A Little Known Way of Liking others

Liking someone as used in this context means the feeling you have when you think the person has nice, pleasant, attractive and kind attributes. That’s how I understand the phrase like someone.

It’s funny, but while I was growing up, I was not a well-liked person. I remember people always looking for the opportunity to get into fights with me. I always felt sad that people did not like me and this made me withdrawn. I also hated myself because I believed that a good person must be well-liked and if I wasn’t, it meant I was a bad person.

In retrospect, I can see that why I was not well-liked was because I was a very impulsive person. I used to talk without thinking and of course, most people don’t like that. I was also a person who didn’t like others but felt entitled to be liked. Twisted teenage mind, right?

I struggled with misanthropic tendencies for years until I visited an online forum where the OP posted that he doesn’t like people. He got a number of responses, but the one that stood out was a remark that a person who doesn’t like others doesn’t like himself very much and is just projecting his dislike for himself onto others. That made a deep impression on me and I set out to start liking myself, instead of forcing myself to like others.

In my quest to like myself, I decided to practice self-validation, which I wrote about in my blog post, validation in our friendships.  I consciously try to be compassionate with myself whenever I make a mistake or do something that goes against my values and ideals. I do this by telling myself, It is normal and understandable for me to have done xyz. For instance, if I got into a shouting match with my aunt and I began to feel bad about it, I tell myself, It is normal and understandable for me to have gotten into a shouting match with my aunt. Shortly afterward, I see just how normal and understandable it was, because my eyes then open to see how I had harboured resentment towards her over the years because of her domineering behaviour towards me. Many people in that situation will eventually snap and vent on her sooner or later. So, I see that I’m human and not a despicable entity. Human in that I am a combination of good and bad qualities.

It’s easy to like others when you believe in the goodness of humanity and realize we all are a combination of the good and the bad. Even psychopaths!

I try to like myself by recalling all the good things I have done over the course of the day and give myself a pat on the back for this. With this in mind, I go a step further by recalling all the people I like and what exactly I like about them. It helps me a great deal.

In liking others, I try to anticipate pleasure from spending time with them and I try to recall the moments I enjoyed spending time with them. As I now enjoy people’s company more, instead of suffering from social anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure from social situations) I see things I like in them effortlessly. It has made me like people more and I feel more accepting of others. I now realize that when you have the ability to genuinely enjoy a person’s company, s/he can be anyhow s/he wants to without it bothering you. You will become more tolerant in the process.

In our environment, we get inundated with news about humans doing bad to others. In religion, home, school, media, everywhere people talk about the latest atrocity committed by a human being to another person. When you grow up hearing this like I did, it becomes very hard for you to like people, trust them, feel safe with them and relax around them. You subconsciously feel that humans are bad through and through and you must always be on your guard. I am trying to overcome this distrust of people and learn to like others by constantly reminding myself that many people have attributes that will make me want to draw closer to them and enjoy spending time with them. Gradually, my eyes are opening to the good in other people I meet and I like myself more nowadays. Like a German social worker told me, most humans are social and cooperative. I try to remember this whenever it seems as if I am losing faith in the goodness of humanity.

I am not perfect, though but I try to live in accordance with whatever I write about because these are my very own recognitions, not what I read or learned in school. I wish you dear reader the happiness (which according to positive psychology includes love, passion, pleasure, accomplishment, and flow) you deserve.

More info on being a likable person can be gotten here

Here’s to a likable you!

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