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What To Do When You’re Changing But The People Around You Aren’t

Life & Travel

I'm going to make an assumption. If you're checking out xoNecole, you're probably on a journey of personal development and growth. I'm sure you're in the process of creating the life of your dreams. You decided to step out of your comfort zone, take action, and you're gaining momentum and feeling empowered by it.

Things are going well, you're in the flow, and hitting some of your short-term goals. You're receiving some worthwhile opportunities too. It's all falling into place! When all of a sudden, you hear these words: "You've changed, (insert your name)."

That's a good thing, right? Change is what you want. But, the tone of those words wasn't congratulatory, but more judgemental.

Wherever you are on this challenging but rewarding journey to success, you may find yourself feeling isolated or unsupported. Of course, your friends and family love and care for you, but as you begin to transform your life, whether it's getting healthy or launching a business, some of the people closest to you may not understand and may try to stop you.

Change isn't always comfortable for us or our loved ones. Here are a few tips to consider when you're changing and your loved ones aren't with it.

Find Outside Support

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It will be easier to deal with resistant family and friends if you find balance from outside, supportive communities. And, let's be honest the support may not be nearby. If you're feeling alone, try online networking groups or forums to garner support. You'd be surprised how many people are having similar experiences. Luckily, with the help of social media, you can find private Facebook groups and in-person retreats to meet and network with other people with similar goals.

Another option is to consider group coaching. In group coaching, you not only connect with a life coach but also the coachees.

This kind of support will keep you empowered, connected, and reaching your goals, all while learning a great deal of information in the process.

If you don't need that level of support, but would really like to let your hair down with new people, consider joining a local meetup group. Whatever you're looking for you can find in a meetup group: all women groups, special interest groups, entrepreneurial-focused activities, and even fun workout partners. The great thing about it is that everyone who participates is looking to meet new, like-minded people. You are bound to make some cool new friends.

Depending upon how severe the resistance is you're experiencing, you may want to talk things out with a therapist. You have the option to meet with them in-person or online. Therapists can help you navigate tough relationship dynamics. They can also help you stay focused on your goals. Whatever route you choose for support, be sure to do some research and step out of your comfort zone and give it a try.

Get A Sense Of Tunnel Vision

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Naysayers can be a distraction and, at times, make you second-guess yourself. It is important on the days when you had a challenging interaction with a loved one that you remember why you started. Ground yourself in affirmations and go back to that vision board you have. Your family and friends who are telling you not to lose 'too much weight' or that you need to stop working so hard, really believe they are helping you. They are trying to protect you from what they believe is the unknown and what you know is your purpose.

Visualization is not only a great tool for manifesting, but also an ideal way to get excited about your dreams and stay focused. Imagine yourself when you reach that goal. How will you feel? How will you celebrate? What will you do? See it in detail and feel it is real! This activity will lift your spirits on tough days.

Take Time Out For Self-Care

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Don Miguel Ruiz, in his celebrated book, The Four Agreements said, "Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves." Remember those words if a friend shuns you for your decision to stay in on a Friday night to work on your book. Their problem really has nothing to do with you. As humans, we cling to familiarity, which is why so many of us resist change and encourage others to do the same. Change is scary and when it happens to others, it often requires us to reflect on our own lives and possibly change too.

Keep this in mind when you are overwhelmed, take time out to pause, and take care of yourself. You may want to journal, take a walk, or long bath. Or, you might find yourself needing to read something inspirational. Our Editor In Chief Necole Kane wrote a few weeks ago, not only a great inspirational story of her own, but also recommended the book The Last Arrow. Both have helped me when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Lastly, it's okay to feel sad about the lack of support you're receiving. Oftentimes, you hear people tell you to just "Ignore the haters," or "Don't cry, get even." That doctrine is unrealistic and has the potential to be toxic. Feel and rest. It's a part of the human experience. You will need it, and don't feel bad about it for one minute.

Feel the pain, give voice to it, and when you're up to it, keep going.

Ultimately, people will adjust to your changes and more often than not, will still love and care for you. What we don't often realize, that we may spark change in the people around us. It may not be overnight, but you changing your life can create a domino effect with the people around you.

And if it doesn't, limit your time with these people and find your tribe. Get connected to people who will inspire and support you.

Featured image by Getty Images

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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