You’re Not Going to Be Liked By Everyone… Learning to Be Liked “Enough”

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It took a long time to get there, but it was a huge breakthrough when I did. For the longest time, I worried what other people thought of me. This by itself was not a problem. Human beings are obligate social animals. We want to be accepted, to be liked, and to fit in somewhere.

No, the trouble wasn’t that I wanted to be liked. The trouble was that I wasn’t specific. I wanted everyone to like me, you see. And the flaw in my logic never occurred to me. Why would I want everyone to like me? I didn’t even like everyone.

It made no sense to want something from the world that I myself couldn’t give. But there I was. Like a lot of people, I had a double standard from what I was giving the world and what I expected to get from the world.

But I wouldn’t see this gap in my thinking for quite a long time. Not globally anyway — from a 10,000-foot point of view. Instead, it would occur to me in a more granular way.

I would see it when it came to certain individuals.

One day it would dawn on me that it was quite silly to worry about whether petty people liked me. Because I didn’t really like them anyway.

I’m frankly not a fan of people who judge others harshly and unfairly. So if they judge me in that manner, it’s not really a waste to not have them as friends, is it? Viewed through another lens, it saves me a lot of time and aggravation.

What a gamechanger to realize that everyone I respected wouldn’t judge others so harshly. And that if I don’t respect someone, their approval isn’t all that important.

You’re Not Going to Be Liked By Everyone… Learning to Be Liked “Enough”

One of my favorite ways of thinking about the subject came out spontaneously when I was counseling a friend who had checked in with me because someone else had criticized them in a way that just didn’t ring true.

It didn’t ring true to me either. I started with that — but then found myself leaping to another point. “And anyway, let’s say they have a point,” I said.

“Oh?”

“Let’s say you have flaws. We all do.”

They nodded.

“Are you really hurting for companionship right now?” I continued. “Is this flaw actually causing problems in a large way in your social life — other than with this one person?”

They thought about it for a moment. “No,” they said. For this friend was quite popular and a joy to spend time with. Quirky, sure, but in a way that I found generally pleasant (as did many others).

“Maybe you’re not perfect,” I said. “You’re not going to be liked by everyone. No one is. But I can confidently say that you’re liked enough.”

Featured Image: CC BY – Erich Ferdinand