“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou
I grew up wanting to like everyone. It was more than a want. It turned into an obsession that transpired from wanting to like my mom. She’s been gone for years, but I still struggle with those feelings of dislike. I wanted so badly to fix her and make her easy to be around.
At a young age, I figured out a way to take care of myself around her and others like her. It worked for a while. I made up people to be who I wanted them to be the same as authors make up their characters. I got so good at it, I should have written novels instead of nonfiction.
If the unlikable person lied, I imagined they were confused. If they argued, I said I appreciated hearing another viewpoint. If they complained, I overlooked it and doubled my efforts to be positive. If they spoke with great authority, I thanked them for straightening me out even when they were wrong. If they were all around unlikable, I befriended them.
The past month brought up old feelings when I had to do business with two difficult people. I tried hard to overcome how I felt about them. I caught myself pretending they were likable and making excuses for their behavior.
The truth is, I can love them, but I can’t like unlikable people. Trying to do so defies some law of nature just like falling up defies gravity. I’m grateful for seeing people in a positive light, but there are times to take off our rose-colored glasses and confront trouble and troublemakers.
I want to trust myself to stop pretending everything’s okay and stop making excuses for other people. Be honest about how I feel if that’s appropriate. Stay away when it’s possible. Set boundaries when necessary.
Mostly I want to be sure I don’t turn unlikable while dealing with someone else who is.
How do you deal with unlikable people? How do you keep from joining in and being unlikable too? I love hearing from you.
In This Together,