Good Evening Cyber-Friends,
Today, I want to talk about a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and that topic is not being liked. Chances are we’ve all not been liked, and have in turn not liked, so are familiar with the concept.
Well, a few days ago I found out that someone I work with doesn’t like me. Cue shocked and horrified gasps, if you please. Apparently this person thinks I’m arrogant and rude because I walked away when he was talking to me, this one time. I don’t remember if I did or didn’t, so let’s presume that I did indeed walk away when this guy was talking to me, and let’s add “forgetful” to my list of faults for good measure.
I don’t want to talk about whether or not this guy is right to dislike me, he clearly has his own reasons and feels justified in not being my biggest fan, and neither do I want to “poor me” at you and make you feel sorry for me.
The truth is that I find it quite funny to not be liked. It sounds strange, but there’s something quite freeing about knowing that someone doesn’t like you. It makes me wonder how I can play with it. Should I always go and sit with this guy and disturb his alone time? Should I start a conversation and then abruptly leave it? Should I talk about how popular I am, or ask to borrow money? The possibilities are limitless!
I was surprised to notice that I didn’t take it personally. I just thought “if that one occasion is what he’s basing his opinion on, and not all the other the conversations or interactions that we’ve had, then it says more about him than it does about me”. I think I’m normally really nice to people (if all you’ve read are my recoveringyogi posts, I do, however, understand why you may beg to differ) so to be liked, to not have achieved my goal of putting everyone at ease, is kind of fun. The sky hasn’t fallen down, World War 3 hasn’t broken out, in fact nothing about my world has changed.
I’m not a better or a worse person that I was before I found this out, I’m not happier or sadder, or even nicer or less nice. Nothing in my world has changed. The only thing that’s different is that I know that there exists a big, fat ego that doesn’t like my big, fat ego. Which is fine.
The thing is, our likes and dislikes say much more about us, than they do the object of our attention. If we both see a tree, I might find it ugly and you might find it beautiful, but the tree itself is exactly the same, and that we’re discussing is how we relate to the tree, rather than anything intrinsic to the tree. Like art, we generally accept that art makes different people see or feel difference things, but that the artwork in question is neither better nor worse depending on people’s reactions. In that sense, I think people are a lot like a work of art. They provoke different reactions in different people, even when they act in exactly the same way.
I read in an Adyashanti book (I don’t remember which one) about this very topic. In it, he said that when someone says “I love you”, they are actually talking more about their internal state than than they are about you and your lovability.
If I say “I love you” I’m expressing something about me, not about you. Whilst it is nice to know that we are loved, my loving you doesn’t make you better or worse, and “I love you” a statement that only gives information about the speaker. Kind of like saying “I’m hot” or “I’m hungry”, we’re just expressing something about us, not about the other person.
All this leads me to believe that life really isn’t that personal. Everyone’s just poodling about, trying to live their lives as best they can, carrying a fuckload of conditioning and beliefs with them, that are sometimes hurt and sometimes soothed by the other sets of well meaning, conditioning carrying people that they meet.
So next time you don’t like someone, remember that this is more about you than them and ask yourself why rather than just deciding that they’re a bitch. And next time someone doesn’t like you remember that their opinion doesn’t make a tiny bit of difference to who you are.