Beyond being liked
It is our human inclination to want to be liked. Fitting in and being accepted as part of the group is engrained in our environment from very early on. This results in us behaving in ways as not to rock the boat too much so that we are not an outcast or excluded by others.
Being liked is a survival strategy, as is excluding or shaming others because they don’t behave in ways that we want them too. Imagine for a moment if you never again cared if people liked you. How would you act and choose differently? Some people may think that they would be belligerent or non-caring, but being liked has nothing to do with caring about someone else. It is about YOU protecting YOU so that you fit in.
Like I initially referenced this programming of “being liked” begins early on. Maybe you were repeatedly told to be quiet and calm down when playing, or maybe you got punished for expressing yourself in certain ways so you learned that expressing yourself meant alienation or lack of enjoyment.
Most people are uncomfortable with other people expressing themselves beyond a certain range. When one goes outside of the “comfortable” range of someone else’s the tendency is for the other person to try to control the other or to withdraw from them. The primary reason why a person does this is because they are uncomfortable with their own expression.
Un-stuffing yourself from your box
Freedom to be you
When this happens (and it happens to most of us unfortunately) we get small. We dim our light. We limit ourselves to a smaller range so other people are comfortable and we are liked. This however comes at a ginormous cost. It means that the world is missing out from benefiting from your unique expression and you are not being of full service.
As adults this looks like making “practical” decisions that are not satisfying but are “safe”. It makes us say yes to things that don’t actually feel congruent with us. It can also look like resignation, indifference, depression or apathy; or like confusion as to what you are meant to do with your life, so you jump from one thing to the next because nothing “feels right”. This is because what “feels right” has been shamed or dimmed down and therefore its hard for you to see. You’ve learned to lose touch with your authentic feelings and then wonder why you feel so unclear or uncertain about things.
Here lies the birth of repression of feelings, the epidemic of numbing out from our emotional bodies, often overlaid with anger and judgment, which may or may not be obvious. We in turn will alienate others when they express outside of our range and the vicious cycle continues.
There is a way through. You can spring out of the box you’ve put yourself into with all of its limitations. I promise you it will be uncomfortable and it will require you to feel again, to open your heart, to feel your joy and gifts, all of which may threaten the life you’ve currently built for yourself. You will face judgment, feel separation, relationships will change, you will not only feel joy but sadness as well at times, but you will know you are being you and from there doing what you came to this planet to do. This will open you to an immense amount of compassion and love for all beings. This all requires that you prioritize being of service more than being liked. Herein lies true joy.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado