You can’t please all of the people, all of the time is a saying that you may, on some level be familiar with. Less spoken, but equally true is that you can’t please some of the people, any of the time. In other words, there are some people who just won’t like you. Ouch, for some that may sound harsh, or worse, terrifying. For others, big trash talkers like myself (smile), you may say, so what? They don’t need to like me. I have and will continue to survive with or without their like.” And yes, while that is a true statement, it is also true that when people don’t like us, whether warranted or not, it can really do a number on our heads and our hearts, at least, for a moment.
If you don’t have to see or deal with the person that dislikes you on a regular basis, it’s much easier to dismiss their dislike. However, if you happen to work with that person, be supervised by that person, supervise that person or worse, live with that person it can really throw you off. I recall an incident that happened on one of my first jobs when I came across “a disliker-AKA hater.” I had been interviewed and hired for a management training program but the way it worked was you didn’t find out your placement until the first day of work. You could be placed with someone you’ve never met but who will be your supervisor for the next six to twelve months. I was so excited to have the job and thrilled to be with this top company. I walked off the elevator with one of the employees who was showing me to my new office and there was my new manager, waiting outside to greet me. When I walked up to her with a big full smile, I extended my hand to greet her and tell her how happy I was to be here working for her. She looked down at my hand as if it were a dirty rag, didn’t take it and responded “why, I didn’t hire you” and then walked off. Crazy right?! My face fell, my heart hurt, and there began one of the worst working experiences of my adult life.
That day and every day that followed for the six months that I worked for that person before being transferred, was traumatic and demoralizing. But believe me now, in hind sight it was the best thing that ever happened to this twenty something year old. How can I say that? Well mostly, it showed me what I was made of at the core. It showed me that I could cry and not die. It showed me that try as I might (and God did I try to please that woman!) to please people, some people, for no reason at all, will hate or dislike another without cause. Now, the motivational, inspirational piece of me wants to tell you, rise above it, you can get through it! And you can, and you will, but I can’t minimalize it because I know from first-hand experience how painful and disillusioning it is when you are going through it and can’t escape it for whatever valid reason you have for staying. No one probably could have convinced me at the time that the experience was valuable, and that it was shaping me and preparing me. When you are in the muck, it’s hard to look up, let alone look forward. Yet hear me out on this one, you may not be able to see it now, but trust me on this, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. The question of focus is this, who do you want to be when it’s over? Will you still be you, or will you let that person grind you down until you can’t recognize the you, that you were, the happy you, the exceptional you, the knowledgeable you, the helpful you, the REAL you.
When you get finished contorting yourself into whatever variation of you that you think will get them to embrace or accept you, gently pinch yourself and say, “wake up” and then shake that stuff off. You were never meant to be what they like. You weren’t designed to be anything other than what the creator designed you to be. I told you before, that you are a designer’s original and nobody’s cheap copy. Listen, we can all be better in some area of our lives so I am not talking about not being able to see and address flaws that can cause conflict between you and another person. What I am saying is, if someone focuses on your flaws and uses them as an excuse to not like you, that’s their issue, not yours. I’ve lived long enough to know that when people tend to not like you, for no good reason, then they are the ones with the problem. They are the ones that are either secretly coveting your shine, or are filled with envy or discontent with their own lives so much so that there’s no space at all to let you in. These are usually damaged people that we really should be praying for, as opposed to trying to convince them to like us. Instead however, we end up giving them too much energy in our brain and hours on the clock. I am not saying that they don’t matter. All of God’s children matter. What I am saying is that they can matter as humans without mattering to your own mental and emotional well-being.
For now, you have to protect yourself by not giving away your power by letting the words or actions of others control your state of being. You have to know that there is a lesson here that is meant for you to be prepared for something great coming in your future. That something is going to require you to be more resilient. You will need to be prepared to lead and make unpopular decisions for the greater good or for the good of one person that you have been sent to help. When that time comes, you must be able to do the hard thing for the right reasons. This is the training ground of hard things meant to prepare you for great things.
Now that I've said all of that, if life is grand and this week’s blog doesn’t apply to you just send it to a friend who is going through right now or put it in your pocket for later. The truth is, you just might need it someday. Until that day comes, practice by living life according to the Golden Rule and treating people the way that you want to be treated. After all, this human experience is really the most important thing we are called to do together in life.