The need to be liked

Saturday, January 23, 2016








You can't please everyone, and you can't make everyone like you.”
Katie Couric

A few days ago I posted a photo of Jennifer Aniston  (who is actually my style icon!) on my Facebook page with a comment that I didn't care for her outfit. I brought up the concept of age appropriate dressing and hoped that it would generate some interesting conversation about the subject. The good news is that I had record activity on my page. The bad news is that some people took offense to my post and misconstrued my message, thinking that I was somehow dissing women by critiquing a jumpsuit!. A follower commented that she was disappointed in me.  Someone else said it was her least favorite post of mine. I lost a few "likes". And then all hell broke loose. What was meant to be a channel for discussions, turned into an exchange of negativity. Instead of shrugging it off,  I felt responsible that I caused such a "stir"and sad that people judged me so negatively.
It's hard for me to separate my feelings from the opinions of others.

If this sounds familiar, it's because women have a tough time believing that we're really NOT responsible for the happiness of others. We're programed to be people pleasers and we feel obligated to take on everyone else's feelings and make things right. We have the need to be liked and accepted, and when that doesn't happen, it shakes us to our core.

After the Facebook incident, I dug deep into that "who am I" place. At 54, I still don't like to disappoint others...rational or not these feelings are real. I shared my experience with some friends and they all "got it"...seems I'm not the only one who feels this way (phew). One of my friends told me that when people are disappointed with her, old childhood feelings of "being in trouble" surface. Another friend told me that she beats herself up and always tries to find a way to make things better. Why do we do this to ourselves? Ugh?

It was surprising to me that I got rattled over something so benign...but I did. The funny thing is that no matter how much energy we put into trying to make people like us, there will always be some who don't. That's life.

How do you deal with acceptance? Have you learned ways to shrug off negativity?

Check out this article by Denise Restauri on the subject. Interesting stuff.

I'd love to hear from you. We're all in this together.

XO Susan










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26 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Criticism is hard for sure!!!! I don't do well with it either. I think men have a tougher shell than women. Thanks for sharing XO

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  2. It's so scary to put yourself out there for others to judge. Especially now that I'm older (50)! I wish I had the courage to write about some of the topics I would like to write about, but what if everyone I knew in high school finds out I'm not the person they expected me to be?

    As I write that, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. Because I really don't care about what any of those people think, and my good friends are my good friends because they would never judge me.

    Susan -- thanks for putting your feelings out there! And Kim, I hope you'll continue to write, even if it's only for yourself!

    I try to think about this quote: “Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”
    Katherine Mansfield

    But yes, it IS one of the "hardest things on earth..." But you ladies inspire me!

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    1. SO true and LOVE that quote! Words to live by. XO

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  3. When I was young, I used to worry about everyone liking me and would say and do anything to keep from offending anyone. Now in my 50s, I've learned that to live authentically, I can't do that. It's also quite burdensome. I can't say I'm honest to a fault but I'm definitely more upfront about things now and it feels good.

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    1. I "think" I'm past that point and then the inner voice kicks in. Ugh! Thanks for sharing Betsy XO

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  4. Susan,
    Your message is a very valuable one for us all. Thank you for being so incredibly authentic and sharing your story. It still takes me a long time to overcome negative comments no matter how much self talk or reflection. I think it's part of the human condition in some ways! Thanks again for your authenticity!

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    1. Awe thank you so much Patty. Being a woman certainly comes with some baggage :) XO

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  5. I feel your pain, my friend. First, it's very hard to put ourselves 'out there'. Then, 100 people could say wonderful things about us but it is that ONE negative comment that we dwell on.
    It is so easy for people to sit behind their computers and judge everything we say and do. I'm sorry this happened to you. I know EXACTLY how you feel. :-( Hang in there!! xoxo

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  6. Well, I think I too want to be liked, and try to act diplomatically, but still true to my own core. I try not to offend, and not to be judgemental. But I also try to really stay honest, open (sometimes too open),direct, close to the facts, and there are times when that turns against me in one way or another. Often, I learn a lesson. I think we all navigate this life the best we can. I was however, lucky to have been somewhat cured from feeling shocked and thinking it's my fault when a person turns against me by an Indian businessman whom I met in my 20s. He said: "You don't have to be liked by everybody - just think - aren't there people you really don't like? Yes, so, from that follows that there are also people who really don't like you!"

