For as long as I can remember, I’ve been very concerned about whether other people “like” me or not.
I think this began in elementary school, where we were suddenly (and publicly) able to showcase who we wanted to associate ourselves with. And ultimately, who we didn’t want to associate ourselves with.
I started to get a complex about if people “liked me” or not.
If someone said or did something that wasn’t what I expected, I would automatically default to “s/he probably doesn’t like me, that’s why” in order to explain the behaviour.
It followed me into public speaking, where I worried about what I might say (or not say) that would offend someone else, and therefore affect whether I was “likeable” or not. And so I would censor my content.
It’s haunted me as I stepped into adulthood, where I would lose sleep thinking about the possibility that somebody I worked with or managed didn’t “like me”.
It has often contributed to my writing and online presence, creating road blocks about specific topics, and I would regularly find myself again being censored and less candid for fear of saying something unpopular. Cue: disliking.
And now, as if I didn’t already have an issue with the “likeness” factor, our world is heavily revolving around an online environment where people get sucked into seeking value, self worth, and gratification through the amount of “likes” we get on social media.
(And I thought I was making progress. Thanks a lot, instagram. *eye roll*)
I am in a constant state of attempting to grow and evolve mentally, and while I still have some work to do with my fear that people won’t like me, I have made a huge realization.
It’s really groundbreaking.
I’m preeetty sure I’m the first person on earth who has ever determined this, and then felt FREE AS A BIRD once they accepted it.
Not everybody is going to like me.
They just aren’t.
There may not even be a reason.
I may not have said something offensive; I may not have an annoying voice; I may not have a poor sense of humour… they just. don’t. like. me.
And that’s okay.
I don’t like vanilla ice cream. (Do you? Probably, right?)
I don’t like beer.
Vanilla ice cream and beer have never slighted me. Ever. They’re actually quite popular with probably 99% of the world. Like, they for sure sit at the cool table.
But I just don’t like them. I don’t even have a reason.
We all have different, internal and inherent likes and dislikes, and that can apply to people, too.
Sometimes, someone reminds you (maybe even just visually) of an ex-partner or friend. If there are some old wounds there, it won’t matter what that person does or says, you may already decide, by association – based on absolutely nothing else – that you aren’t interested and you don’t like them. Fair enough.
Sometimes, you don’t have any similar interests, or anything in common at all. That’s okay.
Sometimes, you have no reason. And you don’t need one.
I don’t have a reason for not liking vanilla ice cream. It tastes fine, I guess. If someone served it at their dinner party as dessert, I would eat it. I’m not allergic to it, I didn’t have a bad experience with it… I just don’t like it. Why bother eating it if it’s just… meh?
And sometimes, just like things, there are people that don’t serve you.
I’ve finally realized, that sometimes as a person, I may not mesh with another human.
And that’s OKAY.
I don’t know why it’s taken me 30 years to realize this. But it’s totally freeing.
You won’t serve everybody you meet. You won’t have opinions that mesh with everyone. That’s why this world is so amazing and unique.
Find your people, and you won’t need to question whether they like you or not. You’ll know.
There’s an ice cream flavour for everyone. Just be yourself. Even if you’re vanilla flavour.
Many people like it, just the way it is.
If you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them. Leave me a comment, or send me an email.