Quit Worrying About Being Liked
We all have insecurities, things that stifle our confidence and hold us back from fully expressing our true selves. Regardless if it’s weight, acne on your face, the hair that doesn’t want to curl, the flabby tissue on your arms, the funky curving of your toes, your foreign accent, where you live, or what car you drive, the list goes on and on and on. To compensate for what we believe is wrong with us and to be liked by those that we look up to, we often go out of our way to do what others do, think how others think, and believe in what those we admire believe.
There are a number of downsides to this approach, and more importantly there is NO upside. Yes, you may be accepted into the group of those you aspire to be, but acceptance is a far reach from being embraced and that’s ultimately what all of us look for. The biggest consequence of trying to mold yourself to others is that you never discover who you truly are, what values and passions you have, and what the gifts are you could share with this world. Your full potential is locked away, often leading to depression and anxiety.
Consider what our world would look like if, from the early evolution, everyone would have shaped their lives based on one set of believes and one way of behaving. People like Einstein, Galileo, Nelson Mandela, Charles Darwin, Steve Jobs, and so many others would have never changed the world for the better. You might shrug right now thinking I’m no Nelson Mandela. But are you sure? What evidence do you have that you couldn’t be the next Martin Luther King, or Mahatma Gandhi? Unless you discover what your own values and passions are, how can you assess the potential that lies deep within you?
Being able to fully express yourself, all of you, will not just put you in control of your life but will make you truly fall in love with who you are. You’ll become self-confident and walk through life with greater poise, and with such strong vibration others will start wanting to be in your presence, especially those that truly believe in your view of the world…you’ll find ‘your tribe’ without even searching for them as they will find you.
So now you might ask, how you get from where you are today to that place of self-expression. Learning from others and through experience in my own life I’d like to offer the following thoughts:
1. Accept the fact that nobody is perfect. How boring would life be if we were? Nothing would be a challenge, nothing would require a struggle, and nothing would cause us pain. If this sounds like haven to you, consider for a moment how boring life would be. You would never celebrate a great achievement, you would never get the excitement of a new experience, and you would not be able to feel immense joy, as it can only come from having experienced pain.
2. Be kind to yourself. Everyone makes ‘mistakes’ but rather than viewing them as shortcomings, look at it as another puzzle piece in your journey to self-realization. Say ‘thank you for that lesson’ and feel enriched by your continuoued learning.
3. Daydream about your future and recognize that your past is no indication of the future unless you give the past more importance than you give your future.
4. Discover your own believes and values. The best way I’ve found is to truly question your every thoughts and actions. Are you just doing something or thinking a certain way because that’s how your parents did? Are these views past down from generation or simply the thoughts of the social circle you have been a part of? Before you act, consider if your actions make you feel good, and over time you’ll discover your true believes and values.
5. Evaluate what feedback is important. Just because you decide to live an authentic life people will not stop from sharing their opinions and thoughts on how you should live your life. Recognize that each person has their own story and journey, meaning that some of their advice might be applicable to you and others isn’t. Be thoughtful in your response. Listen, thank the person, and simply consider if this is information relevant for your own life.
6. Accept the fact that not everyone will like the real you. But that’s okay, for every ‘friend’ you might lose, many others will find you. Those that associate with your views of the world will appreciate your honest connection and will become friends for life.
I love this quote by Jared McKlintoc, author of the book ‘Finding Happiness in a Chaotic World: “It is not about fixing our outside world but rather about making our inside world so powerful that we can live in peace with whatever is happening on the outside.”
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