In psychology, it’s a truism: You can’t get everyone to like you.
A lot of people will say, “Sure, that makes intellectual sense, but I don’t feel it.” A lot of people are, frankly, anxious, neurotic or lacking in self-esteem. That’s why they don’t really feel it.
But the fact not everyone will like you is entirely logical — and necessary. It’s not just something you have to reluctantly accept. Think about it. The world is full of different types of people. People like different things, have different temperaments, and even have differing values and principles. So how could it ever be possible for everyone to like you? If you possess a definite and real SELF — then how could you be loved by everyone in a world populated by many different selves?
In fact, I’ll go a step further. If you’re an authentic person — that is, someone who ONLY goes through life saying what he means and meaning what he says — then some people will hate you. In an irrational context (a deteriorating culture, a dysfunctional family, a toxic work environment), many will hate you. There’s no getting around it. And that’s a sign you’re doing something right.
When someone dislikes you — and if you care — it’s important to know their reasons. First of all: ARE there reasons? Often, there are not. It’s a clear sign the dislike is irrational. Somebody is responding on feelings alone, probably on some kind of prejudice or bias. If you do know the reason: then is the reason based on facts or falsehood; on rational, sound reasoning that considers ALL the relevant facts, or only some of them?
At the end of the day, you cannot appreciate the liking or admiration of another unless you like and admire yourself — for sound reasons that you can name and identify. Look at the famous celebrities who are loved by millions yet succumb to addiction, despair and even suicide. Clearly they did not like themselves. If being loved by millions fixed everything, then nobody famous would ever abuse drugs or kill himself.
Feeling you must be loved by everyone is a huge and widespread error in thinking. It’s why there’s so much neurosis, anxiety, low self-esteem and “social anxiety disorder” in the world. It’s why we’re more vulnerable to dictatorships or strongmen (socialists, fascists) who claim they will take care of us, and fix everything for us.
Is the error in thinking fixable? Of course. But you first must know how to name the problem … and be willing to name it.
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