The Value of Being Disliked | Robin Sharma
How to Accept Being Disliked
It's hard to please everybody all the time. Whatever you do, and no matter how hard you try, there will always be certain people who dislike you. Sometimes there are steps you can take to get people to like you more, but other times there is nothing you can do except learn to deal with it. You can learn to accept being disliked as a normal part of life that everyone experiences, and also take steps to improve yourself and become more self-confident so that you are not as bothered by being disliked in the first place.
Keeping a Positive Attitude
Recognize that your feelings are normal.If being disliked or rejected hurts you, rest assured that you are not too sensitive or imagining things; it hurts to be disliked, even if you don't particularly like the person who dislikes you!
- It's totally normal to feel angry, anxious, jealous, or sad if you experience social rejection. Feelings of rejection can even result in physical symptoms like the inability to sleep and a lowered immune response, which might lead to illness.
Keep it in perspective.Sure, some people dislike you, but other people like you. Figuring out which people's opinions should matter to you, and learning to ignore the rest, is a life-long challenge for many people.
- Ask yourself: Who are the people who dislike you? Is it only one person, a few people, or a whole group of people? Have you done anything to deserve being disliked? Could there be a misunderstanding or a rumor that has caused people to dislike you?
- Once you figure out who dislikes you and why, you can ask yourself "Does their opinion of you matter?" If the person is not an important part of your life, recognize that everyone has some people who don't particularly like them, and this person's opinion of you shouldn't matter. He or she is not central in your life or a factor in your happiness.
Look for acceptance elsewhere.If someone dislikes you, one way to deal with it is to be sure that you have a support system that accepts and loves you. Having a few people who dislike you won't be as big of a deal.
- In fact, your brain produces opioids in response to positive social interactions, so having a few friends you can rely on can help to counter the pain of social rejection from those who dislike you.
- If making friends is hard for you, check out this helpful wikiHow article for tips on meeting and making new friends.
Don't get angry.It's common to feel angry if you are disliked for no reason or for reasons beyond your control, but lashing out doesn't make things better. In fact, it is likely to make it worse.
- Aggressive people are often seen as threatening, which can cause even more social rejection.
- Try to redirect feelings of anger by breathing deeply, focusing on your surroundings, and channeling your energy into other activities like yoga, running, or weight training.
Keep your integrity.If someone dislikes you, don't let them get to you and change who you are. Keep your integrity by responding with respect, honesty, and patience.
- Having compassion for others is key. Remember that there could be a million reasons why someone dislikes you that have nothing to do with you! Maybe you remind the person of someone who has hurt her in the past.
- In fact, social scientists have found that some people are just predisposed to be "haters." If the person who dislikes you also seems generally negative toward others, this person might just have a personality type that thrives on negativity.
Get help if you don't feel better.It's normal to be sad or hurt if someone dislikes you or rejects you, but sometimes those feelings intensify instead of getting better with time. Some people who experience rejection might end up feeling depressed or even suicidal.
- It's important to have someone you can trust that you can ask for help if you start to feel overwhelmed or devastated by being disliked. Talk to a close friend, family member, clergy, or counselor if you need help.
- You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (in the United States) at 1 (800) 273-8255 any time of day or night. You don't have to actually be feeling suicidal to talk to a counselor; they help anyone who is going through a crisis. If you're not in the United States, contact the authorities in your area.
Build self-confidence.The best defense against people who dislike you is to like yourself. When you are confident in yourself, that confidences radiates and other people notice. Self-confidence comes from knowing that you are good enough (self-esteem) and that you are capable (self-efficacy).
- Do an inventory to identify things about yourself that you are confident in versus things that make you self-conscious or insecure. You can start by making a list of all the things you are good at, and a list of things you struggle with. Consider all types of things, like making people laugh, cooking, sticking to a schedule, keeping promises, dancing, etc. You might categorize these things into groups like "social," "emotional," "physical," "cognitive," or others that are important to you.
- Focus on improving negative thoughts and negative "self talk" (the things you say to yourself in your head), especially on the areas that you feel that you are not good at. When you find yourself doubting your ability or thinking negatively, reframe it. Instead of thinking, "I am so bad at math," think about how good you are at looking for details and solving problems, and say to yourself, "I can conquer this math problem!"
Identify the root of why you are disliked.The term "disliked" is not very specific. If you think of someone or something you "dislike," you might really be feeling emotions like ambivalence, disgust, distrust, fear, hurt, resentment, jealousy, or any myriad of combinations of these or other negative emotions.
- If your goal is to reduce the negative feelings someone has for you, you have to identify why it is that you are disliked. Then, you can work on improving that particular area for that particular person. For example, if someone dislikes you because she feels you come on too strong, you can try to tone it down around that person. Or if someone dislikes you because you often break your commitments, you can work on being more consistent and keeping your word.
- Pinpointing why you are disliked might also reveal a simple truth: often times people dislike you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. It is entirely unfair, but completely normal. A person may dislike you because you remind them of someone, because they are just a negative person, or because they are jealous of you-- or a number of other reasons! Sometimes realizing that someone's reasons for disliking you are superficial, absurd, or simply irrelevant to you can help you accept being disliked for what it really is.
Ask someone you trust.If others dislike you at school, work, church, home, or any other place in particular, and you cannot figure out why on your own, you might consider asking someone you trust to help you figure out why.
