also known as:
how not to act like a little dog on a leash.
So this funny thing happens when you decide to really be you. Sometimes people don’t like it.
I know this, because I’ve spent an enormous amount of energy over the course of my life trying to get people to like me. Have you ever watched a dog competition? Living your life trying to get everyone to like you is a little like being a dog in a dog show. It’s like handing a leash to another person and then committing to do a bunch of tricks and turns in response to their moves. It’s acting and reacting in response to your owner, which is an interesting word to use when you think about it. If you are prone to use approval from others as your way of shaping your identity, “owner” might be just the right word.
Allowing our own identity to be “owned” by another’s approval might be one of the great reasons why it’s worth fighting against. I’ve learned the hard way that people’s approval cannot be the way I make decisions. First–because it’s exhausting to be a trained dog. Second–it never works. It has a 100% failure rate because no matter how hard I try, I cannot actually get everyone to like me.
Go ahead, say it out loud: “Self: Not everyone is going to like me.”
Whew, you did it. See? You didn’t spontaneously combust. You are still you, even if someone doesn’t like it. Baby steps.
Here’s three other ways to keep loving people even when they don’t like you: