One of the common fears that many of us share is the fear of not being liked. It is often irrational, not based on any signs/factors, or sometimes it is coming from one bad experience that we had few years or even decades ago. Maybe you were not liked by peers during your childhood, and now you are projecting the same expectations/fears to your coworkers, or maybe this example leads you to avoid people. However, there are a lot of ways to deal with it!
How to Deal
- #1: Repeat after me: STOP.CARING! Other people’s opinions are their problems. Let’s assume worst case scenario: that a person or a group of people actually truly do not like you. It is often not about you, it is about them. It has to do with THEIR experiences, THEIR interpretation of you and your personality, THEIR problems. Maybe you remind them of someone from THEIR childhood who made fun of them – you can never tell for sure. What you CAN do is to stop making yourself measurable and focus on making your life better and more enjoyable. Trust me – opinions of other people do not fit into the plans, goals or tasks you can do to improve your life. Simply keep going! Also, when you will stop caring you will feel liberated. You will be the only person in charge of your life and only your opinion will matter. Are you feeling better yet?
- #2: Question your intentions. Why is it important for you to be liked? What are YOU getting out of it? Is it contextual (e.g. depends on a specific context like being on a date, meeting friends of your significant other or during the interview) or do you expect everyone you interact with to like you and get upset when you do not? Why are you trying to seek approval of others and why is it more important than your own opinion of yourself? Once you start reflecting you may find answers to this one, often tied to your experiences in the past.
- #3: You are not alone. What it also mean, is that others struggle with trying to be liked just as much as you do. Not many people are 100% confident, at all times, at every context with everyone. Even celebrities have their weak moments, they also doubt themselves and I am sure they were not born confident and liked by everyone since their childhood. Be realistic.
- #4: Accept that it is not possible for everyone to like you, just like it is not possible for you to like every single person you meet or interact with. There is nothing wrong with it, that’s the way life is. Every single person has their unique personality and unless everyone had exactly the same zodiac sign everyone would get along. Actually, scratch that, as an Aries I can tell you I do not like other Aries just because they remind me of myself – I usually compete with them because we are so similar.
- #5: Know your Awesomeness. What is it that makes you unique? Did you overcome a struggle or important milestone/experience that not many people do? Do you have a unique skill? How about all your achievements? Embrace your own personality, know what makes you amazing and only focus on your own positive thoughts about yourself. You can also create a box/file/folder/secret stash of things that remind you of your awesomeness – from your old diaries, resumes, vision boards with items that came true to your certificates, letters from admirers – you name it!
- #6: Master the art of ‘so what’. Someone does not like you – so what? They think you are not good enough – so what? What will change in your life if they have this opinion? The Earth will continue spinning, the seasons will continue changing, the life will not stop just because someone has some opinion. Also, people change and so their opinions. There are many stories how enemies become friends – it is in your power to turn things around.
- #7: Put yourself first. Put your life first. Put your ambitions, dreams, personality first. Do not let anyone distract you or make you doubt yourself or your goals. Your job is to make yourself happy (in socially-acceptable and law-abiding ways). Think about people-pleasers – do you think pleasing others makes them truly happy? I do not know about you but when I see one, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘low self-esteem’. Do not be like that! You can do better. Your opinion of yourself should not be based on other people’s opinions of you. Also, remember: the moment you start caring about what others think and live your life – that’s when you become attractive and interesting to others.