They Don’t Have to Like You, You Have to Like You

Art by Laura Klinke

Are you obsessed with being liked? Have you molded yourself to be more acceptable to certain people? Are you a chameleon in social situations? Do you hang out with people you don’t even really like just to have some company?

Is it your mission to change the mind of someone who doesn’t like you?

Do you make decisions based on how others will perceive you, and not what you actually want?

Learning to be ok with people not liking you is liberating. Becoming who you truly are is one of the most beautiful human experiences, and not only does it open you up to deep fulfillment, but you also open yourself up to the people who see, accept, and love the real you, and not just some washed out version.

Magic happens in that moment where you say, “fuck it! So what, who cares! I am who I am!” You step into your power. You lose some baggage. Your life becomes a lot more fun.

I remember, in the throes of my eating disorder, my weight loss was attracting a lot of attention, and I remember just wanting to blend in, not cause a stir, and go unnoticed. So the girl in the formerly wild outfits, with rainbow sneakers and neon fishnets became the girl in navy t shirts, jeans, and brown sneakers. No offense if this is your look, but these are not colors I seek out. The opinionated girl with acrylic paint and ink stains on her hands was locked up and made quiet so as not to shake anything up. I was miserable.

Don’t worry, the wild girl came back with a vengeance and I haven’t seen that brown sneaker girl in many years, probably because she never existed! She was a shadow of a person! She was inauthentic. She was dust, sad and hungry dust.

If you feel like you’re a shell of a person, scared to step into your authenticity, know that it’s a lot scarier in the long run to walk through life faking it.

Of course, this isn’t a call to overshare with coworkers, or even reveal your full self if your inclination is to be a bit more private and reserved. This is to say, instead, live absolutely authentically in a way that feels good to your soul. Own your likes, past, desires, dreams, lifestyle, and choices. Be alone enough to know what those are. Quiet the outside world often so you can hear what your soul has to say.

Isn’t it fantastic to think that we are all unique beings, born with individual preferences, personality traits, physical traits, desires, and have all experienced a wide range of experiences and perceptions that make us who we are?

It’s so natural to go with the status quo, to wear what everyone is else is wearing, to do what everyone else is doing for the sake of fitting in. Our desire to fit in stems from survival. If we were kicked out of the tribe as cavemen, our chances for survival dropped. We didn’t want to be seen as an “outsider,” and thus, a potential threat, and get accidentally killed.

Of course we don’t want to be shunned by our community today, either, with human connection, friendship, relationships, and networking all relying pretty heavily on not being the cave-dwelling town freak, depending on the town. Shit, even a snow storm makes you realize you want to be on good terms with your neighbors. This isn’t about isolating yourself from the world, or being a dick to people who are not your cup of tea. This is about living authentically, as yourself, and if someone doesn’t like it, choosing to not let it bother you, and trusting that the people who “get” you will stay in your life, or walk into it. This is about prioritizing authenticity over fitting in and being liked.

In Feng Shui, in order to attract abundance, it is recommended you de-clutter, to make room for abundance in your life. The same is true of anything in our lives, we have to cut out bullshit habits and even relationships to make room for better ones. There are only so many hours in a day, just as there is only so much space in our homes.

Can you stand alone in your uniqueness? Can you be the only one who votes “Yes” in a sea of “no”? Can you tolerate being judged, being disliked, and being the object of gossip in order to stand for what you believe in?

It’s natural to want to be liked. It feels good, but does it feel good at the cost of stifling yourself and shape shifting? Does it feel good enough to potentially lose out on your deepest dreams and desires because of what other people might think? Does it feel good enough to not wear the fabulous outfits you want to rock, because you don’t want to stick out? What about not standing for a cause you believe in, for fear of ridicule?

Your life is art, and our tastes in art vary, and that’s part of what makes art so great. Create a life that you love, that comes from your soul, and express your most authentic and wild self. How boring this world would be without diversity.

This is a call to step into your divine uniqueness and own it. If someone doesn’t like it, it may feel uncomfortable for a moment, but in the long run it doesn’t matter, and the more practiced you are at living authentically, the quicker you get over it.

How empowering it is to live from your heart and stand in your power despite what others think.

What if David Bowie never rocked his iconic Ziggy Stardust look? What if J.K. Rowling had continued to take shitty office jobs, and kept her stories to herself? Often, the things that are edgy and weird shape culture. Many of the things that we love were once outlandish ideas.

Don’t give in to peer pressure. Spend enough time in solitude to figure out what it is you live for, what lights you up, and do that. Do it with your whole heart and be confident in your decisions.

Do life as it feels good to your soul. Question if the things you are creating for yourself are what you really want for your life. It’s ok to change course. It’s ok for your desires to be constantly evolving and in a state of flux. It’s ok to change majors. It’s ok to drop out of school. It’s ok to quit your job and move across the country. It’s ok to get a divorce. It’s ok to sell all your possessions and travel abroad. It’s ok to experiment. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to cut out toxic people and spend some time alone before finding the people who are right for you. It’s ok to realize your sense of style doesn’t actually resonate with you and to reinvent your look. It’s ok to follow the calls of whatever it is you day dream about, whatever it is that lights you up like a little kid. It’s ok to do the things your soul is begging you to do and to not be sorry for it.

Own who you are. Even, and especially, if you live in a place where uniqueness is not celebrated or accepted. Give them something to talk about. Give them some entertainment. Color their world a little and trust that you will find your place in this one eventually.

Your uniqueness is powerful and a gift, so treat it as such. It doesn’t matter what they think, it matters what you think and how you feel.

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