"Whenever we improve or refine one of our habits or behaviors, we may find that friends, colleagues, lived ones, and peers take notice and comments or opinions. When one part of a system changes, it creates a pressure for another part to change, so it's natural for others to react to our changes.
More concretely, let's say Joe and Sally, a married couple, have both gotten out of shape from too much eating and too little exercise. Then let's say one of them decides to start a regular exercise routine and to eat less. Do you think the other spouse is going to cheer the first on and follow this good example? Perhaps, because a change in one person does create an innate pressure for the other to change as well. But the person, 'left behind' may sometimes engage in undermining behavior- expressing a wish, conscious or not, for the partner to go back to being the old Sally or Joe.
We humans constantly compare ourselves with, and even compete with, others. It isn't necessarily the most ideal or mature tendency, but it's a common one...
People feel more comfortable around those who make them feel good about themselves, and our discipline may cause others to reflect on their own habits. So if we take a higher path, or just a different one, those who remain in place may feel less comfortable around us- our smoking or drinking buddies may even discourage our efforts to stop.
Walking a different path, no longer fitting in, can be a test of character. It may entail finding new friends who share our values. We have to deal with the fear that our changes in behavior or lifestyle may distance us from our spouses, partners, or friends. When moving into new and unfamiliar territory, explorers typically face the fear of separation, being cut off from the group. At times like these, we need to remember that we're not all here to fit in; some of us are here to lead.
If we're belittled by others who may feel threatened by a change we're making, we can ask ourselves, 'Am I going to worship the god of opinion or listen to the God of my heart? Will I let others intimidate me into being more like them? Is fitting in such a high virtue? Or will I lead by example and give them the space to make their own choices as well?" -From, "Wisdom Of The Peaceful Warrior" By: Dan Millman