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Everyone likes the idea of being ‘liked’.

Being liked sure looks good, especially on social media where you can get the numbers on just how popular you and others are; how many followers, how many friends, how many likes, how many comments.

Being ‘liked’ is something that a lot of us strive for and it’s not necessarily something to feel bad about. But when we use being liked as a measure of our worth—especially on social media—our desire to be liked can become pretty unhealthy.

In our heads, we want to think that those around us like us just as much as we like ourselves. It feels unnatural—and downright scary—to think that there are (or will be) people who won’t necessarily like us.

But here’s the big, earth-shattering truth: it’s okay to not be liked by everyone. And here’s why.

Wanting to be liked can force you to change who you are

Being liked typically means fitting in with whatever are the dominant attitudes, behaviours and beliefs of the people around you, so that you aren’t rocking the boat. Usually that means changing the way we dress, the way we talk, the way we behave and our interests.

A change to your identity can be good when it’s done on your own terms, but if you are doing it just to fit in and make others happy and like you, you’re doing it for them, and that’s not healthy.

Not worrying about being liked gives you more freedom to do the things you want

Going along with the crowd can put you in some awkward situations where you may find yourself questioning your actions. Additionally, when you say ‘yes’ to people just to make them happy, you can end up spreading yourself too thin, giving more time to others than yourself. Stay true to yourself and you’ll avoid saying yes to things that you’d rather not do, and yes to the stuff that you actually enjoy.

You can express yourself honestly

When you’re caring too much about what others think of you and if they’ll like you, you end up acting a lot of the time. You can end up avoiding saying, doing and feeling what comes naturally to you. Ultimately, that can put you in some uncomfortable situations, e.g. doing stuff that scares you or makes you feel embarrassed.

It makes you more trustworthy

If you’re only saying and doing things to make others happy, that likely means you’re doing it to avoid conflict, and you’re not being honest about how you’re really feeling. You might say one thing to make someone happy, and the opposite to make someone else feel good. If you’re not comfortable saying what you really feel, people can pick up on that, and may not trust you.

You can inspire others

Everyone—deep down—just wants to be themselves. When we see someone fearlessly being their authentic self, regardless of what others think, we are reminded of our own desire to just be ourselves. Who knows, by being yourself, you might just start a new trend.

But let’s be real, being true to yourself can be hard when there’s such an inbuilt desire to fit in and be liked by the people around us.

To help, here’s some things you can practice to avoid changing your identity just to fit in.

 

Tips for liking you for you

  1. Write some affirmations
    these are positive things about yourself that you can speak or read on the regular to give you a confidence boost and confirm that you are enough (and don’t need to change for anyone). 
  2. Focus your attention on the people that accept you exactly as you are
    they won’t ever expect you to change and are more likely to have your back through the thick and thin. 
  3. Focus your attention on hobbies that give you joy
    Doing things you like is freeing and will naturally make you feel good about yourself. And when others see you enjoying yourself, that feeling can be infectious. If they judge you or make fun of you, then they aren’t worth your time.