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Family And Friends May Not Approve—That’s OKAY!

annieburnside01Some of my own family members and friends are at the very least not interested in what I do, and at the most, downright resistant to it. Some even view it as useless psycho-spiritual blather. More than a few don’t even read my blogs—what I consider to be pieces of writing straight from my core.

While I still get pricked when I get wind of someone that I am relatively close to not appreciating or sometimes even belittling my life’s work (which in my case happens to also be my great personal joy), eventually it behooves us to realize that not everyone, even those closest to us, is going to believe in what we do or maybe even see whom we really are. But hopefully, we can accept their lack of interest and sometimes lack of acknowledgment and still maintain the courage to forge ahead with our own unique path.

Just because an individual is our spouse, child, parent, sister, brother, or close college friend does not mean that we will grow in the same direction and desire to express ourselves in a similar way.

From my perspective, our most precious gift to one another is to allow and invite personal growth, but this is simply not a reality in many of our relationships at this point in the collective consciousness of humanity. Paradoxically, all too often in some of our closest relationships, another’s growth is actually, either consciously or subconsciously, felt as a threat due to unhealed imprints and wounds from their past.

Too often, we hold ourselves back from being fully ourselves because we sense that those whom we love do not approve of our expansion. The truth is that we can remain stuck in roles for years and in some cases an entire lifetime to fit in with what others desire us to be. But at some point, to be truly free, we must break away from old family patterns and dynamics and move into our most authentic self. And YES, it can be hard. We all desire to be accepted and loved…

If I had not officially come out as a soul nurturer, a career that literally embraces all that I am in my heart and soul, then I would not be a fulfilled individual. Period.

While on the outside, I may have appeared to be living a fulfilling, happy life, on the inside, there would not have been inner harmony. I know this to be true in the very deepest part of me. The call of the soul was simply too strong to be denied.

And yet, many people don’t get it. Many people don’t get me. Many people don’t believe in it. Many people feel that I am full of s**t. And you know what, beyond a prick that passes within a few hours, if not before, I have become okay with that.

I cannot force anyone to be turned on to what I love. I cannot force anyone to love what I do anyway, for no other reason than because I am the one who does it. I cannot force anyone to show support just because they love me. I cannot force anyone to hold the space for me to share what lights me up just because I do the same for them. All of the above must be a desire that comes from within each individual, and it has taken me a long time to accept this truth.

Relationships are powerful pathways to personal growth. Seen in this light, if pricked, there is always something being reflected back to us upon which we may choose to contemplate.

For a long time, I wanted everyone to like what I did, I wanted everyone to like me. Now, while that is still a nice thing—icing on the cake—I’d much rather BE ME and DO ME than have someone like me. One day, almost by surprise, I recognized that the self-love had become big enough and strong enough and sustainable enough that it simply tipped the scale in that direction.

So, please, don’t expect your loved ones and close friends always to get what you do or even to fully respect it. They don’t need to. YOU need to. There are plenty of others who will cross paths with your offerings who are attracted to them. Let that be enough and become truly free…

Warmth and LOVE,



A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book “Soul to Soul Parenting” won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award. Connect with Annie on her Facebook Pages and engage with her on Twitter @annieburnside


  • Dawn

    Amen sister! Nice peice

    • Annie Burnside

      Why thank ya, Miss Dawn:) Warmth and LOVE, Annie

  • https://www.facebook.com/michelle.marie.733450?ref=tn_tnmn Michelle Crowley

    Annie, GAWD this is good and timely. My mom and sister have NEVER seen my posts, but my mom worries that this all is “cult stuff” and my sister thinks I need to “Quit WANDERING and find the TRUTH”. It hurts down to my core sometimes. Your post really helps!! Love, Love, Love and Namaste!

    • Annie Burnside

      Michelle, I know you are wonderful! Keep living TRUE, beautiful one. You are SO not alone! xx Annie

  • kari

    Thank you…I SOO needed to hear this!! ….as I’m working on being true to myself!

    • Annie Burnside

      Yep, we are all in this together. The more of us who stand UP and announce, FREE to BE ME, the better for all! Mucho LOVE, dear one—Annie

  • Gemma

    I get you totally, i got out of the golden cage there were too many people not showing love or respect in my household to the point i got ill. And we can’t change them we just get truer to our own selves.

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you, Gemma. I always say to love from afar for now when necessary, and glad that more and more of us LOVE ourselves enough to do so! My body never fails to let me know when I need to live true to a greater extent. Much LOVE, Annie

  • chantal

    I am with you sister, just being me is good enough and follow the bread crumbs.

