It is wise of us to be very wary about our own desire to be liked. That desire is what traps us in an egotistical state of mind. It is a stressful act to strive be anyone other than who we really are. And by focusing on what we are not, rather than on what we are, we can make ourselves feel weak when that is not our nature.
Looking through the lens of our insecurities about who we are not, small mistakes can be appear to be monumental mistakes. What our ego rarely realizes is that, other people are thinking about their own mistakes, so hey have no brainpower left to think about our failings. But because we see it that way, we diminish ourselves to the point where we’ll even avoid basic human decency and connection.
If we’re walking down a street and we’re feeling insecure over past mistakes, when pass another person going the other way, we’ll be far more likely to feel awkward about even where to look. Most people in cities today don’t even offer a greeting. And what holds most people back from those very valuable social connections? Fear. We’re afraid of doing something stupid, offending someone, or we’re afraid we won’t be liked.
If we don’t feel strong, or worthy, that eventually leads to fears that we can’t do things we really can. And it also suggests we can’t rely on, lean on, or get forgiveness from others, when in most cases we can. We presume others see no value in us, or our situation, when that is very rarely true. But even if they do feel that way, we cannot live our lives for them any more than they should live theirs for us.
We want to be good members of society because society brings more benefits to us than we could ever hope to amass on our own. But the idea that we have to surrender ourselves into being everyone the world wants us to be, but rarely our authentic selves, is unsustainable. A lot of suffering people do is generated by the stresses associated with them not ‘being themselves.’
If we’re looking for some kind of sign that we’re successfully defending our own lives, it’s is when we start saying ‘no,’ more often. This then creates more opportunities to us to be affirmative and active in our attempts to live the life we feel is ours.
This isn’t to say that it’s other people’s jobs to help us enact the life we want. But nor should their judgments of whatever we are doing, stand in the way of us becoming the most fully developed version of ourselves that we can be. That is when our desire to be liked actually disrupts our lives
Sometimes, some people we care about will absolutely not approve of some of the things in our nature that we will want to do. That’s just part of life. Others have their ideas and we have ours. And, if they’re upset, that’s their issue not yours. It’s not your job to morph into whatever people need you to be in order for them to be happy. That’s a weird kind of social extortion, much like the Upper Class used to force on the Servant Class.
We make up for the loss in judgmental people, with those that truly love us or are inspired by us. When we are simply ourselves, that authenticity is like a magnet that naturally draws in the people that love us as we are. They remind us, we belong on this planet.
Our very existence is so incredibly unlikely, that the fact we exist at all is all the proof we need that the universe included us. And if we’re going to exist within it, we might as well maximize our opportunity. So let’s be bold. Let’s go after our dreams. Let’s defend our lives.
Stop with the fearful thoughts. Stop calculating downsides. Stop worrying about the thoughts of others. In the absence of all of that our strength can rise naturally. Let’s not be afraid to advance our position. We must start living our moments with the firm knowledge that we are each amazing, worthwhile, intentionally created beings, with unique knowledge, capabilities, and talents that are valuable, and in many cases even enjoyable. That’s truly who we are. So why not start living like it is?
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.