When I talk about saving up for an RV and living in it full-time, I often hear, “Wow, that sounds cool! I wish I was brave enough to do that.” Every now and then, however, I get: “Hmmm, I don’t know. Are you sure you want to do that? Have you thought about [insert crazy unrealistic scenario here]?”
This doesn’t apply to my close friends who offer advice because they want to support my path to full-time RVing. I’m talking about the “you oughta” folks—people whose passion is giving unwanted advice. Most of them mean well, but paying too much attention to “you oughta” folks can wear down your confidence. It can make you feel like you should live up to others’ expectations instead of follow your true path.
That’s why I’ve adopted four strategies to reduce the impact of the “you oughta” folks. If you want to get people to stop telling you what to do, then consider some of these strategies.
Stop seeking approval.
It’s NOT your job to seek approval from others. This took me decades to learn. When you’re more concerned about others’ approval, it can make you feel incomplete and broken, but you’re not. Like most rational people, you’re probably more than capable of knowing what’s best for you. If you can free yourself from the need for others’ approval, you’ll focus on makes you happy, not what makes others a bit more comfortable.
Don’t cast your pearls before swine.
Everyone, please open your Bibles to Matthew 7:6: “Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” To me, this means not to reveal something special to people who won’t appreciate it. On the one hand, it’s good to consider advice from a few people you trust to have your back. On the other hand, think twice about sharing your dream with people who will just bring you down.
When I share my full-time RV dream, I talk about it with confidence. In the past, I used to sound like, “Well, you know, it might seem silly, but here’s what I’m kinda thinking of doing . . .” This made me sound hesitant and doubtful, which is an open invitation for the “you oughta” folks to weigh in. Instead, I say something like, “Oh, thanks for asking! I’ve been dying to tell you. I’m saving up for an RV so I can live where I want and experience true freedom. I couldn’t be more excited!”
Catch and release.
The occasional discouraging words can be deflating. As difficult as it is, I try not to get defensive. Instead, I just catch the comment, and then release it. For example, suppose a well-meaning “you oughta” friend tells me, “Well, actually, you’re not going to be safe doing the RV thing. You’d be a woman traveling alone who’s just asking to be a target.” Here’s how I might respond:
- Take a breath and smile.
- “Duly noted. Thanks for being so concerned about my safety.”
- Or . . .
- “Thank you for not wanting me to cross paths with a serial axe murderer.”
- Smile again.
- “Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask . . . have you seen that Joker movie yet? What did you think?”
- Or . . .
- “Hey, I just heard a joke. How does a mansplainer get his water? . . A well, actually . . . Get it? Well? Actually? Ha!”
You’re not going to change any minds if you get defensive or angry. Just take a breath, smile, and respond politely, or with humor, if you want. Again, I recommend smiling. It’ll make you feel better.
How do you handle it when someone discourages you or tries to tell you what you should do? I’d like to hear your ideas, so please leave a comment.