Do you wish everyone liked you? Do you often think you can’t be happy until you’ve “won over” everyone in your life? Do you sometimes feel like you’re running in circles trying to please people and it just never ends?
Don’t make anyone the gatekeeper to your happiness.
We think our happiness depends on other people totally agreeing with us, liking us, valuing us, understanding us, wanting to be in our company. But it just doesn’t work like that. Sure, we can pin our happiness on outside circumstances – on things going our way and on the people we love loving us back in just the right way we want to be loved. But you’re setting yourself up.
The bad news is life is messy. People are who they are, things don’t always work out exactly the way we think they should, and not everyone will like you.
And the good news is…life is messy!
This means that YOU get to be who you are, and YOU don’t have to like everyone. And things won’t always go the way others think it should when it comes to you. There’s no way on earth you could give everyone exactly what they want when they want it. That’s a relief!
I used to drive myself – and I think everyone else – crazy in my quest to be universally liked, accepted, appreciated. It meant I did and said things that weren’t always authentic and real, and that I said “yes” and “no” to things that weren’t in alignment with my truth.
But I was desperate to be liked because I believed my happiness depended on it. And then I began to realize: it doesn’t! I was way more unhappy bending myself into a pretzel trying to be what others wanted me to be. Being true to who you are is happiness.
Being connected to a few people who do get you, who do love you, who do value and understand you is so much more fulfilling than having a stadium full of people who only like a certain version of you.
Your inner state has less to do with other people and more to do with your own relationship with yourself. Nurture that relationship by being true to yourself. Honor yourself.
We are all so unique and we all want different things. When you realize that others get to be who they are, then you can relax and be who you are. It’s a glorious two way street!
A boss or a teacher or a friend or a potential love will think whatever they think of you. If you put yourself out there in the world, people will have opinions. If you take a risk and fall, there will be those who think you shouldn’t have leapt. If you let your voice be heard, your light shine, and your heart get noticed, there will be someone who just doesn’t “get” you.
The sooner you realize that you can be happy anyway, the freer you are! And what will you do with this wonderful freedom? Try a new sport or take up an instrument or speak your mind or learn how to tap dance?
Here are three things to remember whenever you start tying yourself in knots over someone else’s opinion of you.
1. Learn to let go of situations that deplete you. This may not mean letting go of a relationship, but it means letting go of your idea of how it’s all supposed to look. Release your expectations. Let go of trying to control how others feel about you. Learn to sit with that uncomfortable feeling and you’ll realize you won’t die. It’ll actually help you feel stronger. Looser. More relaxed. And you’ll naturally gravitate toward healthier relationships and situations.
2. Don’t take it all so personally. How another person views you is their version of the whole picture. They are seeing you through a lens of their own conditioning and habitual way of thinking. They are often viewing you through their own fears, self-judgement, and hopes. And remember that you’re doing the same with others.
3. Be you and trust the right people will be in your life. By being authentically who you are in any given moment, you are sending out a beacon to others who will appreciate you. Show your talents and don’t hold back. Shine your light, don’t dim it to fit in. Be vulnerable and reveal your mistakes, your confusion, and admit when you’re wrong. The people who are a good fit for you will find you. And I have a feeling you’ll be a good fit for them.
Now you can release other people from the job of being the gatekeepers to your happiness. And you can stop playing that role for others.
Ah, freedom! Happiness can’t be far behind.
About the Author: Sarah TAYLOR is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a meditation teacher and a Master Level Reiki Practitioner, as well as an actor, comedian, and writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Drawing from a Buddhist background as well as the other non-dual spiritual traditions, her classes and talks are accessible and filled with humor. She was a series regular for three seasons on NBC’s “In Gayle We Trust”, can be seen in the comedy feature, “The Golden Scallop” and has made appearances on Hot In Cleveland, Bunheads, and numerous other TV shows and films. Read More…