Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On Being Disliked

I recently interacted with someone who obviously did not like me. I couldn’t smile enough. Tell enough jokes. Or, be as humble as I needed to be. It was abundantly clear I was simply disliked.

If you’ve ever been in the presence of someone who has an obvious distaste for you, it makes you feel vulnerable. It’s a bit disarming. Because your first instinct (at least in my case) is to try to convince that person otherwise. It just has a way of putting you on edge. Making you feel helpless. But you can’t change their dislike. You just have to live with it, as uncomfortable as it feels to sit with that knowledge. 

I thought a lot about this person. About why they probably don’t like me and why I really shouldn’t care. 

It’s not my job to make people like me. Because the world is full of people who have already made up their minds. People who let their own misery cloud their judgment. Who won’t (or don’t) like you because it’s about them, not about you.

Your job isn’t to change everyone else; it’s to be exactly who you are. Without apology. I’ve spent most of my life tirelessly trying to make everyone like me. It’s exhausting. In order to please the rest of the world, you give up part of yourself in the process. Sacrifice what you are in favor of who you think you should be and you’ll never really know exactly who you are. It’s easy to find yourself completely lost in the process.

But what I didn’t see back then was this: it takes guts to be you. It’s walking around naked all day, flaws and all. Exposing yourself to everyone and not caring what they have to say about you. This is a frightening proposition, being the person you are called to be—not the one the world wishes you to be.

This isn’t to say that I’m without flaws or that I’m right and everyone else is either wrong or ignorant. It’s about being authentic and understanding that the world is a broken place inhabited by broken people. We’re all broken, each in our own way. Most of us find ways to cover the cracks, but they’re still there. Being your perfectly broken self opens up a world you probably haven’t taken the time to see—one where we’re all a bit wounded and trying to compensate for our faults. We’ve all got a different way of filling the cracks in our foundation; it’s just that some of us are more skilled contractors than others.

The next time you realize someone dislikes you, be brave enough to let your cracks show. Years from now you won't be bothered that someone hates you; you'll be pissed you cared too much about their opinion.

“When you are truly genuine, there will invariably be people who do not accept you. And in that case, you must be your own badass self, without apology.” –Katie Goodman


Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Great post. I blogged earlier this year about a coworker who doesn't like me. Don't know why, don't really care, because I don't particularly care for her either, BUT she crossed a line and was unprofessional in front of others and it got dicey. I needed to confront her and was working up the courage. In the meantime,either she had an epiphany or someone else said something because she has become professional again. It's okay not to like each other, but we both deserve respect and I need to learn to demand it!

Ryan said...

I enjoyed this post. I work in a place with a lot if people and there are always people crossing lines, I don't get it. Nobody seems to do it to me either because I'm quiet and don't bother them or because they know not to cross the line with me because I will go there. People are bullies and that never goes away, most of them just bark, they don't like to bite. Some people never change.

I enjoy this blog, I'll follow along.


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