I just found out that not everyone likes me. I was shocked. That can’t be right. I’m a delightful, lovely person. And I’m funny as hell which, I think, makes up for a lot of dumbass stuff that I might do. I try hard to be kind and gracious and friendly, and I generally have a glass-half-full outlook on life.
Recently I had an email exchange with a coworker that, based on his reply, seemed to be misinterpreted. I quickly responded to clarify that I was coming from a place of teamwork and support. No response back so I assumed that it wasn’t well received. My interactions with him in the following days were short and chilly from his end, so it was clear I had pissed him off. So, after meeting with him to review a report, I said, “Hey, are we ok?” He looked in my fabulous, kind, twinkling blue eyes…and verbally vomited, “This is just a business relationship. We’re ok.”
Well alrighty then.
In the next seven seconds, I said the following things in my head:
Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
Do I smell cinnamon rolls?
Wait. Does this mean you don’t like me?
I’m a people pleaser, people! I’m a lover not a fighter. I want everyone to get along, and especially everyone in my immediate world. Stress and tension among my family, friends, or colleagues makes me uneasy. But the realization that this person was not only angry with me, but also didn’t like me as a human being – that upset me. I ruminated about it. I spoke to my friends about it. I ruminated about it (did I say that already?).
And then it bugged me that it bugged me. Why did I care so much about what someone else thought of me? What did that say about me? Did that make me vain? Self-involved?
Or was I, once again, looking for Love, Acceptance, and Approval?
There it was. The trifecta. The Holy Grail. The three things that I was certain would ensure my happiness. I have been chasing LAA LAA Land my whole life. Was I good enough? Was I loveable? Was I worthy?
Clearly it was time for some psychoanalysis. So, as I perused the internet searching for free online therapy, I found this:
Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing. – Aristotle
First, Aristotle, geez! Way to be a downer.
Second, Aristotle, no wonder people quote you all the time. You certainly know your way around succinct truth.
To be clear, I do know that I am not nothing. I know that I am something. I know that I have value and worth beyond what others think of me. What I struggle with is putting what others think of me into an appropriate perspective. Not letting it get in my head. Not allowing it to turn into shame. Shame will kill me if I let it.
So I’m learning to “sit with” someone not liking me. So far “sit with” mostly looks like me being polite to him on the outside while using extensive profanity in my head. I’ve decided that’s an okay place to start.