- Someone who likes you but will be honest with you is best! Let them know that you are trying to understand why others dislike you, and that you need some feedback from someone who knows you well.
- Your trusted friend can help you to recognize the reasons (or lack of reasons) why others might dislike you, and then help you to focus on your own acceptance of the situation.
Dealing With Hostility
Decide when it is time to confront someone.If someone dislikes you, there are often times you can overlook it and go on with your life. Sometimes, however, a person's negative feelings for you might affect your grades, your job, or your ability to meet and get along with other people. In these situations, it might be time to confront the person who dislikes you:
- If the person is discriminating against you or treating you unfairly and is in a position of power over you (such as a teacher, boss, or parent), you may decide that it is time to talk to the person or take legal action.
- If the person is spreading rumors, hurting your reputation, or making your life difficult, you may need to talk to them to find out if there is a way to convince them to stop.
- If the person is sabotaging your relationships, you may need to confront them as well as the people he or she has interfered with. For example, if you have a father-in-law who does not like you, he may be causing other people to dislike you, possibly even including your own spouse.
- If the person who dislikes you is abusing you in any way, including physically, sexually, emotionally, or psychologically, it is time to get help. It is normal for people to dislike other people, but it is never ok for dislike to turn into mistreatment or abuse.
Ask the person herself.This might be awkward, but sometimes the only way to know what is going on or why someone has a problem with you is to have an open conversation with her. If you can't figure out why you are disliked and you've tried asking a friend for help, consider confronting the person directly.
- Try to frame your discussion using "I-phrases." "I-phrases" focus on the speaker's feelings instead of presuming to know what the other person is feeling. Using "I-phrases" helps to keep the other person from becoming defensive.That means instead of saying "Why don't you like me?" keep the focus on your own feelings and say something like "I feel like there is some tension between us. Is there anything I have done or anything I can do to help?"
- Listen to what the person says, and try to understand from her perspective. Try not to become defensive. Think about whether there is any merit to her claims and why she might feel the way she does. Then, think about whether you should try to improve yourself or change your behavior toward her, or if her issues are unreasonable and not worth the effort.
Apologize and make it right.If you've done something to hurt or offend someone and that is the reason that person dislikes you, the best course of action is to try to make it right. There are three components to an effective and sincere apology:
- Say that you regret what happened. You need to clearly say the words, "I'm sorry." Be sure you don't say "I'm sorry you were offended," or "I'm sorry you felt that way," or anything else that places the blame on the other person for misinterpreting your intentions. Instead, be humble, and own the fact that you've hurt someone.
- Offer to make it right. Psychologists call this an "offer of compensation,"and sometimes it literally entails compensation (for example, if you wreck someone's car, you have to fix it or replace it!). But other times compensation means changing your behavior in the future, spending more time together, doing more work at the office or around the house, or other ways of picking up your own slack and improving your behavior in the relationship.
- Let the person know that you are aware that what you did was wrong. In addition to saying you're sorry, you need to say that you violated social norms or expectations. For example, you might say, "I know a husband should not do that," or "I was not being a good friend when I did that."
- Remember that apologizing is as much about helping yourself as it is about righting wrongs. If you are at fault, apologizing can help you to gain perspective and can even lower your levels of stress and anxiety.Just remember that apologizing is only useful if you are at fault and if you are sincerely sorry.
Take it higher up.If you're not at fault and the person is making your life difficult or treating you unfairly, you may need to talk to someone in a position of authority that can help. This might include a supervisor, parent, teacher, or principal.
- In some cases, such as discrimination at work resulting from a boss that dislikes you, you may need to consider hiring a lawyer. While it is not illegal for a boss to dislike you, it could be illegal if it is not just because of your personality but because you are a protected minority (for example, if you are a woman, gay, or a person of color), or if he treats you unfairly because he dislikes you.
Learn to let go.At the end of the day, if you have done everything you can do and are still disliked, you need to give yourself permission to be ok with that. Ultimately, you have to choose to not allow the person who dislikes you to influence you or get you down. It is ok to be disliked.
- Remember that even the most popular and well-loved celebrities in the world are disliked by some people!
QuestionWhy should I apologize if it's being quiet and introverted that offends people? I cannot change that, and even if I could I shouldn't be expected to.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou shouldn't apologize. There's nothing wrong with being quiet and introverted. However, you should still be polite to people. For example, if someone says, "Hi, how are you," it's impolite to just sit there silently, even if you are an introvert.Thanks!
QuestionI've got no friends and no one likes me. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerImagine yourself from other people's perspective. What about you would make others not like you? After you find the problem, force yourself to change it. Being nice is a good start. If you think the problem is related to your appearance, make some subtle changes. Shower more, take care of your hair, deal with any acne you might have, and wear nicer clothing. People tend to judge others on how they look, it's just a part of first impressions. Look nice, and try to be confident and charismatic.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if people don't like me because I don't understand social norms and cues since I'm on the autism spectrum?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo the best that you can to interact well with people and to be kind and friendly, and surrender the results. Some people will like you and some will not, regardless of whether you have autism.Thanks!
What do I do if people don't like me when I try to be kind and caring?
- If you are experiencing a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the United States, or contact your country's authorities for guidance. Remember that everyone feels as if others dislike them at times, and you can overcome this.
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