We are all social beings. This means that connecting with other people is essential for our survival and emotional health. Nobody can thrive with zero human contact, and loneliness has been proven to lead to negative outcomes for our health. But at the same time, this has the unfortunate side effect that we all have a hard time dealing with rejection and being disliked. It can make us choose to stay in a bad situation or be overly accommodating. Here is why you need to accept being disliked and how to do it.
It’s a simple truth that not everyone will like us, and this might happen for reasons that have nothing to do with who we are. It will just occur. But even if we recognize this on a rational level, on an emotional level, this is not quite so easy to accept because we may feel like it is somehow our failure that others don’t like us. The first step to overcome this fear and worry is to give ourselves permission to be disliked, for whatever reason.
It’s not quite as easy as that, of course. You also need to get more comfortable with rejection, as rejection and dislike go hand in hand. If you can’t say no to people or find yourself doing what others want, it’s useful to practice it in low-stakes situations. Ask for things you might not get and see how you feel when you get a no. Little by little, you will see that you can survive it.
Rejection does not feel nice but it can be necessary. We can’t have others walking all over us or do things we truly don’t want to do just to make sure someone likes us. We are doing ourselves and those around a disservice.
You should also ask yourself if you want all people to like you. Do you want to be liked by people you hate or by those with different values? Do you want to be accepted by everybody at the cost of who you are? Reframe being liked as something that is nice but not essential in every case.
Focus your efforts instead on the people you want to like you. But even if they don’t, you can be OK. A useful tip is to practice self-compassion. Avoid harsh labels for yourself and stop thoughts that bash you for not being likeable enough. Breathe through your emotions and see how you can be fine in all situations.