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    1. We're all trying the best we can Merit. Thanks for sharing XO

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  7. Well written post! At almost sixty-nine years old, I cringe when I think of what I tolerated just to be liked (and it didn't work). It is in the female nature to want to be liked, want to fix everything and everyone. I saw a quote on Pinterest "not my circus, not my monkeys". Growing up I was taught not to think of myself, not to be "the big I". You can imagine what that did to a young girl's self esteem. There is a huge difference between being self-centered and arrogant, and taking care of yourself and actually liking yourself.

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    1. Hi Donna. I appreciate your comment so much. Those old messages sure are engrained in us--one reason why we need to work extra hard to recognize them when they surface! Love that quote and your wisdom. XO

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  8. I had missed the FB controversy. I just read your post and the comments. It looks like the vast majority agreed with you. But I totally understand that the negative comments bothered you. I have been working really hard on accepting that not every can like me, but it's still hard...

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  9. Blessings to you as you navigate this beautiful and ugly all the same time world of blogging. I've been misunderstood, mistaken, and criticized for things I've posted as well... when all along in my own brain it sounded perfectly perfect. Lesson learned here is that people come with his or her own pre-programmed set of emotions and experiences that become the filter with which they read your words and intentions. May you continue to be brave and kind and true and all that God has made you to be - shining as an inspiration and light to those of us who are looking for someone just like you to remind us, at any age, that we are beautiful. Kristi http://www.angelspiratesthieves.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Kristi for your kind words. I am looking forward to reading your blog!! Susan

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  10. I'm sorry people misunderstood the Jennifer post, they missed the point and caused you hurt, regardless of why, makes me sad. I struggle with the people pleasing gene... not easy... lots of talking myself off the ledge. Your intention for the original post was exactly how I took it. Thank you for putting yourself out there everyday and every time you post. ♡

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    1. Thanks Denise...I feel better just reading this :) XO

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  11. I'm sorry people misunderstood the Jennifer post, they missed the point and caused you hurt, regardless of why, makes me sad. I struggle with the people pleasing gene... not easy... lots of talking myself off the ledge. Your intention for the original post was exactly how I took it. Thank you for putting yourself out there everyday and every time you post. ♡

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  12. Thank you everyone for your comments...it means a lot to me to be in the company of such kind and wise women. XO

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  13. People pleasing is an age old struggle for most women and I'm sorry to hear you felt so uncomfortable, because of the response your post generated. However, if you have a strong blog and something to say, I think people will disagree with you, from time to time. Sometimes, it's because there is a misunderstanding. Sometimes, they simply disagree. And each party has a right to respectfully disagree. That sometimes makes a for a great blog! Kudos to you for this heartfelt entry! Love it...because it is so inspiring to see someone be this vulnerable! People pleasing? Oh yeah...it's a little demon that I cannot completely put to rest, even at the age of 53. But thankfully, I am usually conscious of WHEN it 'happens' and can more readily nip it in the bud. Thanks for this post, Susan!

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    1. Thanks so much Heidi! I think it's a tough one for most women. Not sure I'll ever be beyond it but I'm trying! XO

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  14. It's most unfortunate that our society has banished the right to one's own opinion and true freedom of speech. That is all you expressed and evidently it didn't fall into the realm deemed as "nice" by some. Hello! Reality isn't "nice" and all the denial people can conjure up doesn't change that. Some clothing isn't appropriate or attractive on everyone. With a fashion blog, I believe you would be disingenuous not to address these issues and stir up a lively exchange. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for that nice comment....I really appreciate your post.

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