What’s SO BAD about wanting people to like you?

Nothing, inherently. It’s nice to want to get along and it’s normal to prefer being adored over disliked, of course.

The problem is when you start giving fucks in order to get someone to like you: Agreeing when you actually don’t, censoring yourself beyond politeness, doing things you’d really rather not, allowing attitudes towards you that are less than respectful, and all kinds of other ways we diminish ourselves when we make our objective to “be liked.”

Because when that’s your MO, there’s no choice than to be less of yourself. Giving fucks in that way makes a dull wash out of the glory that you are when you’re behaving with more inner-direction, when you’re really being yourself.

This realization terrified me when I first had it. I thought of myself as being a good friend, well-liked, caring, friendly, fun––I was only considering myself in relation to others. This led to trouble when I was alone. Over analyzing my relationships. Considering others’ perspectives on things like my art, or even what kind of music I was listening to, ie “I’d be so embarrassed if xxx knew how much I love this.”

It was like I was never alone, not really, despite larger-than-normal amounts of time spent alone. Who was I even living my life for?

It was such an important realization: My life should be about me.

It was like I was spending all of my energy on being the best co-star in everyone else’s movie. Not that I didn’t pursue my own passions and whatnot––but “they” (those I’d prefer like me) were intrinsically involved in my decisions, even ones that had nothing to do with them. Just little blips of thought that seemed like nothing, but as a mindfulness-obsessed sort I quickly realized that they added up to living on the periphery of my own life.

Watch your mind and see if you do this. (You do. We all do.) And try to drop it. To just do what you think is best. What you want to do. This will help loads in the next step, staying inner-directed when you’re with others. Fighting the urge to blend in. Saying what you think, what you really think. (Don’t be a dick or anything… Or maybe do, I don’t know what’s best for you.) Start paying attention to your feels when you’re around others, and right afterward.

It’s important to feel good.

I feel like that’s almost a controversial thing to say, I can hear the cries of, “but selfish!” It’s not selfish to ensure your well-being, not at all. In fact, making sure you’re feeling centered is responsible. Being where you want to be and doing the things you want to do is responsible. The world needs you at your best.

You’ll probably find that even when you’re acting from a truly inner-directed place you’re still a positive force in others’ lives. Perhaps not in the same ways. And perhaps with a totally different flavor: martyrdom vs weeeeeeee.

And the funny thing is that when you get really good at this inner-direction thing, most folks will indeed like you. It’s nice to be around people who are at peace with who they are, comforting even. They lack neediness and emanate confidence. They offer unique perspectives and speak their truth.

But others will still think you suck. C’est la vie.

make-sure-youre-not-saying-no-to-yourself-paolo-coehlo

 

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