Things would be a lot easier in our lives if those with a pessimistic view of life wouldn’t stain or put a damper on our dreams. I call these the naysayers, and I’m sure you’re probably facing, or have faced, a few natural hair naysayers in your journey just because they’re everywhere.
For some, life is viewed as a struggle, an ongoing battle to achieve something or anything. For others, life is filled with endless possibilities, where even Brad Pitt can leave Angelina at the sight of them (in case you’re wondering this is not my dream. Really, it’s not!). Then, there are other different shades of people in the middle. I, for once, like to think that all dreams and happiness are possible with determination and strong will, and this is how I faced my transition to natural hair.
I actually don’t think naysayers can help themselves. They must believe, in some dark corner of their minds, it’s their duty to shed light on our dreams and goals. They are crafty at creating a minefield of doubts and insecurity around your dreams and goals. When it comes to giving an opinion (mind you, an unrequested opinion) on your journey to natural hair they’ll often say things like:
Girl, nappy ain’t pretty? You should relax that hair.
Your hair is gonna be so nappy, you’re gonna have to cut it all out.
Good luck with trying to find a boyfriend with that hair!
You’ll be out of a job with that hair!
You better forget about that promotion!
What are you gonna do with that hair? You know you can’t style that to look nice.
Having flashbacks already?! Yes! Well, then feel free to share a few quotes from your own personal experience. Unfortunately, those who tell you this are not all acquaintances or work colleagues, they’re also your close friends, family members, best friends and sometimes even your partner.
Stop Listening To The White Noise, Change Your Mindset!
It’s not very unusual to see new naturals or transitioners having doubts and uncertainty, maybe not about their decisions but about the uncertainty of what comes ahead and how to deal with it. I believe this is where naysayers work best, at deepening these doubts and creating new fears.
Nevertheless, you have to learn not let yourself be affected by their negative mindset. You need to develop a thick skin! When I decided to go natural I had to be firm in my goals and not let anyone crush my dreams or paralyse me by the uncertainty of the journey. Let me share with you a personal story in another area of my life.
When I started my journey I didn’t face any vocal opposition to my journey, but it can come in many forms. I mostly had the awkward and surprised looks silently telling me I was crazy, or the forced, yellow smile putting no faith in my will or success.
This also happened when I decided to eat healthier and exercise. People said I was just trying to lose weight (which I was not), they tried to tempt me with food, some called me obsessed and others even said I was “depriving” my kids of eating “normal food”. But I kept on going and I feel much healthier and happier. Now I don’t have as much opposition.
The point is, naysayers will always be present in your life, in whatever decision you make for yourself. The truth is, sometimes when you’re already uncertain or anxious to begin with, naysayers can deter you from your goals or plant a seed of doubt if you’re caught off guard. Other times it can be tiring having to constantly fight them off. Either way, you need to learn to deal with naysayers if you are to come out triumphant in your natural hair journey. Here are a few tips.
#1| Try To Understand Them
No, this is not crazy. This might actually be a good exercise for other areas in your life. Try to think if there is a valid point in their arguments. Maybe they have one or two valid arguments and that is OK because you’re willing to go the extra mile to achieve your goals. Nothing worth having ever comes easy!
Many times these people are just projecting on to you their own fears and conditioned behaviour about natural hair. Sure, a lot of them are rooted in natural hair myths that have no validity. Still, if you practice this “crazy” exercise I believe you won’t be as affected by naysayers as before.
#2| Don’t Let Yourself Get Toxic
Of course that dealing with naysayers and trying to understand them doesn’t necessarily mean you now have to endure all their opinions. Get yourself some distance from them and don’t be caught in their toxic narrative. You don’t need the confrontation.
When possible, cut or limit your contact with these people. Don’t let your dreams slowly erode!
#3| Put It On Mute!
Tired of listening to the same thing over and over again? Does it sound like a broken record? Well, it probably is. This normally happens with family and close friends. They are the ones that love us so much that they feel they know what is best for us. Yes, they may be well intended, but they also want us to dance to their tune, and it will keep playing until we dance to it.
What can I say?! Family is family, we were born into it and we have to learn to deal with it. Therefore, without being disrespectful and instead of fighting them off, you need to change the tune or mute it down in your mind. Change the topic, play around it or smoothly remove yourself from the situation. Let’s try not to permanently damage relationships.
#4| Be Surrounded By Like-Minded People
If you surround yourself with people who are always pulling you the other way, pretty soon you’ll lose sight of your goals or your journey won’t be as enjoyable. To offset natural hair naysayers in your life get surrounded or look for people who are going through the same hair journey as you, join a discussion group or attend natural hair events.
Just seek people, places and information with the same vibrational energy as yours!
#5| Be Selective
I now you may be very excited about your new journey, your accomplishment and new discoveries as I was when I started out, but you need to be selective with who you share your journey. Naysayers will only minimise, ridicule, dismiss or make fun of your achievements.
Talk to people who support your dreams and are there for you when you need them even if they don’t agree with your choices.
#6| You Are The Boss Of You
Sometimes there is just no escaping, sometimes you need to set things straight. You need to say that the decisions you make in your life are yours and not theirs. You decide what is best for you, and you live with the consequences of your choices, not them.
You need to explain to them that if they love and care for you, following their advice wouldn’t make you feel happy, and if happiness is what they want for you then they should make an effort to support you, or at least not undermine your decisions.
#7| The Best Teacher Is Life
If all else fails, let life take its course. Life is the greatest teacher, even if you fail or succeed, naysayers have very strong opinions, but if you remain firm and lead by example they might just leave you alone and even follow your steps. As said before, many times they’re just projecting their doubts and fears, but by watching your accomplishments they may change their minds.
#8| Keep Your Goals In Sight
Your dreams (goals) need to be kept alive and to do that you need inspiration around you. Pinterest is especially good for this. Of course, you can always build your own 3D visual board, but with Pinterest, you can gather endless amounts of information, images, inspirational quotes, tips and much more.
If you don’t have an account with them, I urge you to open one, I promise you’ll find truckloads of inspiration. Have a look at some of Curly Hair Longe’s boards on Pinterest below, maybe you can get some inspiration there. Having this close contact with something that inspires you will strengthen your goals and your determination, it will make the journey more pleasurable and will ultimately lead you through a triumphant journey.
I hope these tips will help you the next time you have to deal with naysayers. Remember they’ll always be around you, it’s not your job to change their opinions about your decisions nor is it worth it to engage in confrontations. Focus on your journey, in doing the best you can to grow strong healthy hair and you will be fine.
How do you deal with naysayers?