yourself. I have seen this in a few of my friends, I don’t think they even know they are doing it! You must recognize this when it happens and not let it discourage you from the journey you are on. It really doesn’t make sense to me because I always try to encourage and I would never try to deter anyone from an idea or a goal. There are some people in my life I just don’t tell them everything anymore.

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  24. Patrick A says:

    I needed that…need more.

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  25. HUE TIEN says:

    Sau khi doc nhung bai hoc duoc chia se tu T.HARV toi rat tam dac.Ngay tu bay gio toi phai hanh dong vi toi muon tro nen giau co va hanh phuc hon.Toi rat muon duoc hoc nhieu hon.nua tu Anh. Cam on Anh rat nhieu.

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  26. Agnesia says:

    It had to hear this again, it is the most liberating feeling when I live my life and only be with the people who choose a different life when I am with them and not always looking for strategies in my head to change their life. I can only change my attitude and life””

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  27. Bobbie says:

    This is so true. I’ve been wanting my wife to understand who I stop being an employee and became a entrepreneur. Now I understand indint have to “make” her understand. It’s her life that I got to respect.

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  28. Sangeeta Goyal says:

    Thank-you this is very wise advise. I like the circle analogy as it makes things very clear how to deal with non-acceptance of your journey.

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  29. C. K. says:

    This is so true and helpful to hear! It’s encouraging to know it’s OK to be on a different journey, even if others don’t understand or want to follow the same path.

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  30. Charity Kulesza says:

    I LOVE IT!! GREAT ARTICLE!!

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  31. Abhinav Asthana says:

    Thank You.

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  32. Zara says:

    Thank for the advice! Honestly I feel like I’m on my own, but I know that the people who I look up to felt the same thing. My parents want me to spend all this time with them, but it’s not the same anymore. They’re flaky supporters on my dream and it sucks. I can’ t rely on them anymore like I used to.

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  33. vilas says:

    Perfect.. I wasted my 17 years for keeping my wife with me. Sometimes I got small success ( I thought) but all the time she tried to pull me down. Not exactly at same time but after some time gap. That may keep us suspicious about the path we decided, and we come down.

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  34. Susie Howe says:

    Thank you Harv for addressing this topic, it certainly is not an easy situation to be in.

    I have enrolled people in personal development courses since 1997 and in my experience 1 person out of 100 people would be willing to be open to learning new ideas in a personal development course. I keep going anyways. I’ve been called a “seminar junkie”. I like to learn and I am always in the work somewhere.

    I did have to make a tough choice in my life about what I was willing to support when I was faced with active alcohol abuse in my home with my spouse. I could not stay.

    In my recovery I have found that one person in recovery can equal one person in non-recovery. I can only go towards the light for healing, not sit in the dark with my spouse.

    My self care, loving myself enough to walk away, and live my truth has brought me through the biggest spiritual experience of my life. I have learned to accept what is and detach with love.

    Thank you so much for writing this lesson, it is so important.

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  35. Robert says:

    This entire article is completely condescending. If you really believe that we all have our own journey, and that we’re all equal, and that you’re not above anyone else, you wouldn’t need to use metaphors such as seeing yourself helping someone up a ladder, or viewing them as someone who hasn’t quite come to terms with how the world works. That’s judgement, no matter how you’re trying to hide it. I’ve seen these “mentoring” programs for some time now. I know people who are in them. They all speak the way this article and it’s commenters do. They don’t seem to understand why other people wouldn’t “get them” or see why their friends and families are concerned that they’re pouring 10’s of thousands of dollars into these get rich schemes. I believe in positive thinking, positive reinforcement, and in giving back to my community. But I don’t need to pay 20-50 grand to have a “mentor” tell me this. It smacks of fraud. The very fact that you need to write an essay instructing your followers on how to “deal” with people in their lives who are concerned by your demands on their family members…wow. There’s only one group of people I see so many similarities with: scientologists. Those people also believe that they’re on a higher plane. They too, pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for “secrets” and personal mentoring in the hopes of having a happier and more successful life. They’re also told to disconnect and distance themselves from family members, spouses, and even children who dare to ask hard questions. Your article is terrifying, and sounds more like propaganda to get your clientele to keep paying you the big bucks than empathetic, truthful advice on how to get along in a world of diversity.

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  36. jane says:

    It takes a lot of courage to be okay with pleasing yourself. Especially if you’re over 60 and have spent 40 plus years putting yourself last after husband and children, but it can be done!!! I’m living proof. Thanks to Harv!

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