Is it really so important to be liked?

Albert Ellis was once quoted as saying that one of the best ways to create misery is to work from the mindset that all people must like you at all times and this got me thinking. How important is it to be liked and why is finding out that someone doesn’t like you such a difficult pill to swallow?

It seems that one of the hardest things in life to accept is that there are some people who don’t like you because on some deep level whether we like to admit it or not we all have a desire to be liked and wanted.

We have all come across people in our lives that we simply ‘don’t like’ for no particular and if pressed to explain why you don’t like them, you would probably be hard pushed to come up with any valid reasons other than being in their airspace just isnt somewhere you want to be.  However, even though we ourselves feel this way about certain individuals, discovering someone feels that way about us can be quite a shock to the system and somewhat unsettling.

Often when we discover we are not liked we feel the need to try and fix this or find out why, which in itself isnt a bad thing as it could well be that the person in question has just got the wrong impression of you or someone has said something incorrect which has led them to disliking you.  However, upon realising that this isnt the case its quite difficult to accept that actually its none of those things and they simply don’t like you.   In most cases there is no amount of coercion or pandering to their interests that will change this, in fact often you will find the opposite is true and they respect you even less.

There is however a certain freedom that comes in accepting the fact that you simply cannot be liked by everybody.  It’s an impossible task and one you are surely going to fail.  It is far better to invest your energy into working out your own values and figure out what YOU feel is important to you as opposed to feeling the need to satisfy someone elses needs and ideas.  In doing this you are free to be yourself, your true ‘authentic’ self.  Take the time to get to know that person again…..he/she may have been hidden for some time without you even realising it.  When you begin to live life on your own terms and by your own values as opposed to someone elses the need to be liked soon becomes something of a non-issue.

I was reading an interview with Clare Balding a short time ago and in response to the question “what are people’s misconceptions of you”? she responded by saying….”How can you know what people think of you?  Too many of us waste time being concerned about other people’s opinions.  The only person whose mind you really know is your own.  Why would you even waste half a minute trying to second guess somebody else?  This is very true and reading it made me realise that you cannot control other peoples thoughts, they might like you, they might dislike you but its their thoughts and they are entitled to those and there is no point beating yourself up trying to change them.

In conclusion I believe if you have to compromise yourself to be liked by someone then being liked really isn’t that important.   It isn’t such a bad thing not to be liked, it’s just part of life.  It is far more important to be true to yourself and in turn be liked for who you are and not who you pretend to be to please others needs  and desires.  Freedom to be yourself comes from knowing when to draw the line and stop trying so hard.

Once you decide to stop trying so hard there will be some people who don’t like or appreciate this sudden change in your attitude but do you know what?….who cares what they think?….because they don’t like you anyway.

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