Thought I’d lead off 2018 with an optimistic headline.
You are not for everyone. Sounds negative, but reality sometimes feels like that.
When I first got into my career, I never really gave the opinions of others much thought. Not to say I didn’t care. The opposite, in fact. I cared a lot. But I hadn’t really considered how quickly I’d find out that people didn’t like me. And people really didn’t like me. A few, anyway.
My caring about how others perceive me, or feel about me, is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I’m cautious and concerned for people. Genuinely. I want to make people happy. Laugh. I want to remember birthdays. I want to go for dinner to catch up. I want to be humble. And kind. I want to be someone who makes an effort to not be offensive. I want to be likable.
On the other hand, if people don’t like me, it’s all consuming. This is the curse. What did I do wrong? How can I make it better? What did I say? What did I do? How did my mouth get me into trouble this time? And how long will Istew over this? (Generally, the answer is until someone new doesn’t like me.)
But here’s why this blog is relevant today. Day 1 of 365. January 1st, 2018.
It’s relevant because this year, I’ve resolved to make a real, genuine effort to accept when people simply just don’t like me.
Because the other danger of working hard to make people like you, is that you lose sight of yourself. You start shedding your true colours to chameleon to their community. You start to sacrifice your principles, your values on the altars of simply being liked. And when it doesn’t work out – because it won’t work out, it can’t – you’re giving away free rent in your head to someone who, gasp, doesn’t like you anyway. And you know what else? They’re not thinking about you, either.
These are tough, unlikable truths.
But what is likable? Knowing that there is a mess of people out there who do like you. Who do care about you. Who allow you to be who you are freely and without reservation. Your weirdness aligns with theirs. And you don’t have to work on making them like you. They just do. That’s likable.
For me, I want those who tune in to my show to have a great time. Laugh with me. Joke with me. And for those off the air – my partner, my kids, my family, my friends – I want to be present for them; not locked away worrying about who I couldn’t collect in my sphere of friendships. Or who I’d had previously thought were friends. Or could be friends. Or could simply find me likable.
Not everyone will like you. You are not for everyone. But for some, you’re everything. Resolve to remember that. 💋