    • Annie Burnside

      Chantal, YES! I am turning 43 in exactly one week, and while it has taken me awhile, I feel free to live true. There is no greater gift… Cyber Hug, Annie

  • K

    So wise. I just read this and can relate it to my situation regarding a family member not approving of someone I am with. It’s extremely difficult but has pushed me to grow. Especially when that family member is my mother. Everyone has their own journeys but not to forget that we are all connected. It’s huge to not take offense at other people doing what they need to do and not make it about us.

    • Annie Burnside

      Hardest when it is those whom we desire approval from the most, and a mother makes the lesson one of the most steep. I hear ya loud and clear:) And yet, your GROW is Me Rather than Woe is Me perspective speaks volumes about who you are as a fully operational soul. Beautiful! xx Annie

  • MeredithShay

    “When you live for the approval of others they own you.” Oprah

    Thanks for this post! It was great. :)

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you, Meredith! I see you comment on TDL a lot and really appreciate you taking the time to let a blogger know that you enJOYed their piece. Much LOVE today and always, Annie

  • Denele

    Thank you for this!

    • Annie Burnside

      You are most welcome, Denele, and thank you for spending a few minutes of your precious time this morning to read and share here! Many Blessings, Annie

  • Martie

    Thank you SO MUCH for this article!! I really needed the confirmation today. (The Universe is so amazing–we always get exactly what we need exactly when we need it!) So happy I found you and your blog! :-)

    • Annie Burnside

      Well, Martie, thank you for reading, commenting, and offering such enthusiasm for my work towards me today. You made me smile, BIG:) Hope you take this divine wink from the Uni-Verse and run with it! Lots of LOVE, Annie

  • Mike Vecchio

    What truly spoke to me….
    ….another’s growth is actually, either consciously or subconsciously, felt as a threat due to unhealed imprints and wounds from their past.
    ….So, please, don’t expect your loved ones and close friends always to get what you do or even to fully respect it. They don’t need to. YOU need to. There are plenty of others who will cross paths with your offerings who are attracted to them. Let that be enough and become truly free…
    THAT was exactly Montressa’s dilemma. Now I see why you love that story so much… the point was to teach a person how to own themselves! It wasn’t about her father or her mother or her brother… or Tom… it was about who Montressa chose to be!!
    And, your guts is just amazing… it takes guts to do what you do… As I have said before… you are the BEST of the BEST of the BEST… and I mean it!!
    My status post “you’re born, you live and you die?” is the beginning of a series of posts that will bring those who chose it to a completely different view of the universe.

    • Annie Burnside

      Cannot wait to follow those posts, Mike, as I now they will be as spectacular as YOU! Thank you, Thank you, THANK you, for being one of the ones who sees me as I AM… LOVE ya! AB

  • Tracy Joy

    Love the message! Annie inspires me….

    • Annie Burnside

      Tracey JOY, thank you:):) Really appreciate you making the effort to post here! LOVE to you, my friend—Annie

  • Greg

    I am quite worried about what my family will think when they learn that I’ve embraced Buddhism. Most of them are either very conservative Christians or Catholics. Not looking forward to telling them for fear of rejection. I tell them that I go to ‘church’ Wednesday evenings when I go sit. Plus, my ex and her new ‘friend’ are quite conservative and divisive, and I’m worried that they would use this against me with my kids.

    What to do?

    • Jennifer King

      Greg, there is a reason you embraced Buddhism, and that reason is as valid as the reasons other people have embraced Christianity. You have managed to open your heart to the truth as you see it, despite being surrounded by (and presumably conditioned by) people who do not think outside the “box” they grew up in. I’m not saying they are wrong in their beliefs, just that yours are JUST as valid, and your right to embrace your truth JUST as inalienable as anyone else’s right to live life on their own terms. Be yourself, with love and compassion for all, and let your light shine! (There, isn’t there some biblical metaphor in there? haha) Love always shines through, and I believe kids are quite in tune with real love and compassion vs. rules and judgment. Being loving and “present” with your kids will break through any barriers other try to erect in the name of their beliefs. I wish you all the best in this journey. *hugs*

      • Annie Burnside

        BEAUTIFUL reply, Jennifer!!!!!! Thank you, and I couldn’t have answered better myself:) Annie

      • Greg

        Thank you Jennifer. I think what you said about ‘love always shines through’ is really important for me. I have seen an improvement in my ‘presence’ as a result of my new life direction. I will keep your thoughts in mind as I interact with them. I truly appreciate your kind and quick reply!

        • Jennifer King

          You are welcome. Your “presence” is what your children most want and need to feel seen, heard, and loved. Keep looking for support from those eager to give it. Like Annie said, you are not alone, and there is much love all around.

    • Annie Burnside

      I couldn’t agree more with Jennifer’s reply to you, dear Greg! True Freedom is being yourself unabashedly. You are not alone, ever. There is much LOVE for you here and beyond… A big, warm hug—Annie

  • TJ

    Thank you Annie! This was just what I needed today.

