We all know at least one hardcore people pleaser. You know the signs: She sleeps in the rain and gets the flu so her friend’s dog can fit in the tent. She’s 100% republican but lied about her vote because the nation had Obama fever. If a friend calls her stupid, she whips up a batch of cookies, and makes a card that reads, “I’m sorry for disappointing you.” And despite all her over-the-top efforts to be liked by everyone, many people disrespect her. Maybe that’s you, maybe it’s not–but odds are, you can relate at least a little to the desire to be well-liked. Who doesn’t want to feel accepted, respected, and appreciated?
This isn’t a note about overcoming people-pleaser tendencies. This note won’t teach you how to make friends and avoid alienating people. If you generally do your best to learn and grow every day but occasionally stress about other people’s opinions then yes, this post is for you.
It’s awesome not everyone likes you because:
10. It allows you to be true to yourself. The biggest disservice you can do yourself is shape-shifting to please your audience. It’s exhausting (even to watch) and, more importantly, pointless. No one will get to know who you really are, which will leave you feeling empty.
9. It gives you the power to say no. I truly believe people are good at heart. That being said, it’s human nature to test boundaries; and it happens all the time in relationships. When you’re willing to be disliked, you’re not afraid to say no as it suits you. Both your yeses and nos shape your future, so choose them wisely.
8. You’ll be more comfortable exploring your feelings. I know–this isn’t a popular one for the male persuasion. But doesn’t it feel good to just be where you are without pretending for someone else’s sake? I’m not saying you should act in anger or fear; just that it’s pretty empowering to say, “Hell yeah–I’m terrified” (or lonely or weak or struggling) regardless of what people will think.
7. You can help other people. It’s often the least popular people who strike the deepest chord in us. Be unpopular when necessary and push people to be their best. You just may save someone’s life.
6. You can freely express your thoughts. I’ve always said one of the kindest things you can do for someone else is to listen without forming an opinion. You deserve that same kindness, but the reality is you won’t always get it. People will form opinions when you speak. Talk anyways. Be kind in your words, but fearless.
5. It prepares you for great success. Pick one of your favorite popular Twitterers, be it a celebrity or social media guru (there are a ton). Go look at their @replies. Odds are they field their fair share of harsh comments. The higher you rise the more negative feedback you’ll receive, both constructive and unnecessary. Being disliked and OK with it prepares you for making it big.
4. It teaches you to offer kindness and compassion without expectations. It’s not too difficult to offer someone compassion when they’ve treated you with respect and kindness. What’s more valuable for your development as a person, and to mankind as whole, is the ability to do what’s right because it’s right–not because you’ll get something in return.
3. You’ll inspire other people. There is someone I know who has the uncanny ability to keep going, even when others try to pull her down. I learn from her every day. Every person who doesn’t love her assertive, over-the-top personality is a reminder she is unique and not afraid.
2. You can use your time wisely. If you’re liked by everyone, odds are you’re spreading yourself way too thin trying to keep them all happy. I disagree with people who say life is too short. Most of us have plenty of time. We just have to use it well, bettering ourselves and the lives of people around us instead of worrying about other people’s perceptions.
1. You can choose to smile anyways. You could use your energy to make daily inventories of everything that’s wrong–the money you don’t have, the esteem you didn’t earn, the people you disappointed. Or you could commit to being your best, and then sit back and smile. Life will always be a balancing act. Learn to teeter in serenity.
As with most things I write, I wrote some of this for me. I often think it’s a reflection on myself when someone else doesn’t like me, but I’m learning to let that go. Do you take it personally when someone isn’t your biggest fan? Do you have anything to add to this list?
Credits: Lori Deschene, seeinggood.com.