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  • Writer's picturePat Birnie

The Hardest Lesson

Such wise words from Robin Sharma. When I first heard this a few years ago, it struck me as as really powerful. So many of us are people pleasers and really want everyone to like us. Some of us more so than others (my hand is up)! I have shared this concept many times and perhaps pretend that I believe it, but I've come to realize that I have a ways to go.

Think about it -- you are a pretty nice person, your actions are never meant to be hurtful or malicious, you are kind to others, donate to charity, respect the environment, don't steal....I could go on, but you get the idea. You have worked hard at being a good person and treating others with respect. becomes clear that "someone" doesn't really like you - what??!! We have all experienced this, but I ask you - can you just shrug it off and think - "none of my biz"? Remember you did nothing wrong, so really why do you care? Of course if it's someone close to you, a loved one, well we need to understand what the issue is, but in ALL other instances it shouldn't be a big deal at all. Hmmm, easier to say than to live - why is this so difficult??!!

An experience from a few years ago comes to mind, and it has a funny ending. We owned a small women's gym and part of my role as owner and trainer was to motivate members and (I felt) ensure that had fun and kept coming back. I know some of you are wondering how having fun and working out can be used in the same sentence, but bear with me! One lady finished her workout and as she left asked me (in an irritated voice) "why do you always have to be so perky?". She left and I was left dumbfounded. I cannot tell you how much this upset me. I couldn't sleep that night, which was something considering the hours I was working and how tired I was! My husband tried to help by telling me that 1. I need to develop thicker skin and 2. Not everyone is going to like me. #2 was a hard one as I really want everyone to like me. Letting go of this is something I've worked at over the years and for sure I have slightly thicker skin. I am also aware that there are some people that I don't really like; there's not anything wrong with them , but they just aren't my cup of tea. I suppose that works both ways doesn't it? Oh, here's the funny ending: I continued to let this comment eat me up for a couple of days, the same member came in later that week and flippantly said "Oh sorry about the other day, I was just have a bad day". Really??? Wow what a huge wast of energy on my part - lesson learned! Or was it?

It's even more difficult when someone close to you that you really care about seems upset with you. Of course the best thing is to have a conversation and find out the issue, but on occasion it may just be the other individual's issue and we need to let it go. How though? Am I the only one that obsesses over this stuff? I suspect I'm not alone as a quick google search comes up with numerous articles on this subject. This one from Psychology Today cites several great points. "To feel accepted is a nearly universal human desire" -- yes it is! Next time you are obsessing about a perceived slight, think about this: "people would care a lot less about what others think about them if they knew how little others think about them." So true!

I encourage you to check out the article as it has some excellent points - from letting go of perfection to keeping things in perspective. Remember "you will never be able to make everyone like you, no matter what you do." Perhaps my husband is wiser than I give him credit for, but don't tell him I said that!

How do you handle these issues? I'd love to hear your wise words.

Pat xo


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