(My riff as a transwoman in recovery on the PurposeFairy series 9 Reasons Why You Should No Longer Care About People’s Approval; all creative credit belongs to to that author.)
I had a phone call from my sponsor this morning for the sole purpose of letting me know the positive effect I have on some other people. He likes me; I think the world of him. It hasn’t always been this way in my life.
The cascading effect of alcohol on depression is not an abstract. I spent incredible blocks of time in my previous life obsessing about my lack of friends on Facebook. I was on an incendiary self-destructive track which only halted when I stopped using…and I stopped obsessing about being liked. I think the reality was that I wasn’t liked particularly. Whatever witty and brilliant pearl of wisdom I dropped online was in fact ignored, but I couldn’t find the reason and I’m not sure I really wanted to.
Keeping things simple, I’ve found a causal effect between living authentically, responsibly and in sanity and being liked by enough other people to make life interesting and meaningful. Luminita Saviuc is right. Everybody is not going to like me, whether for good reason or who knows why. But the last couple of years has proved this hypothesis for me. Not only far more friends I have but far more honest friends who tell me their truth, who genuinely listen carefully even when I try to hog the spotlight, who ask me questions that make me think, who call and message me without agenda other than to find out how I am.
I need to be liked by some people. Their affirmation fertilizes my soul. Every now and then I need to spot a friendly smile. But I don’t need anymore to be liked by every last person in this world. I do expect to be treated with respect as the woman I am. But we don’t have to be friends.
I just can’t see any way around this. Worrying about the people who don’t like me gets generally in the way of life at best and is self-destructive at worst. It feels so good to stop beating my head against a brick wall.