It’s only natural that we want to be liked by others. In fact, this used to be necessary for our survival in life. If we weren’t liked by others we might have been denied access to food or shelter, so being liked back then was a big deal. Though we don’t necessarily need to be liked by all today, we still want to have that good feeling of being liked by others and wanting the approval of family and friends. Why is this? Why do some people care to be liked by others and others don’t care to be liked? I think at the end of the day it comes down to ego and self-esteem. I’m not saying you need to go around act like a total jerk and make everyone hate you, but I also think you can agree everyone has their own opinions and thoughts about things, and some people you’re not going to agree with or be able to satisfy. This post is about finding that happy medium, learning how to be confident enough in yourself that you only want to be liked and gain the approval of those you respect, while learning to let go of the need to be liked by all.
Why Do I Need This Approval – Whenever I have readings with clients that will call themselves “people-pleasers” it’s usual starts in their childhood (it most usually always does). Maybe they had a parent that was hard to please, constantly asking why the A wasn’t an A+ when it came to grades. Maybe the learned that when they said “yes” to things people wanted they were complimented more, or told they were awesome and they genuinely liked that feeling of being liked, even if it was only for what they provided. At the end of the day, the first way you’re going to get over this idea of needing to be liked is to find the root of where it started. Ask yourself questions like what would happen if you didn’t have the approval of so and so, how would your life change? Do you like yourself? Most people-pleasers don’t actually think they are lovable and good enough just being who they are so they resort to doing things that make them lovable in the eyes of others.
Working on Self-Esteem – If you require the need to be accepted by someone in your life, especially if that someone is not a person you actually admire yourself for who they are as a person, chances are you have low self-esteem. It’s usually the people that we actually don’t respect or think well of that we want to gain the approval the most from. Think about it, have you ever had someone disrespect you, maybe call you names, or make you feel bad about yourself yet you wanted to gain their approval? Why would you want the approval of this person? Chances are you will feel like you accomplished something, or won something if you can “convince” this person to appreciate you. This is usually an exercise in failure because if someone did actually respect and appreciate you, you would already have their approval, so you wouldn’t need to “please” them. If this is the situation you are in, start to work on your own self-esteem. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself, exercise, do things that help you feel accomplished, whatever it is the point is to boost up your self-esteem so you no longer need this.
Let Go of What Doesn’t Serve You – It can be tough to just walk away from everyone in our life that makes us feel the need to please them. Especially if it is a parent, or a work colleague and you can’t quit your job. Instead you can take back your power and let go of the experience and create a new one. Instead just accept, accept you’ll never please your mom or dad, and accept that colleague will never like you as much as so and so in the office, no matter how many times you help her with her work assignments. Let go of this experience, and instead accept the fact that it is. When you do this you can start to create new experiences for yourself.
Create Boundaries – Instead of trying to please everyone, look to please yourself and help others if it feels right. There’s a difference between helping others, and trying to please everyone. You help people you respect and admire, and you want to do this out of the goodness of your heart. When you try to please people you’re not doing this because you want to, instead you’re hoping for a pay off, and that pay off is that they will do something for you, whether that is give you the sense or feeling they “like you” or you feel like they will “respect you” or maybe it’s a way to get rid of misplaced guilt. No matter the reason when you create healthy boundaries you can then learn to like and respect yourself by only engaging with and doing acts of kindness for those that you decide to on you terms.
Not everyone is going to like you and you don’t want everyone to like you anyway. If someone is making you feel forced to please them and not please yourself, or if someone is disrespecting you and you constantly go back for more trying to make them change their thinking about you – now is the time to stop. Instead understand there are all kinds of people on this earth, and your job is to find your tribe of people who you connect with who respect you, like you, and make you feel good about you. When you find these people you won’t feel the need to please them, you’ll just want to help and do things for them as they will want to do for you and it will be an exchange in sharing. The others, the ones that don’t provide this type of sharing experience for you can simply move away out of your energy and you don’t need them to prove to yourself how wonderful you are, the rest of your tribe will do that for you. You have your journey and other people have theirs, but don’t allow others to move you off of your journey.