Like Me!

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I came across a post on Facebook from Nikki Sixx this week that got me thinking about making people like you. Not the ‘thumbs up’ icon but I mean thinking about the value people hold on being liked. It was in response to a quote on his page: “To be loved is fortunate but to be hated is to achieve distinction” In reply he put: “SUE,KILLER Quote…I try to achieve a 50/50 reaction from people..50% love me,my music,art etc and 50% don’t get it or just flat detest me…I’ve been on the same mission since i was a kid…Life is a balancing act…Thank YOU..N Whats your outlook on life guys?…..Do you NEED to be loved by everybody?” Nikki’s facebook page had this on Thursday, 9:02am. It can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/nikkisixxofficial (I like to cite!) Ok, so I was thinking about different influences in life that teach you to want to be liked by everyone. Magazines, movies, promotions, red carpet awards, advertisements, all of these things try and shape behavior. The very idea that you have to be liked by as many people as possible can create dysfunction and lead you to act in a way that is against one’s own nature. I think the problem with this concept of being liked by the absolute majority is that it puts the approval of self in the eyes of others and in essence, gives away some of your own power by letting others be the judge. If one isn’t careful then one might not hear the inner self tell you what you want to be and how to live life as we become too busy watching for cues around us and reading other messages. Ugh. It’s especially hard when we surround ourselves with people who support those standards we hold ourselves to. For example if we think that obtaining a Corvette is a symbol of status then we’ll buy one and join the Corvette owner’s club to get that assurance from other owners. I’ve seen it. (never owned a vette for the record but did join the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club) So what about that 50/50 ratio? I’ve been thinking about that for 2 days now and I think the answer just hit me tonight. For me it comes down to whatever ratio helps support me in becoming the most authentic me. I don’t feel the need to have everybody like me anymore, I’m more concerned with staying on a path of self development and doing the things that are most suited to me being me. Along the way I’m going to meet plenty of people who will help me with that and some that will not. I’ll have to foster the relationships that support me in the goal and let go of ones that interfere. I mean, why would you want to spend time with someone who keeps you in a box or tries to change you? Life’s too short. I’ll share a couple stories that shaped me when I was younger. In 1st grade I won an award one month for favorite student in class, voted on by the class itself. I had no idea how I won, I just knew people liked me. It pumped my little 6 year old ego! Then the following month when I didn’t win it I was devastated…Why wouldn’t people like me? The next months I made it a goal to win that award as many times as possible because I knew I was a good kid! In retrospect I think it had to be a different winner every month, but I had no clue. But that shaped me for the next couple years when I moved around a few times and changed schools. I felt it was important to go in and be liked! That sank in a little bit and made me want to be smart in class and be ‘the good kid’ because that’s what people liked (or so I thought). Not bad that I got good grades and stayed out of trouble but my motive was off. I had started becoming a people pleaser. I had reinforcement from adults and people in authority positions and as long as they were happy then the world seemed good (or so my 9 year old mind thought). Fast forward to middle school when I was amid all the chaos of that age level as well as family issues. I had too much inner discord to deal with to effectively please the world around me. Adapting to changes at that age takes energy and at the time there were family issues on top of that so I was really a mess. Ultimately in all of this, due to my behaviors, I was no longer liked at a great extent by peers and even some adults around me. With that (percieved) external support gone I felt lost, weak, unworthy. Perhaps context would help give greater understanding to those feelings but that would take too long to explain in this post, besides this isn’t the therapists couch :p My point is as a young person I found reinforcement in being a people pleaser but in reality I was not true to myself. I needed to deal with the issues at hand and work on my confidence issues that my 14 year old self was facing and by putting the approval and power outside myself I never had the strength to make that happen. It’s OK, I learned to do that later and now appreciate the value of that lesson 🙂 So really I’m not in support of doing whatever it takes to get approval, I’d be a terrible politician having to look at poll numbers constantly. But I have learned the value in acting true to yourself and accepting the help of those who cross that more authentic path. It’s easier accepting the love and support of those around me that love and support me for who I am. It’s also more authentic and I have a strong gratitude to my support network. I think it’s easy to say it’s OK to be disliked in some capacity. -J

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