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The Challenge of Unsupportive Loved Ones: A Reflection on Prioritizing Brands Over Bonds, with a Pasifika Perspective

In life, we often find ourselves on a journey to pursue our dreams and goals, fueled by the desire to make a better life for ourselves and those we care about.

by Joey Nanai  I    6th November 2023


 However, it's a reality that no matter how well we do or how hard we try, there are friends and loved ones who just can't bring themselves to support us. What's intriguing is that these very individuals who can't find it in their hearts to back us up often spare no expense in supporting big-name brands. This paradox highlights an important aspect of human behavior, particularly within the Pasifika community, and raises questions about the dynamics of personal and financial priorities.

The Human Complexity of Support

The complexity of human relationships and the way individuals choose to support or not support each other is a subject worthy of exploration. Within the Pasifika community, the importance of familial bonds and connections is deeply ingrained in the culture. When we embark on a new venture or chase our dreams, we hope for the unwavering support of friends and loved ones, who are often seen as an extension of the family. However, the reality can be far more complicated. Even within the Pasifika culture, where familial ties are highly valued, support for personal aspirations can be elusive.

Supporting Big-Name Brands: The Allure of Familiarity

The Pasifika community, like any other, grapples with the dynamics of supporting friends and family in their endeavors. The appeal of big-name brands is universally understood, but within the Pasifika context, it's not just about brand loyalty; it's about a familiarity that goes beyond commercialism. Pasifika individuals might find comfort and nostalgia in these brands, often reminiscent of their homelands or cultural experiences.

On the other hand, supporting a friend's startup or creative project can be perceived as a risk, even within the tight-knit Pasifika community. The fear of financial loss or disappointment may deter friends and family from offering support, even though they genuinely care about your success and well-being.

Comparing Personal and Brand Loyalty in the Pasifika Context

The Pasifika culture places a strong emphasis on family and community, and personal loyalty is a cornerstone of these connections. While brands may elicit loyalty based on their products' quality, personal loyalty within the Pasifika community hinges on the depth of relationships and emotional connections. However, even within this framework, loved ones may worry about the success of a venture, making them hesitant to contribute financially.

Furthermore, the Pasifika community is not immune to external influences. Like everyone else, they are constantly exposed to advertisements and societal pressures that promote well-known brands. These influences can lead individuals to prioritize brands over supporting the personal endeavors of friends and family.

Navigating the Challenge with a Pasifika Perspective

Dealing with unsupportive loved ones within the Pasifika community requires a unique approach:

1. Emphasize the communal aspect: Remind friends and family of the importance of community and supporting each other within the Pasifika culture.

2. Share your passion: Communicate the depth of your commitment and passion for your aspirations, which can help others understand the significance of your goals.

3. Seek like-minded supporters within the community: Connect with individuals who share your Pasifika heritage and may be more likely to understand and support your journey.

4. Empathize with their perspective: Recognize that your loved ones' reservations may stem from a place of genuine concern and desire to protect you from potential hardships.

5. Prove your dedication: As you work toward your goals, demonstrate your unwavering commitment and hard work to gain the trust and support of your community.

A Personal Reflection

My own experience in a more than two-decade-long career in sales has brought a unique perspective to this challenge. I've reached out to friends and loved ones numerous times, passionately sharing the products and services I offered, with the hope that the people who know me best would be there to support me. However, it often left me disheartened as most of them simply read my messages or offered me empty words of encouragement. What made this experience even more perplexing is that many of these same friends and family members were eager to seek the same level of support when it came to their own ventures.

In one instance, I reached out to a close friend who had always emphasized the importance of our tight-knit Pasifika community. I believed my sales career, which aimed to provide quality products and services to our community, would resonate with him. However, I received a mere acknowledgment of my message, and when I inquired about his thoughts or potential support, he simply responded with vague excuses about his busy schedule. It was disheartening to witness his reluctance to help me, especially considering that I had always supported his various initiatives over the years.

This experience taught me that, while it's natural to expect unwavering support from loved ones, it's essential to be understanding of their perspective. The fear of financial risk or skepticism about the success of a venture might lead them to offer excuses or lip service instead of genuine support.

Over the years, I've continued to persevere in my sales career, focusing on building relationships within the Pasifika community and seeking like-minded supporters who understand the importance of supporting one another's endeavors. I've come to realize that while some friends and family members may not be as supportive as I hoped, there are others who genuinely appreciate and value the quality products and services I provide.

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The challenge of facing unsupportive loved ones while witnessing their dedication to big-name brands is a conundrum many encounters, including within the Pasifika community. This paradox reflects the complexity of human relationships, the allure of familiarity, and the influence of societal pressures. It's essential to address this challenge with empathy and a cultural understanding of the Pasifika community's unique dynamics. Remember that, in the end, the pursuit of your dreams is a personal journey, but by emphasizing the importance of family and community, you can foster a supportive environment that embraces personal aspirations.

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