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Chasing the Dream: When others don't support your dream

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Don't let 'em get you down

In an ideal world, you would define your dream, tell your kids, spouse, family, friends — everyone — and be flooded with support and offers to help you get there.

But let's face it: this isn't an ideal world and some people won't support you. How do you handle that? And how do you ignore the naysayers and soldier on?

For the goal-driven mom, life can be a careful balance between her parenting responsibilities and her efforts to make her dreams a reality. But when close friends or family members don’t support it, it can make everything harder. How can this impact a mom's ability to achieve what she wants?

"If a mom's family — children, spouse, parents, in-laws, extended family — don't support a mom's goals, it has the effect of stopping many women dead in their tracks because it takes support, accountability and time from those closest to you to be successful," says Caroline Adams Miller, a life coach and author of Creating Your Best Life. "No one succeeds in a vacuum, and women typically support their children, their spouses and even their communities before they think of themselves, and we are also putting friends and physical fitness at the bottom of priorities, all of which conspire to keep us down and out."

So, what do you do if your loved ones aren't supporting you?

Don't let it stop you

Hearing others voice opposition to your dreams can really bring you down. But you don't have to let it. Start by limiting who you share your dreams with. "If we know that someone isn't supportive, we should never share our early dreams or progress with them. The research shows that the first person we share good news with should only respond in one way — 'active constructive' — which is marked by enthusiasm and curiosity," says Miller. "Any other type of reply (there are three others: passive-constructive, passive-destructive and active-destructive) has the ability to undermine us permanently."

And if you tell someone and they are less than supportive, it's OK to communicate exactly what you need from them — though it might not always work, says Miller. "There are some people who will never want us to be successful, so it could be wasted breath."

How to find happiness as a mom >>

Familial support

As for your spouse, he should be supportive of your efforts — no matter what. Talk to him, explain what you want and how you plan to get there and seek his buy-in so that you can succeed. For the kids, the act of your spouse openly supporting your dream can be a great teaching moment. "Ask that the spouse demonstrate open types of support for the mom in front of the children so that the kids grow up seeing that Mom's goals matter, and that others can make sacrifices in that direction," says Miller.

Staying positive in the face of opposition

You have the power to control your environment and the people you surround yourself with. Avoid negative people and those who will bring you down. "Surround yourself with people who are positive, zestful and who are also pursuing their own goals. This type of attitude and behavior has been found to be contagious, and the research even shows that loneliness, depression and obesity are all contagious," says Miller. "There is even a ratio for the ideal environment that allows people to be curious, successful, zestful, socially engaged with others, and flourishing: it is five positive comments for every one negative. Anything below 3:1 has the effect of reducing well-being and every other positive emotion or action that would help with goal accomplishment."

Learn how to use positive thinking to achieve your dreams >>

Know

"The more we create a life that ups our emotional flourishing by filling it with the pursuit of meaningful goals (even hard goals have a special place in creating happiness), positive relationships with others, and giving to others, the more successful we'll be in every endeavor in life," says Miller.

More from Chasing the Dream

From Ralph Lauren to mom trendsetter
Why you need a mentor — and how to find one
How Jaden Hair achieved her dreams

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