“Not everyone likes you.” — These words cut to my core.
For most of my life, I’ve wanted people to like me. As a result, I’ve been a people pleaser for as long as I can remember. But, no matter how hard I tried, not everyone liked me.
Why don’t people like me?
The struggle is real! Unfortunately, I have had to come face-to-face with this very unsettling fact. Not everyone likes me. And, that is a painful reality to accept.
But, is it actually unfortunate? I guess it depends on how you look at it.
Not everyone likes me.
I have been a people-pleaser for most of my life. Ok, pretty much my whole life. And, being that I’m in my mid-thirties, you can say I have some expert-level people pleasing skills.
Growing up, I think my people pleasing was a result of wanting to make people happy. But, that often meant my happiness was absent.
While I tried to make everyone around me happy, I ended up suffering…
For too long.
Do what makes you happy
Over the past few years, I have worked hard to find my happy place. One recurring theme in this process has been – Do what makes YOU happy.
To be clear, this means do what makes me happy, and not the people around me. So, for you, this would mean do what you makes you happy, and not the people around you.
While this is advice that people throw around pretty regularly, it also means this isn’t really a groundbreaking adulting skill or life hack.
The downfall of this info is it can be hard to take seriously, implement into everyday life, AND follow through with it. Especially if you grew up a people-pleaser like me! <— I’m fighting against nearly three decades of conditioning here!
If you are still reading to this point, I think I might be preaching to the choir on this one. So, I probably don’t have to elaborate too much more about my (former?) people pleasing ways. You get the idea.
Turning a People Pleasing corner
In the last few months, I have started re-evaluating the relationships around me. To do so, I’ve asked things like:
- Do the relationships I have serve me well? As well as the other person?
- Are these positive, symbiotic relationships? Or are they parasitic?
- Do these relationships energize me? Or, does the relationship cause me to feel drained?
You can say there has been a tremendous amount of thinking, reflecting, and evaluating in the last few months. The intriguing part, I don’t think I was forcing myself to do this. It, kinda, just happened that way.
Recognizing How Others Make you Feel
A great way to change your people pleasing tendencies so they don’t harm you, look to the way you feel around others. Some examples include noticing thoughts, feelings, and emotions before meeting up with someone.
Reflecting on the way you feel after spending time with them is important too. Were you excited to hang out with them? Did you leave your time together with a smile on your face? Were you feeling refreshed? Or, did the interaction leave you feeling unhappy.
As you reflect on how you feel in the presence of other, you will likely begin to see a pattern.
Pro-tip: The data you collect may not be exactly what you want it to be… but, you have to pay attention even if you don’t like the results.
As I noticed how others made me feeling before/during hanging out together, I started to notice some trends. First, the good news: Some people really do like me. And, those people just so happen to be the people to make me feel amazing. I found myself excited to hang out with them. And, our time spent together made me feel energized.
The bad news: Some people make me feel like sh*t. Or, maybe they made me feel as if I was somehow ‘less than.’ In a few circumstances, people made me feel as though I needed to be someone else to be appreciated.
In the bad news category, there was a common theme. In these relationships, I felt as though the REAL ME – the authentic version of myself – was not good enough. When in the presence of these people, I felt as though I would have to be watch what I said and did… basically, it felt as if I was constantly walking on eggshells.
Long story short, when I hung out with the people that made me feel crappy, a lot of those negative feelings were the result of not feeling accepted for being myself. And, I did not like the way that made me feel!
There is an ah-ha moment
When pretending to be someone you are not, it creates conflict within yourself. In my world, I want nothing more than to be accepted for my true-self – the way I am, no contingencies, no pretending, no faking.
My deepest desire is to be my authentic self as much as possible (Side note: This is why I am pouring my heart out to you right now! Also because I want to break the stereotype of social media that everything has to be perfect rainbows and kittens all the time).
The Internal Struggle of a People Pleaser
That conflict is something like this:
Be you, show your true and authentic self.
The flip side, make sure people like you (hello, people-pleaser here!!), so only do or say things that are welcomed by the group.
When I am trying to say is this – I am unsettled and unhappy when I want to show my true self, BUT I feel as though conforming to others’ expectations is necessary to be accepted. This way they are happy…. but I am not. Yea, I am putting their needs in front of my own here.
So, although I want to be me, I feel as though I should fit the version of me that they want. This is where the people-pleaser comes into the picture. At times, this means I do things I wouldn’t usually do. Or, perhaps I act in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable to me, but I do it because I want to make others happy.
I am exhausted just thinking about it.
Bringing all the pieces together.
All that should matter is that I like me. And, I am comfortable with myself. You can summarize this – All that should matter is that I am my authentic self.
For you, this means the only thing that should matter to you is that you like yourself. And, you are comfortable with yourself.
If being our true, authentic self is not good enough for someone, we cannot change their opinion. If we act a certain way to make them happy or to try and get them to like us, we are the ones who suffers.
This also means, if being the real you is not good enough for another person, it is time to re-evaluate the relationship. And, that may mean by that — take a step back or remove yourself from the situation altogether. Give yourself the space necessary to work through your thoughts and feelings.
Here’s the hard part.
There are times you’d like to remove yourself from the relationship. That desire may be profound. But, for reasons out of your control (family, work, extracurricular activities, etc…) you must remain in the situation.
If that is the case, you can still take a step back. Figure out what it is that you can do differently to make yourself comfortable and happy. And, work from there. Most importantly, make sure you operate under the desire to stay true to yourself. That should be in a manner to make you happy.
Remember, this is a learning process. You will need to give yourself some grace and exercise self-compassion as it will take time. But, in the long run, you will be a much happier person for it. Seriously.
The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned
When I do something that upsets someone else while I am being my true, authentic self, I cannot be regretful, remorseful, or feel bad.
This is often easier said than done. But, I am working on reminding myself of this important point. Remember – Do not apologize to others for being yourself.
I hope after reading this, you have some interesting points to ponder. More importantly, I hope this helps you to overcome your own fears about people not liking you. Or, this helps you to ditch some of those self-destructive people-pleasing tendencies so you can find peace and happiness within yourself.
Questions for You
I’m curious. Have you felt this way before? Is this something you have experienced? If so, how did you handle the situation?
I’d love for you to answer these questions, as I am still very much in this learning process here. And it takes some time to accept that my happiness is more important than others. Just as your happiness is more important to you than other peoples’ happiness. Additionally, not everyone is going to like us and that is totally fine!
One last reminder, which popped up on my Facebook this morning! There’s the Universe helping out again!
The people that leave are just showing you the importance of those who choose to stay.Random Facebook post — i forgot to write down the source
And, that, my friends is why it shouldn’t matter if everyone likes you. The ones who stick with you are the ones who accept you and they are the ones that really matter.