The Human Condition: Ridding Ourselves of Our Need to Be Liked

One of the most freeing things we can learn in our lives is that it is okay to not be liked by everyone.  When we start realizing that not everyone is going to like us and accept that then we can stop trying so hard to get everyone to like us.  We don’t have to spend our time trying to make everyone like us, because it is inevitably not going to work, so therefore we have more time to spend with those people that really do like us.

One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don’t like everyone, everyone doesn’t like us, and that’s okay. Of course the “that’s okay” part is the liberating element; not liking everyone is good news, but knowing they may not like us is a little spirit-deflating until we get through to the that’s okay part.

The fact is, quite simply, that some people are not going to like me. They may think I’m too loud, too brash, too arrogant, too carefree, too positive, too assertive, too something. Or not enough of something else. Or they may not like my face.

What’s freeing about this is that when we realize not everyone is going to like us, we can stop trying to “make” anyone like us.

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You’ve probably done this. I know I have. I can walk into a room, and let’s say there are ten people in the room. Seven of those people really like me. Two of them don’t really care one way or another. They’re otherwise engaged, or just indifferent to me. But one person there obviously hates me.

This is not someone I know who has always disliked me, or has some good reason to dislike me. This is along the lines of “not liking my face.” This person doesn’t have any real reason for not liking me. Again, maybe my voice is too loud. Maybe it’s my tie that’s too loud. Whatever the cause, this person is not in line to be in my fan club.

And to tell you the truth, I’m not in line to be in his fan club, either. I don’t like his face as much as he doesn’t like mine. I’m sorry, but being disliked on site does that to my attitude.

Being disliked on site also makes me work extremely hard to be liked by that person. I will ignore seven people who really like me. I will abandon my spouse or best friend for the entire party. I will spend all my time trying to make this one person like me, just because they don’t.

At least, I’ve been known to do that. These days I’m finding a lot of freedom in the idea that I don’t have to be liked by everyone. I’m learning that not only do I detest some people for no reason I can name, some people feel the same about me.

That is quite literally their loss, because if they looked past whatever they’re seeing, they might like me, and I might like them. If that happened, we might become best friends.

But it’s not likely to happen, and I don’t have to spend my time trying to make it happen. If it happens, it happens, and that would be fine.

Meanwhile, I have those seven out of ten people who like me a lot, and it takes a lot of time just to enjoy their company, let alone making new people change their opinions.

So not everyone likes me. I can live with that.

To learn to live with not being liked by everyone:

  • Remember that you don’t like everyone, either.
  • Reflect on who likes you, and why.
  • When you feel someone doesn’t like you, give them space and time, but don’t actively try to change their mind.

NEWSFLASH: I’ve added another chapter to my life by joining C.A.S.T. Recovery, a Los Angeles based national outpatient drug rehab program which specializes in designing highly individualized recovery plans with appropriate professionals to support a client’s health, accountability, and success.

Thanks to FitBuff.com for including this post in the Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog Carnival, to Where We Relax for featuring this in the Carnival of Healing, and to Empowered Soul Blog for including this in the Carnival of Truth.

14 Comments on “The Human Condition: Ridding Ourselves of Our Need to Be Liked”

  • The flip-side being that It doesn’t matter whether to you whether others like you either. Neither should effect your sense of self, because YOU should already like yourself.

  • Absolutely.

  • Great article! I think the next progression would be then to not even take notice of whether people like us or not … I think that would bring even more freedom.

    Blessings,
    Andrea

  • Andrea,

    Absolutely. That’s pure empowerment. When we let go of that need to know, we attract the people that we need into our lives.

    David

  • [...] B. Bohl presents The Human Condition: Ridding Ourselves of Our Need to Be Liked posted at Slow Down Fast Today!, saying, "One of the most freeing things we learn in life is [...]

  • good post. i’ve thought about this topic a lot on the last year, starting off with an experience similar to the one you described: we were giving a presentation to about 30 people or se, it went over VERY well – and i couldn’t get that one person out of my mind who obviously didn’t like us at all (and, same as for you, who i didn’t find particularly likeable myself).

    understanding intellectually that i don’t need to be liked has always been easy. getting it through to my little inner 8-year-old is a bit of a different story :) just goes to show that us therapists deal with the same issues as everyone else :)

    i totally agree with andrea that not even paying attention to who likes whom – that’s real freedom.

  • Isabella,

    I always need to examine my motives and my desire to be a ‘people pleaser.’ Sometimes I am far too influenced what other people think of me. This often causes me to be something I am not.

    Davdi

  • [...] Ridding Ourselves of Our Need to Be Liked [...]

  • Hi, thank you for your participation in the carnival of healing at Where we Relax here is a copy of this weeks carnival
    http://www.we-relax.com/random-thoughts/blog-reviews/carnival-of-healing-submissions-115.htm

  • When we really like ourselves, it doesn’t matter who else likes us. Also, when we like ourselves, we won’t attract as many people who don’t like us into our experience. I have an article called, What Other People Think About You Is None Of Your Business.

  • Patricia,

    Thank you for sharing.

    David

  • [...] B. Bohl presents his thoughts on being liked and disliked in The Human Condition: Ridding Ourselves of Our Need to Be Liked posted at Slow Down Fast [...]

  • It is not that I want to be liked and that I do not appreciate those who love me…it is just I don’t know “WHY!” they don’t like me.

  • I agree with Isabella. To intellectually say to myself that it doesn’t matter if others like me or not is one thing, and then to hear or THINK that someone else doesn’t like me, that triggers a whole different FEELING. I all of a sudden act differently around the person I THINK doesn’t like me, or worse yet, let it affect my relationships with people that DO like me.

    I must let go of the NEED to be liked, and understand that the only need to be liked comes from within. I.e., that I must like and love myself first, and then everything else will follow NATURALLY. Being liked should be a natural process; I shouldn’t have to work so hard at it. To truly accept not being like by others is the most freeing experience of all. That I am still alright, without someone else’s liking me. To LET GO of this PERCEIVED need.

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