“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” — Dita Von Teese
I used to become upset or disheartened if I found out someone disliked me. I would automatically think there was something wrong with me. I would become self-conscious if I thought that someone didn’t want to be my friend, or if someone made a comment about me that rubbed me the wrong way. I let the opinions of others dictate how I felt about myself. I didn’t consider that maybe we just didn’t mesh well, or that maybe someone else’s opinion of me was a reflection of them, not of me. Instead, I would become so hung up on what the other person thought of me that I would stop paying attention to what I thought of me. Essentially, I was using the opinions of others as a mirror.
Here’s a little secret: you don’t have to be liked by everyone. And you are never going to be liked by everyone. It’s impossible. And the truth is, it took me about 25 years to understand, this. And honestly, it will probably take me another 25 years to fully embrace and accept it.
If you, like me, hyper-focus on what other people think of you, I totally feel your pain. It’s such an easy trap to fall into it, and it’s a hard trap to get out of. When we place too much value on how others feel about us (or how we think they feel about us), we automatically start to feel insecure. We automatically feel like others have the power; or that others define us. And then our thoughts become our actions, and we shy away, or we back down.
I used to be this very girl – the girl who would shy away in the corner. The girl who wouldn’t always speak up for herself. I used to be the girl who didn’t walk so tall…the girl who would shy away from actually being seen. And it was all because I was insecure. It was all because I was scared that if I spoke up, that if I embraced my sense of humor and quirkiness, others would not like me. They wouldn’t get my humor. They would think what I had to say was dumb. And because of these thoughts, I remained quiet. I became too nervous to let myself be seen.
But why? Why do this when you have so much wonderfulness stored inside of you? Why taint your colors to try to appeal to more people? We really have no power over what others think of us. We don’t have a say in the matter. We can try to make them like us, but most times when we do this, we aren’t even being authentic. So rather than trying to impress others by masking our true selves, we should put our energy into caring about those who care about us. We should be more intentional about being good human beings. We should intentionally be more honest and kinder. We should strive to be our best selves by our very own standards, as living life to the fullest by our own standards is much more fulfilling than constantly trying to live up to the standards of others.
Some people are not going to like you. Some people are not going to mesh with you well. That’s just a fact. And when you really stop to think about it, it almost comes down to science. The science of preference. Think about your favorite flavor of ice cream. I personally think chocolate is delicious. I would choose chocolate over vanilla any day. And is there anything wrong with vanilla? No. It’s just a preference. Chocolate is just what I’m drawn to. My best friend might choose vanilla. Another friend might not like either, and might prefer mint chocolate chip above all others. The moral of the story is, there’s nothing actually wrong with chocolate or vanilla. We might just not like one or the other. They taste different to us. And it’s all just a simple preference.
The same goes for people. If someone doesn’t like you, you just might not be their flavor. It’s as simple as that. It’s not your responsibility to convince others to like chocolate, just like it’s not your responsibility to try to convince others to like you. If they don’t like you, who is it really impacting anyways? You’re not going to want to befriend someone who doesn’t prefer you. And you’re not losing anything from not befriending them.
Eventually, you just have to learn that what others think is no reflection of you. What others think of you doesn’t define you. And it absolutely doesn’t change your value. Having more friends or followers doesn’t make you a better person. What makes you the best person you can be is being real. It’s being honest. It’s learning how to like yourself. Because when it all comes down to it, the only person you should try to impress is yourself.