    • Annie Burnside

      YaY!!! Just LOVE hearing that, TJ:) EnJOY your day, Annie

  • Stefanie

    Ohhhh you’re wonderful. My parents and i have been fighting (3000 miles apart, mind you) over finances the past few days. I moved across the country to find myself and find my true purpose (which is not my current job). Mom thinks I need to stop “bettering myself” and just come home and accept what is. To live the life she did because she is happy (which I don’t even know if I believe that). Dad thinks I’m failing because I’ve put myself in a lot of debt making this move. It can be very easy to fall into their trap and to believe them and think I did make a mistake and think of how I could be debt-free if I hadn’t moved out here….

    And then I remember all I’ve learned and how I’ve grown in the past year.

    So thank you for this post. I will continue to remember they don’t have to accept my decisions or understand or even support them (something I’ve struggled with the most). But they still love me and I love them. :)

    • Annie Burnside

      Stefanie, your last line is really all that matters! Took me awhile to get there, too:) I wish you all the best on your true soul path. Good Vibes, girl! Annie

    • http://sophiathewriter.blogspot.com Sophia Chang

      It is SOOOO heartening to hear I’m not the only one! When surrounded by friends who go on and on about their supportive families, it’s easy to think that I must be the only one who doesn’t have the support of my parents. So hearing this renews my spirit and gives me the strength to keep forging ahead with my own soul’s work and desires. It definitely is a big and often lifelong struggle :) Glad we’re in it together

  • Jennifer King

    Annie, thank you for your wise words of encouragement, and for your example of courage and authenticity. I applaud you and wish you all the best on your journey. And I’m going to look for more of your writing! :)

    • Annie Burnside

      Jennifer, thank you, and I do hope to cross paths again! Here’s to a lot more Soul to Soul in our world:) Annie

  • woo

    Annie. How special that you found your space and are doing so with grace ( sounds like Dr. Seuss :). Reminds me that a former boyfriend negated my work as a coach, didn’t believe in it….at the time it was so hurtful and I thought the more explaining and convincing I did would change his perspective. I even used a coaching tool on him without him knowing. Ha! At any rate, this article is an excellent reminder to stand in your truth in an unshakable manner. Rather than use up precious energy trying to influence others beliefs. Well said. Thank you.

    • Annie Burnside

      Hi Woo:) Makes me wanna yell Woo-Hoo! Yes, I, too, have found that explaining and convincing doesn’t work as what’s to explain really about a journey through our own interior. No words ever quite do it justice. Thank you for sharing here. The more people who share their path to living TRUE, the better! xx Annie

  • Elizabeth Spevack

    “If I had not officially come out as a soul nurturer, a career that literally embraces all that I am in my heart and soul, then I would not be a fulfilled individual. Period.” Oh wow!!! I’ve been describing myself as a life coach or personal development coach just because I haven’t really figured out what else to call myself. When I read the words “soul nurturer” I got chills! And I so relate to your post. It’s really about letting go (somehow ;-) and over time) of that need for others to like us, approve of what we’re doing – and for them not to think that we don’t know what we’re doing. Thank you!

    • Annie Burnside

      Thanks, Elizabeth! Maybe soul nurturing will become a new profession:) Now THAT would make my year! Glad you are in it, too… The more the merrier in my book! Really appreciate the read and comment. Mucho LOVE, Annie

      • Elizabeth Spevack

        I’ve been thinking about the term and soul nurturer feels so good :-). “Life coach” just doesn’t sound the same… Maybe I’ll call myself something like that.

  • Carie Bean

    Annie, I so look forward yo your blogs. I really want to read your book. The title is what drew me to your blog the first time I read it. I’ve read some books by Eckhart Tolle , Deepak Chopra, and Neale Donald Walsh. I found super soul Sunday and from there TDL. I like that mastin is young and feel like i can relate more.TDL lead me to you. I’d often wondered if there were any women who were writing spiritual stuff. Ive never really went out and looked for it. Just kinda happened upon it. The main issue with me as a parent of four is knowing how to incorporate the spiritual side with them with out sounding koo koo.
    Loved today’s blog. It is a very hard thing to overcome. Letting go of what others think and making yourself happy. Im still working on it.

    • Annie Burnside

      Carie, thank you, and so glad that we have crossed paths. I agree that none of it is necessarily easy, but so worth the inner work that it can sometimes take to grow. And as far as the parenting, WOW, no one right way to do that job either, in my opinion:) I wrote the book to offer one possible way to approach it. Looking forward to hearing more from you! EnJOY week and see ya on FB:) xx Annie

  • Adwoa Jayne

    A really encouraging peace. Thank you xxx

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you, Adwoa! And I love interchanging piece and PEACE, too:) Mucho LOVE, Annie

  • http://www.pinchmeliving.com/ Bernadette @ PinchMeLiving.com

    Thanks for this post Annie, very useful. Totally triggered me to think about a conversation I had with my husband Aaron the other day – about how people close to us can seem to not care at all about what we’re doing, or even disapprove of what we’ve come to realise is our life’s work, or at the very least a truly heart-led path we’re on at present. Your message here is a useful reflection to remember that nothing and no one can validate who we are and what we have to offer – seeking validation in the external world never leads good places! Only our love for ourselves and our willingness to be true to our passions gives us joy.

