Are you navigating though the world by trying to figure out what everybody else think, like and want? It’s very common, but certainly not unproblematic. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It’s impossible. You can’t read minds, can you? Well, then you don’t know what they are thinking. All you have is your own, made up idea of what they think.
2. It’s unfair. Everybody else is a lot of people. They all think, like and want different things. And there is only one of you. It’s not a fair game to try and satisfy everybody else’s needs.
3. It’s counterproductive. The reason we so often try to adjust to other people is that we want them to like us. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but trying to be liked not the best way. Think for yourself; whom do you like and respect more? Someone who is ever-changing and trying to get everyones approval, or someone who is firmly themselves?
4. It doesn’t work. If you want people to like you, you have to be you. Otherwise there is no you there to like. Changing to be liked is therefore futile.
5. You’re looking in the wrong place. What we want from others is often what we are not giving to ourselves. Not because we can’t but because we don’t realize that we can. It is not someone else’s job to like you, it’s your job. Give to yourself what you are chasing from others.
6. It’s manipulative. By trying to make everyone like you, you are trying to control them and not letting them be who they are.
7. It’s selfish. Someone who is constantly adjusting to others may seem like they are doing it for the other person but they are doing it for themselves: “I want you to feel good around me because I can’t stand it if you don’t.”
8. It’s scary. Never knowing where you actually stand can make people uncomfortable. When you are constantly changing people can’t trust you.
9. It’s dishonest. Since it is impossible to be liked by everyone, if you try, you will be inauthentic to at least some of them. You will give them a false image of who you are, and simply not be genuine or truthful.
If you recognize yourself in the pattern of constantly changing and wanting to be liked I invite you to reflect on this question: What do I like?
Many of my clients go completely blank when I ask them this. They are so used to, and skilled at, trying to figure out what everyone else likes that they never thought about what they themselves like, want and think about things.
The first step before showing your real self to other people, is figuring out for yourself who you are.