As a woman navigating life in my late twenties, I find myself constantly excited by new experiences and relationships. I haven’t quite settled into any monotonous routine. My weeks are governed by school and work, I still have a fair share of freedom to roam wild at my leisure, and my weekends are still open to spontaneity. However, the unique challenge is that so much open space gives rise to opportunities for meeting new people and having relationships that often times leave you baffled or even heartbroken.
So, how do we come to accept that not everyone is going to like us? It’s a tough task that might dumbfound even the most meditative of minds.
There are so many different kinds of relationships, so I listed two major types to dissect in the hopes that we can attack issue at hand: accepting that we are not everyone’s cup of tea.
Romantic Relationships: It’s all in the Science of it
This is probably the relationship most folks think of when they think of someone not liking them, and while it might be the most personally painful, it also might be the least damaging in the long run.
I come from the perspective that independence is crucial to my happiness within a romantic relationship, but eventually vulnerability creeps in and the walls come crashing down. So how do we move forward from love that’s lost? What happens after you realize that your partner no longer cares for you?
Many of us have been in several relationships that have ended on these terms, but while the result is inevitably a breakup, the cause of the split varies dramatically. This takes me back to high school chemistry, as I find people and relationships as functioning formulas. Sometimes the elements combine and run smooth as water, but sometimes they combust, burning down a house filled with love within their licking flames.
The important thing to remember is that we all love differently. While my Romeos loved me to their capacity, our goals and values didn’t add up to what either of us wanted. These partnerships are no judgment of these people, but rather an assessment of the danger when our elements combined.
Relationships ultimately teach us something about ourselves: that high school chemistry does come in handy in the real world, that we are valuable as an independent source outside of that association, and that we can survive and thrive when relocated amongst other elements.
It’s also OK for your previous partners to move forward. Jealousy is natural, but just remember that one man’s fire is another man’s water, both necessary for life, so share the warmth and quench your thirst.
Friendships: Sticking with the Pack
It can be argued that this category is the umbrella term for many different kinds of relationships, but I personally find the term “friendship” much more intimate that that. It is the only term that combines two interpersonal statuses. Both “friend” and “relationship” work to create a new experience that differs from other connections. This becomes a pack interested in the well-being of the whole.
I am such a girlfriend girl. I love dinner dates with my girlfriends because I don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing or nervously sweating through my dress. I would always prefer a night in watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and binge eating ice cream with a cheap bottle of wine to free drinks from scheming creeps in the club. I crave the laughter that accompanies their validation of my emotions when a date goes awry and the comfort they offer when life gets hard.
Nothing compares to a tried-and-true friendship. So, how do we reconcile the devastation that occurs when a friendship is lost? People are constantly changing, and sometimes the bond breaks. How do we move forward from a friendship that ends because the two of you have grown in different directions, and your friend ceases to like you?
I have found that life is unpredictable. It has taken me down paths and introduced me to people that I never thought I would care about, and more strangely, enlightened me to the importance of my ability to occasionally stop caring for them.
As someone who puts great stock in my friendships, there have been times when I have had to decide if I was going to let a person continue to damage my self-esteem or move forward in life to pursue my dreams and aspirations without them as a confidant.
People throw punches because of their personal unhappiness. They find ways to make others feel poorly so they can feel like they’re better than someone else. That’s simply human nature. It’s a power game, and once I was awakened to the strategy of confidence, I realized that it is fine with me if someone doesn’t like me, because the truth was that they might not even like themselves.
If someone chooses to not like me for other reasons, like the fact that we grew apart, share different interests, or don’t talk as much, then their friendship is conditional and not worth being upset over.
In this respect, accepting someone isn’t going to like you as a friend is like harvesting a pack of dogs down to the strongest few. I have a group of friends that, regardless of how long it has been, are my true loves. I tell them that all the time because it’s true! Friendship, much like a partnership, is a relationship that you enter unconditionally, otherwise we’re all stray dogs fending for ourselves in a sometimes harsh world. I find I survive much better in my small but adversity-tested pack.
And They Lived Happily Ever After:
That’s the point here, right? The ability to like ourselves becomes paramount because it helps or hinders our relationships with others. At the end of the day, we have ourselves to thank for the life we live. By losing the unproductive relationships that weigh us down, both romantic and friendly, and instead focusing on the relationships that enrich our lives, we are able to travel so much further.
I hope I have explored the ways different relationships lead to disappointment, while others infinitely benefit our lives and ourselves. By knowing the difference, we progress in new and exciting ways. It’s OK that not everyone is going to like us, because focusing on those that do, those who celebrate our successes and prove push us to be better, life gets so much more interesting and happier. Leave a comment below on a time you accepted that not everyone was going to like you.