They Know Not What They Do!
Some people just don’t like us.
For whatever reason, these ‘difficult’ people define us (and/or what we do), with a rejecting negativity. When we can’t avoid them, we suffer all kinds of conflicting thoughts and emotions.
We may try to let it go. And we might succeed at some level. Nonetheless, no matter how persuasively we tell ourselves “we won’t let it bother us”, rejection is bitter. We possess an innate urge to love and laugh with everybody. And the negative energy, of those who don’t like us, eventually wears thin even those with the thickest of skin.
We may try to take it on the chin; maybe convince ourselves that “it is good feedback…it keeps me on my toes”. However, try as we might, to turn the ‘manure to fuel’, the critical bite of those who don’t like us, has the potential to push us into a personal crisis.
Confusion, frustration and hopelessness are the byproducts of sharing space with those who don’t like us. It is an experience that, for adults, often occurs in situations at work or with family wherein the unfriendly dismissals are difficult to sidestep.
It is a most unfortunate circumstance, when the ‘difficult’ person is someone for whom we have responsibility (and/or may, at some level, care about); such as a child, a patient, a customer, or an employee. We not only suffer the loss, but we are left asking, “how do we care for people who have shown that they don’t care for us?” In my experience, there is no easy answer.
Truth is, there will be people who just won’t like us. We won’t change their opinion. Attempts feed their fire. And they have the potential to make life absolutely miserable.
Because we can’t change the way some think negatively of us, we need learn to limit the harm. In my experience, this has much to do with not giving away our ‘personal power’. Which means (in this article) not letting our thoughts, emotions, and subsequent action (or inaction) be dictated (excessively) by what others think about us.
When we give up our personal power, and another’s opinion dictates our moods (and possibly our health) beyond the limits of tolerable, we have over empowered that ‘difficult’ person. We have, at that point, moved beyond any healthy self-evaluation and slipped into self-doubt. We have, as they say, been ‘triggered’ wherein “we lose our footing and slip into a sinkhole” (S. Vanderleek, Life Coach and published author).
In limiting the harm created by the energy of those who don’t like us, and from whom we cannot easily escape, it is important that we bolster our sense of what we stand for. It is important that we get around people that do like us and whose counsel we respect. In conversation with them, we revisit the values that give our life focus and bring us a sense of well-being. The gentle respect of those who do like us will be a balm that heels and a consolation that reinforces (if not, then builds) our self-esteem.
As I see it, there is no quick and certain way to manage the experience of not being liked by somebody. It is a hurtful experience. And it can trigger a lot of shame and guilt. For this reason, one of the most poignant teachings of Jesus (an example of pure centeredness) came not by lecture, but in reaction to those who crucified him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.