I don’t like you.
Four words we hate to hear. For some reason, we all like to be liked. No revelation there. It’s how we’re wired. We hate it when people don’t like us – even people we don’t really know. Some of us will do almost anything to be liked. We love to please, even at the expense of our own happiness, values, beliefs and standards. We compromise ourselves a hundred ways and turn ourselves inside-out trying to make others like us, but in that approval-seeking process we often forget who we are and wind up being disliked by the one person whose opinion should matter the most; us.
Newsflash 1: Some people aren’t gonna like you.
Newsflash 2: That’s okay.
That’s right – life ain’t fair and even though you may very well be a fantastic human being, some people will find a reason to dislike you no matter what you do or how fabulous you are. Chances are it’s more about their issues than anything you have or haven’t done. There are people who don’t like me who have never actually met me or had a conversation with me. That’s fine with me. I won’t invest emotional energy into things I can’t change. I will endeavour to be the best Craig Harper I can be and if my best still generates critics and people who find reason to dislike me (which it will), that’s okay. The only person I can change is me, so I’ll focus on improving, educating and developing myself rather than trying to create a fan club or convince people to like me.
While it’s normal and very human to have the desire to be needed, liked, loved and important to others, it’s also crucial for our development to get clear about who we are and what we stand for, and to live a life consistent with those values – to like ourselves. Otherwise we simply become frustrated People Pleasers.
Newsflash 3: It’s okay to disagree with people. Even people you like and respect.
Newsflash 4: Some people’s overwhelming need to be liked is the very thing that makes them hard to like (there’s some irony for you).
Newsflash 5: For many people, their need to be liked is actually a significant barrier to their personal and professional growth.
When it comes to this issue, you might want to ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I speak the truth (while still exercising care, wisdom and understanding) even if it’s not popular to do so?
2. Do I live a life which is consistent with my core values?
3. Do I operate with integrity?
4. Do I believe that my motives are good?
5. Is it my goal to be a positive influence in the lives of others?
6. Am I happy to disagree with people I like?
7. Do I (really) like me?
If you answered yes to all of the above then you’re doing pretty well. If there were more crosses than ticks then you may want to make a few changes. Soon. Some short-term pain for some long-term gain.
If you really want to be liked, then stop trying to be liked and start being you.