This bucket of nuggets is going to be a three-part series. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to cover any relational topic in just one article. Just like; you can’t fix a relational issue overnight, even when reconciliation happened. The elements of rebuilding trust are a process, not a potion. This first blog focuses on how to love the people who don’t like you.
There are a few good people in my life that I can go to, to do a “self-check”. And, I know that these individuals are fully capable and willing to shoot straight and tell me what I need to hear. It’s the perfect (necessary) combination of bitter and sweet. They don’t exhibit fear in telling the truth, and they never exhibit judgement. Here is the thing, I’m willing to be vulnerable and transparent. I’ve given these people permission to speak into my life. I trust them. I honor them. I appreciate them. Every conversation is followed up with love and accountability, even if their response was a bit difficult to hear.
I was never a horrible person. I didn’t decide, at a young age, to grow up and struggle through life and relationships. I’ve come a long way from being co-dependent, intense, needy, and just plain ol’ annoying. Was I usually fun in social environments? Absolutely! Did I love people above and beyond? I sure did. Place me in a quiet space, and it becomes evident that the way I viewed myself was not very nice. I decided to not burden my peeps with personal struggles. That is what made me selfish… initially.
Life has a forceful way of inciting growth through and after storms, but only if you allow those experiences to transform you in healthy and positive ways. You might not like this insight, but YOU ultimately choose how to respond to your teachable moments. If you choose to be angry, grumpy and self-hating, then that’s the choice you’ve made and your choice to carry. It becomes dangerous when you hand someone that load without asking their permission (more explanation in the next blog post).
There are several factors that have developed the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of who you are in this very moment. The secret to progress is recognizing those factors and being able to look back into the past to understand the present, while living IN the present and anticipating the future. But what does this say about the people who knew you back then, and avoid you today? How do we love those people even though they don’t necessarily “like us?”
1. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes
Whoa, whoa, whoa… wait a minute Lee, I thought this was a blog about how to love OTHER people who don’t like ME?
It’s important that you don’t “hump the swag” (carry luggage on your back). Take off the weight you’ve been carrying, examine the contents, decide what you can let go of (if not all of it), and ask yourself what you’ve learned from it. Then absorb it, apply it, and leave it there, forgiving yourself. Doing this, lightens the load. Forgiving yourself in all areas of your life promotes closure and growth. You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself. And when you like and love who you are, the reaction of others won’t matter as much (as long as you’re not being a jerk). You’ll soon begin to draw closer to the people who WANT to be in your life. When that happens, and you see the benefits of it, it’s easier to love others who don’t like you. Someone does not need to like you, in order for you to love them.
2. Don’t Be a Whooperups
I found a generous list of old sayings: a “Whooperups” means, “inferior noisy singers.” Now, the original context of the saying is related to literal singers (eg. William Hung). But for blog purposes, I’m going to change the context and relate it to… “choose your words carefully”.
Think of three people you really don’t care to be around. What is it about them that gets under your skin? Is it truly personality issues? Is it jealousy/intimidation issues? Is it a situational issue? Did they hurt you? Regardless of the what or why, the best thing you can do to love those people is to honor them with your words when their names are brought up and they are not around. This goes for both people you don’t necessarily desire to be around, and, it relates to being able to love those who don’t necessarily desire to be around you (whether they have a valid reason or not).
Choose your words carefully. You might be referring to someone inaccurately, even after 7 years of distancing yourself from them. They may not be the same person. If you desire others to see you in a new light today, then it wouldn’t be fair to not extend that same desire to someone else.
Oh, how I’ve struggled with this. When it came to me chewing on not “humping the swag” and not being a “whooperups”, my jaw got tired. I sat back and wondered how true these applications were in my life. I had to lay down a few self-hate beliefs this afternoon. I can’t write a blog making suggestions about loving others who don’t like you, if I wasn’t willing to follow the same suggestions. I believe most of us forget that we are loveable and likeable. And, I believe most of us struggle with believing that every other human is loveable and likeable. I know I’ve put way too much weight on what others think about me. I second guess decisions because I’m unsure of how others will react or respond. Have you ever thought, “maybe those people that are hard to like are dealing with the exact same thoughts”? We can’t desire for others to love us when we ourselves aren’t willing to love others.
Above, I mentioned giving certain people permission to speak into my life. Those are the trusted people that iron out confusion and influence my decisions. They are proof that I’m loveable and likeable… even when I struggle with being co-dependent, intense, needy, and annoying. They know how to turn my heart knob down to a simmer.
You see, when we all stop trying to convince others that we are a good and better person, that we’ve learned from our experiences, mistakes and triumphs, then we stop requiring validation from them. In turn, we don’t require others to prove their growth, and the change in their hearts, to us either. We just love. We love, love, love. We look at ourselves in a mirror first, before looking at them. We see that they are just as broken as we are. Empathy is contagious, it’s effective and absolutely necessary if we want to love and be loved. Loving yourself is really freakin’ hard! How can you possibly expect others to even like you, when you don’t love yourself? It NEEDS to start with you.
So, how do we love others who don’t like us? We love ourselves first.