Without overthinking it, answer this question: Is there anyone in your life that you don’t like?
I don’t mean those people who you’ve been in fights with — a coworker that wronged you, a relationship gone sour, or a friendship that ended on an awkward note that you never bothered to go back and fix. Just ordinary people in your life that you don’t have a truly significant reason to dislike. Other people like them, they’re not mean or awful or offensive… you just kind of don’t like them as a person. Unless you’re superhuman, you probably don’t have to reach too far to get someone in mind.
The term “people pleaser” exists for a reason – we all want to have relationships. Part of forming a relationships is doing things to make others happy. And some take it a step further by placing their self-worth in the opinions of others, driven by a need to make others happy so they, in turn, can feel good about themselves. I don’t consider myself a people pleaser anymore, but I used to be. It used to keep me up at night wondering if I had offended anyone during the day. I would do nice things to “make up” for any unknown offenses in hopes that I could repair a relationship that wasn’t even tarnished. If someone was upset with me, it was like emotional torture. And the idea of failing someone was paralyzing.
Without getting into too much detail (hey, its the internet.), I found myself somewhat recently in a situation where I had to work with someone that… well, we weren’t destined for BFF-land. As we worked together, it drove me crazy trying to figure out why we weren’t friends. I put in time and effort trying to make her happy. I watched for signs to see if I was making any progress. I replayed conversations in my head. I dreaded getting e-mails from this person, expecting each one to reveal how much she didn’t like me.
Then I had a realization – I didn’t like her. I was spending so much emotional energy on getting a person to like me that I didn’t even like. This led to a revelation that has set me free from people pleasing: I don’t like everyone, so why have I wrapped my self-worth in the idea that everyone must like me?
Don’t get me wrong. Its not that I now feel I have free-license to turn into a troll. But in realizing that, just like failure, people not liking me as a person is inevitable, I’ve extracted my self-worth from being dependent on the opinions of others. Remember that person you thought of in the beginning of the post? They’ve never been a troll to you, its just… you two are not destined for friendship. You don’t click. Thats okay, right? That person shouldn’t base their self-worth on that fact, right? They shouldn’t stay up all night wondering how to change things, right?
You don’t like everyone, so why spend your life trying to get everyone to like you?