Most of us want to be liked, right? It’s human nature, isn’t it, to crave acceptance, to want to be part of a tribe? But worrying about whether people like you can be debilitating. And it’s downright unhealthy if you let your desire to be liked trump your integrity.
My first job out of college, my supervisor (who was a deeply troubled woman) did not like me. In fact, she hated me, and I came to hate her. It was a terrible situation (that I, in my immaturity, probably made worse), but I think one of the things that made it so bad for me at that time is that I wasn’t used to people not liking me. I don’t mean that I had been the most popular person around, or that I had huge numbers of friends, but I was used to people thinking I was a nice person. I did not know how to handle not being liked.
Well, that was almost 26 years ago (ACK!) and there have been a few people who disliked me in the intervening years. Probably more than a few. But I made a statement a few years ago that I will stand by today: “I don’t care who likes me as long as *I* like me.”
That is a bold statement. And it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting a little when I feel misunderstood or left out. It does mean that I will not change myself to win friends and influence people. I have strong beliefs; sometimes I feel the need to share them, and I ALWAYS feel the need to live by them. I have kids who I have to advocate for. I sometimes have to take unpopular positions in my own home. I have discovered that staying true to myself and what I believe is more important than being popular.