You have people come into your life shockingly and surprisingly. You have losses that you never thought you’d experience. You have rejection and you have learn how to deal with that and how to get up the next day and go on with it.Taylor Swift
Ever been rejected? Judged? Criticized? Been told that you suck, or that thing you do sucks?
This is an especially hard subject for sensitive people. We don’t have that thick skin that helps protect others.
It hurts to be rejected.
It hurts to be misunderstood.
It hurts to be judged.
And it can make us afraid to keep being ourselves and showing ourselves.
There are some things we can do to help us cope better. Here are my favourites:
- Remember that what other people think of you is none of your business. Instead, get busy on being comfortable with yourself, liking yourself, respecting yourself.
- Understand that sometimes we misinterpret another person’s signals or emotions, and we may be incorrect in thinking they don’t like us.
- Know that humans are complex and irrational. Someone might not like you because you disagree on politics or which direction a toilet roll should roll. You might remind them of their mean next-door-neighbour, someone who rejected THEM, or that bully from school. They might not even make a conscious connection to that fact – instead, it is a protection mechanism for them that has NOTHING to do with you.
- Sometimes people like us, or they certainly don’t dislike us, but they behave differently to our expectations, and we judge their ‘love’ based on measuring their behaviour against what we have come to expect from other people. For example, some families hug, and some don’t. If we come from a family of huggers, we might interpret people not hugging us as a sign of rejection, when in fact non-huggers just have a different approach to relationships.
- Embrace the fact that you don’t need to ‘fix’ it if they don’t like you or your work. It’s better that you know straight up, so you can move on. Of course if it’s an ex and you have to share parenting, or it’s your spouse’s parents, you may need to find a way to exist within each other’s Universe that minimizes stress and aggravation. There are resources and techniques to help us cope with difficult people. Seek them out.
- Stay safe. Value yourself and your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being above what other people think of you, and don’t hang out with people who are mean, who put you down and treat you like dirt. Seriously. Go read a book, watch a movie, learn a language, make art. Do anything other than knowingly put yourself back into situations that distress and devalue you.
- Know that you don’t have to appeal to everyone. Don’t change yourself to please others. It’s NEVER worth it. Be yourself – and the people who will be drawn to you in love and in life will be there for the right reasons. You can’t get better than that!
As to strategies for ‘winning people over’? Is it worth putting energy into that kind of a goal? We can become so obsessed with the one relationship that isn’t working that we neglect the good ones in our lives. Or we keep modifying our behaviour, trying to change into someone we’re not, until we no longer know who we are anymore. It might be time to look at why you have such a strong need to be liked, or why you are reacting so strongly to your current situation.
If you are pushed into a fear or flight response, if you find yourself moving into anxiety, illness or depression as a result of a difficult relationship seek counselling. Not to ‘heal’ the relationship, but to give you strategies for better coping with the situation, or helping you walk away, if that is what’s needed.
The more that you develop a healthy respect and regard for yourself, and find relationships that support you, the less it will bother you when someone else doesn’t like you.
Something that has helped me enormously is to realise that everyone is on their own path, and our paths may go in opposite directions or may only marginally intersect. That’s okay. We are all different and that’s what makes life so interesting. It’s about choices. No need to take it personally. You don’t have to like them, and they don’t have to like you.
Practice emotional maturity, kindness and use good manners. There is no need to return dislike or negative emotion. Limit your exposure or walk away. Always step away from aggression and bullying, or call it out if safe to do so. No-one needs to put up with that kind of behaviour – whether it’s in the workplace or your own family.
Know that some relationships will change over time. People can grow away from each other, or towards each other. Some friendships take time to develop. One of the happiest couples I know (and they’ve been married over twenty years!) couldn’t stand each other when they first met.
From a spiritual perspective, this has worked for me with great effect:
Build up a feeling of love and compassion in your heart. Then think of the person who doesn’t like you. Hold their face in your mind. Say to yourself “I forgive you. I love you and I bless you and I set you free. Go well in the world.” Really do all you can to mean those words as you say them.
Then think of yourself, and say “I love you (insert your name). I forgive you and I bless you and I set you free. All is well.”
Most importantly, be true to yourself.
I’m sending so much love and support your way.
Hugs, friendship and encouragement, Nicole xx