This one’s for my pleasers. My students (and others really) who care so much about what other’s think of them that it muffles their own voice. This is for you.
I won’t psychoanalyze why some of us need people to like us (well maybe I will, just a tad). I guess it’s natural – the feeling of being liked? — heck it may be the simple explanation behind the like button on Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms. We do care. Psychologists have likened the rush some receive from seeing their profiles liked, to the endorphins related to the feeling of happiness/ satisfaction. You’re with me? … many things in life have causal relationships. “What goes up most come down,” “Because there’s good, there must be evil,” and so on. Hence if “Likes” result in happiness, then the opposite causes what? Sadness? Despair? Feeling less than? Empty? Crazy need to go out and do something to make sure people like you? And here I promised not to psychoanalyze. Please pardon me.
What if you didn’t care what people thought of you? – Life would still go on.
Then there are the Gregs.
Greg, a graduating senior shared with me recently, “that bold, sometimes abrasive and often sarcastic retort that I serve everyone with?”
“Oh Yes, I know it well Gregory?”
“It’s all a persona. I am so afraid of people judging me that I make sure that I shut them down before they get a chance to say anything negative to my face!”
“Wow. That seems like a lot of work.”
“It gets better. This is even with me being able to quote you a GAZILLION positive mantras about being authentic to you!”
Greg chuckled. I smiled – that knowing smile where a little piece of you sinks. His solution to not caring has been masked by a sometimes ugly persona that portrays him as rude and uncaring. I’ve met so many Gregs.
The challenge with the Gregs? As much as they want to shed that persona, it is quite likely that indeed they have lost their authentic selves.
My challenge to you if you’re a Greg is simple: Don’t care!
I’m joking, that would be ludicrous! Seriously, once you’ve finished reading this, get a notepad and write 2 things you like about yourself. If you can write more than 2, please do. There are different guides to identifying what you LOVE and LIKE. For the purpose of this challenge use the following guide:
I LOVE my little button nose (non-surgically speaking, I can’t change it).
I LIKE that I rarely get into an angry shouting match with anyone (a character trait that could easily be the exact opposite if I chose).
There’s no reason why your list can’t intertwine between the two guides above; just start writing the list. Read over it. Internalize it and in the moment when one of those LIKE moments exhibits itself, give yourself an internal thumbs up. Overtime the only person’s approval you will need when it comes to caring if people like you (for the right reasons), is you.