Author, speaker, and teacher, Rosie Molinary, empowers women to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world. The author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, she teaches body image at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and facilitates transformative workshops and retreats for women. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Have you ever had someone in your life just NOT like you? Have you then gone on a full-fledged charm offensive in the hopes of changing his or her mind about you?
I sure have. And I can tell you that trying to make someone like you is both mentally and physically exhausting while being an exercise in futility. Does that sound harsh? I don’t mean for it to, but I do want to spare you the agony of putting everything into making someone love you when you actually don’t even have control over changing his or her mind. After all, it is his or her mind. If you aren’t a bad, unkind, careless, callous person, chances are slim that you actually did something to provoke the dislike. Sometimes, what we bring up in other people is just something that is hard for them—without OUR necessarily being the problem. Sometimes, we remind them of someone else or something else or just are meeting them at a time when who we are, how we are, or where we are in our own life isn’t a fit for them. This isn’t a judgment of us and it is not a judgment of them. It’s just real that sometimes not everyone is going to like us, they don’t have to, and it isn’t really any of our business what someone else thinks of us.
But it’s about me, you insist, so, of course, it’s my business.
Yeah, it is just not. It’s really not. It is about that person and what is going on for them, what informs his or her decisions, what they need or are seeking or are avoiding right now. And when we decide to care passionately about what other people think, we lose perspective about what we think. And, ultimately, we’re the only person walking with us to the end of our days. We cannot afford to lose our own perspective in search of how to alter someone else’s.
Years ago, someone came into my life who I really wanted to like me. And that person did not like me. So noticeably didn’t like me that my friends commented about it. The chill was apparent. I just wasn’t her person. But, by golly, I wanted to be her person. And so I tried. And tried. And tried some more. And the only thing I succeeded in doing was exhausting myself and even more resolutely making her not like me.
One day, I had this big aha moment that I couldn’t make her like me because there wasn’t something concretely that I needed to amend. It was the essence of me that was wrong for her. And so I quit trying and it was revolutionary- for me. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that as soon as I quit trying, we became friends. Nope. That’s not the case here. There is no neat and tidy ending to this one. As far as I know, this person still really doesn’t like me. But, here’s the deal, though I see her on and off in my life, I am totally at peace about it. I don’t need her to like me. I don’t need to know why she doesn’t like me. It’s a non-issue. We can behave when we’re in shared space and I leave that space and I don’t even think about it again. It’s not a thing because I have realized that I have no business making it a thing because it is none of my business.
So, today, I want you to think about the person or people in your life who it feels like doesn’t/don’t like you and who you have been putting energy into changing their mind and I want you to give both them and you grace. Imagine that person’s face. In your mind, send him or her out a gentle thought—something along of the lines of, “I am letting go of my desire to force our relationship and releasing both you and me from that pressure.” And then, do it, release you from the pressure and really embrace the idea that if you let what you think other people think go, you are actually make bountiful room for what you think.