Does it really matter if other people like you?
Yes and no.
Yes, because we are tribal animals and we feel social exclusion as physical pain. But no, because not everyone is going to like you. Only some people will. And that’s ok.
Everyone gets through life with people they like and people they don’t like. You are the same. It’s ok to not get along with someone. Sometimes people click and sometimes they don’t.
Where we make the mistake is in thinking we need a certain person to like us and we get so caught up chasing them or focusing on them that we ignore ALL the other people who might like us.
They key to finding the people who will like you – is to be yourself. Yeah – I know it’s cliche, but there is a reason all the adults keep repeating it. It’s true.
The more you are yourself, the more you attract people like you to you. If you hide yourself, people can’t find you. And that’s a tragedy because there are a lot of kids who feel isolated and alone and who want a friend.
When kids see others being open about the things they like, it gives them permission to be open about the things they like as well. It creates a wonderful positive feedback loop.
Plus – the best way to respond to people who are trying to make you feel bad about yourself, is to be happy with who you are.
Confidence is not something anyone gets magically. This is not a some people have it and some don’t sort of skill. You just have to practice it. And you do that by liking yourself enough that other people’s negativity just doesn’t bother you. And they way you get to the point you like yourself enough to not be bothered by negative people, is by doing the things that bring you joy.
So if you like opera – geek out on opera. Like anime? Geek out on anime. Like sports? Geek out on sports. Just don’t denigrate people who don’t like the same things you do. There is space in this world for everyone.