- Do you need people to like you?
- Are you looking for approval in all the wrong places?
- Do you feel like you have to modify your behaviour in certain situations?
- Do you avoid conflict?
- Do you mask up in the company of certain folk?
I know that by making myself vulnerable, we will connect at a deeper level. Being vulnerable takes courage. In answer to the above thought-provoking questions, I find myself thinking:
Do I really need other people to like me?
Honest answer: I don’t understand when I meet somebody that doesn’t like me. That’s not because I’m the best thing since sliced bread. It’s actually because I doubt myself. When I was talking to one of my frustrated clients about a frenemy situation, she said: ‘What is there not to like? I’m a nice person!’
Do you know what? I couldn’t agree more. She is a nice person. A really really nice person. Spot the problem? Nice people self-doubt. We wonder what is wrong with us. There is nothing wrong with us of course. Oh apart from being an imperfectly perfect human being with insecurities, doubts, strengths and weaknesses.
When somebody doesn’t like you, then all there is to know is that they are missing out or they are not a good fit for you or you are their mirror (showing them bits about themselves that they are uncomfortable with).
My clients need to be liked was keeping her locked into a dance of ‘love me, love me not’ with a fellow class mate whose treatment of her was quite shabby. Are you are dancing to the beat of that ‘please like me’ drum too?
Do I need other people’s permission to be myself?
Hell no! That is totally giving your power away. This means your likeability rating is therefore based on what other people think of you. That is a dangerous place to be because some people when they have too much power abuse it and you. Other people’s opinions define who you are and you are defined by their view of the world, not who you truly are (and who knows? They may need to take a trip down to Spec Savers). We are not in control of other people and so they will think and say what they like about us whether we like it or not.
Am I modifying my behaviour in certain situations?
We all are to a certain extent. You know, when you politely smile and say: ‘That’s OK’ after somebody has clipped the back of your heels with their supermarket trolley or when you say you don’t mind doing something, when actually you’d rather be de-scaling your bath taps. That doesn’t make you a nice person, that makes you somebody who will end up being full of resentment and on the verge of losing it when just one more person needs you to be really nice!
I sometimes wish I could take the toddler approach to life. I’m not sure I’d be very popular if I fell asleep when people stopped me in Waitrose to tell me their problems or how about if I shouted ‘NOOOO!’ at the next person who emails me for free advice. There I’ve said it now and I feel so much better.
Maybe I just need to work on my boundaries? Huh tell me about it. It’s a life long project. Or maybe I need to get comfortable with the uncomfortableness of people not liking me? *curls toes over in Converse and grimaces*
Could I say no and still be a nice person? OK. OK. I don’t want to be a nice person any more.
I want to be free to be me.
Am I masking up in the company of certain folk?
This would be about their judgement then? Hiding my fears (weak), hiding my anger (moody and unreasonable) and my sadness (so sensitive, just get over yourself) or hiding my strengths (big fat attention seeking show off). Yuck. We have these terrible judgemental thoughts which mean we don’t feel safe to be vulnerable. We make these judgements and assume other people are making them too.
How does this relate to parenting and your child?
You can probably see where I’m going with this. I have written a blog post about it before.
What I want you to know is:
You are enough. You are enough just as you are
By the very loveliness of you, your children will pick up on that comfort you feel from being in your own skin. Not your struggle to be perfect but more your good intentions and your whole hearted effort. Your courage to show your imperfections. Nobody expects you to know it all.
‘I don’t know Poppet, but we can find out!’ ‘……Daddy made a mistake and he wants to put that right!’…..‘Mummy got really cross this morning because we were late. I’m sorry I shouted at you!’….
When you love yourself unconditionally, your likeability rating goes off the scale. Allow your children to be who they are as often as possible. I love this Daring Greatly poster by Brene Brown (Vulnerability Reseacher from Texas) as I think it would be a great reminder to have on my fridge door.
Maybe it’s a print off for your fridge? Can you do it?
Have a go and tell me what a difference it makes to your family. I like to get feedback from you (maybe I need to read this article again LOL!). Now where is my likeability score?
Love Smiley x