1. People start to like you.
I know! How illogical that must seem. But the truth is that people pleasing – shaping and moulding yourself into different personas to fit the personality of whoever you are speaking to – is exhausting, and reduces your status. It’s also extremely inauthentic, which causes people at best to be wary of you and at the worst to dislike you. But when you remove the need to be liked, you make yourself equal to everyone you encounter.
You’re safe in yourself; you don’t need anyone’s approval to have an opinion. People like you because you aren’t afraid of conflict. You aren’t afraid to be your full self – unapologetically. And the ones who still don’t like you (or even envy you) often only do so because they haven’t yet found the confidence within themselves to live so boldly. So all you can do is wish them well, turn your head and walk the other way.
2. You begin to feel at peace with yourself.
For so long you have been worrying about what others think about you that you forgot to live for yourself. You forgot to realise that the only person you need compare yourself to is the one you were a minute ago, yesterday, last month or a year back. As you stop living to be liked by others you start living to be the person you would like to meet.
This launches you on a life-long journey toward self-love. And love for the Self truly is the pinnacle of not caring about being liked: when you love yourself entirely, you’re able to exude the excess of that love onto others without any need for it to be returned. But if you love others without first loving yourself, you feel robbed when it isn’t returned. As you give yourself the love you would like to receive, the need to be loved back by others dissipates; you free them to love you at their own pace.
3. You become real.
You have spent so much time putting on a perfect pretense that as you become real you stand amazed at the freedom you start to feel. In Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she cites a segment of a children’s story called The Veleveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams that says: “When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt…You become [real]. It takes a long time…Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
As you become less fearful about whether people like you, you start to become real. You stop living as though you are a pristine being without any scars or flaws or mars. You stop living with so much secrecy and shame. And ultimately what you notice is that people begin to love you not in spite of who you truly are but because of it.
4. Your circle gets smaller.
You no longer value quantity over quality when it comes to your friendships. You recognise who your closest are, and you invest in them. You still have many acquaintances (you’re busy seeing so many people a day that this is unavoidable) – but your true friendships richen. You start to give generously to your nearest and dearest knowing that they will return the giving at their own pace. Time, appreciation, love, kindness, attention – everything money can’t buy. And things money can buy, sometimes, too, if you can afford it.
But as your circle of influence gets smaller, you grow grander, because you are no longer being stretched in multitudinous directions. You get to choose who you give to, when you give and how you give it. And with that you make your life and the lives of those you love more abundant.
5. You put yourself first.
You recognise that life is a continual coming back to the Self; home-base. You know now that you are only able to extend lasting love to others if you first love yourself. Where you used to put the wellbeing of others first out of a need to be liked/loved/appreciated by them, you now have the self-respect to first choose yourself; knowing you can make no one well if you are not well.
And ultimately you recognise that, as Iyanla Vanzant says, it is not “selfish” to put yourself first, but self-ful. You are of no service to others if your cup isn’t running over. Vanzant states that by putting someone else before yourself “you make them a thief and they don’t even know it”. Always respect yourself (and others) enough to arrive with your cup full.
6. You allow yourself to have empathy.
Before, you cared about whether people thought you were sensitive; whether they thought you were “weak”. You shut off your emotions in order to appear strong and decisive; a leader and a rock. You thought in turn you would be more respected. But on the way you lost the capacity to put yourself in your neighbour’s shoes. You lost the true strength that all great leaders possess: empathy. And what is a leader who cannot understand the hardships of his or her base support other than a tyrant?
What is a leader who does not have the strength to be vulnerable and admit they don’t know all the answers other than a fraud? As you allow yourself to have empathy, you start to see the world with new eyes. Daily, you discover others’ experiences and instead of judging them, you try to view them as if they were your own. Because of this you become vulnerable and open, and you realise that these are two of the greatest strengths of all.
7. You are happier than you have ever been.
Every day you believe that this very moment–right now–is the happiest you have ever been. And rightly so. You have worked hard not to care about being liked and it has rewarded you infinitely. You have liberated yourself for life because you have stopped living for anyone other than yourself. You have come a long way, and each day feels like another step toward selfmastery.
But not caring about being liked is only the beginning – for now you can make choices you would have never before dared to make. You can take risks you would never have dreamed of taking. And, above all, you can continue to be happy – because today you know your happiness requires the approval of no one other than yourself.