    I’ve learnt one lesson myself, having been on the receiving end and admittedly having been on the flip side in the past as well… that we don’t have to love what people do, we don’t even have to like it or understand it, but if we love them, and we can see they’re happy, that is enough. The rest is irrelevant.

    My favourite line from your blog is “I’d much rather BE ME and DO ME than have someone like me”. This resonates strongly! Our motto is “Be who you are. Do what you love” We must sail our own course in this life! Much love and thanks to you for an awesome blog.

    Bernadette x

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you for this heartfelt response that mirrored much back to me. Really appreciate all that YOU are contributing to our world, as well, Bernadette. For me, the highest contribution that we can make is being filly ourselves. Soul to Soul, Annie

  • Sweetie

    I spent all of my life living for the approval of others and everytime life knocked me down; I would look around to see what others thought or felt about me. This message is powerful and it is not much I read that stays with me for a life time but this message truly will. I have already had a conversation about the very post with my Mom; this is something she has always told me but sometimes it takes to hear the same message from a different perspective to REALLY get it! Like you said Annie, IM DOING ME, and I am doing it for ME, who cares about the people who do not appreciate what I choose to do; I love to teach and everything is not about status, titles and money. Wow Annie , you are awesome I look forward to reading more from you.Thank you!

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you, Sweetie! Hearing that you are already using the blog to spark a conversation with your mom really touched me. My husband is a current teacher and myself a former one. So THRILLED that someone like you is in the field to model for our young what it looks like to BE YOU… Good Vibes! Annie

  • Melissa Pylsy

    Namaste <3

    • Annie Burnside

      And… Namaste to YOU, as well, Melissa!

  • Beth

    Loved this Annie.. thank you! I have had these lessons with my parents, siblings and ex-husband.. I now believe it’s not their job to like me (or what I do), it’s mine.. and my critics are creative cowards.. which is sad, but I get it because I used to be too (old patterns from childhood programming). I now have compassion and empathy for them all and see we are all on our own paths on the outside (the illusion/story) and ONE in spirit.. and I am so excited about my Spiritual path! God Bless

    • Annie Burnside

      I can feel your excitement and ONENESS is where it’s at, for sure!!!! xx

  • Ksenia

    This post is such a relief, thank you VERY much! I got so much criticism from my mother in the past that I simply stopped sharing, because I felt so vulnerable. But that’s bugging me too, because now it feels like I am doing what I love in secret, I am not showing my real self to my family and that’s just not right. Thank you again, I really needed that!

    • Annie

      Ksenia, it is your BIRTHRIGHT to be yourself! I am sending you HUGE good vibes to continue on YOUR true path. It’s the only way to be totally free… LOVE ya much! Annie

  • [email protected]

    Thank you for this post. I needed this. I am following my souls light, path that feels right. Selling my house and it does not make any sense, started a blog, cut 8 inches from my hair. All these things are not safe and extremely unconventional, not what everyone else would do in my situation. It all feels genuinely freeing and right to me. I send love and light to all who do not understand me, get me. The love I have for myself and my inner strength is amazing and it picks me up every time I fall. It also took me a long time to get here but I am here and I would not have it any other way. Thank you for having the courage to right this blog and being you. You have touched one life and have made a difference, ME :) Love and light, Pamela

    • Annie Burnside

      Pamela, WOW, I am so thankful for this offering from you! Look how many of us have stepped UP from this one post to encourage and support others to be fully themselves. YOU are BEAUTIFUL! Your soul is smiling and so is MINE:):):) Warmth and LOVE, Annie

  • http://BlissedOutBelle.com/ Shawna K: BlissedOutBelle.com

    Annie, I can definitely relate to you! For so long I expected the people closest to me to be my biggest supporters, but strangely enough my biggest supporters are random strangers. In the past I was always sought my families support and approval, and I think this is what held me back for some time. I was waiting on them to give me the green light, when all along I didn’t need their approval. Fortunately, I have been able to eliminate this belief system. The person I am today, is someone who moves forward, and take action without needing any validation whatsoever. At the end of the day, not everyone will understand or like what you do, but just as long as you’re happy and love what you do, that’s all that matters.

    • Annie Burnside

      Shawna, thanks so much for this beautiful share. You just helped many people have the courage to live true! Really appreciate you taking the time. Mucho LOVE, Annie