I think it's about time for that heart-to-heart post. It's the middle of January and our goals are fairly fresh and we are still making plans to achieve not one but all of them. Yes?
I found myself contemplating the other day about change, specifically for my blog; perhaps I should change my approach to a specific task or perhaps I should change my wording of this sentence because I do not want people to think 'xyz' about me. The overwhelming thought processes of how-to-change-this and when-to-change-that became so overwhelming I went to sleep. Literally... changed into my PJs, pulled the covers, and called it a night at 9pm. I later realized (the very next day) that the energy I put into thinking about change was for me to be seen as a likable-person. Mind you, this was not, by any means, the first time my thoughts have lingered these directions, but I was so baffled at the time and energy I had put into the ridiculous thoughts of not only changing my initial plans, but the reason why I thought about changing them. It was pathetic and fraudulent.
Strong words to use, but it was! Immediately I winced and said to myself "Rae...cut it out and get with it." Then I took out planner and began to put my real-true-ideal-self plans into effect.
My mum has been telling me a saying for the last 20-something years that reflects this problem of likability.
For every person that loves you, there are ten who dislike you.
I've pondered on that for a bit and in the end it comes down to "you damn if you do and your damn if you don't". Not so much a one-to-ten ration, but in the end people will love and dislike you. You can't be perfect for everyone...and if you try, then you will just be wasting your time. Why alter yourself to be accepted by a group of people? Why change a quality you are gifted with just to please a crowd? The Bible adheres to this notion too; we see society subtly imbedding the 'false-good' in likability via money, lavish, popularity...the list continues. And within this likability phase you end up losing yourself.
And what good is that?
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Mark 8:36 NLT
I think it's pretty neat to say that we are all different in our own ways, and that is beautiful. This idea of likability is absurd but is, unfortunately, here to stay. It's simply up to us to either adhere, or ignore it. The best way to do the ladder is to be ourselves...our true, authentic selves. In this beautiful mist of authenticity, there will always be that one cretin (let's be frank...) who chooses to twist, maneuver, shake and even spit on our words, beliefs and philosophies.
Don't let that get to you. Likability is not an of-the-essence attribute of anyone. In other words, haters will continue to hate. Those who are up-to-par in character will understand that we are able to disagree and discuss under respect...it's the fools that will badger and lash out. Even with job opportunities and meeting potential friends- don't give them a mask; be honest with yourself and what you want. You will be respected and accepted by those who are true and who make genuine friends in the process. Plus, you'll be able to spot out fake-attitudes pretty quick [I think that's a cool quality to have...not something you want to put on the resume but you get the point].
I want to end this post with the quote that inspired it. The author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave an acceptance speech long ago where she briefly maps out likability for women who feel torn between authenticity and what is expected of them; have a read.
I think that what our society teaches young girls, and I think it’s also something that’s quite difficult for even older women and self-professed feminists to shrug off, is that idea that likability is an essential part of you, of the space you occupy in the world, that you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy because you have to be likable.
And I say that’s bullsh*t.
So what I want to say to young girls is forget about likability. If you start thinking about being likable you are not going to tell your story honestly, because you are going to be so concerned with not offending, and that’s going to ruin your story so forget about likability. And also the world is such a wonderful, diverse and multifaceted place that there’s somebody who’s going to like you, you don’t need to twist yourself into shapes.
....I couldn't agree more.