Existential Psychology

Wanting People to Like You

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If you run around trying to make everybody like you you’re never going to be happy but if nobody likes you you’re never going to be happy. It’s a seemingly insoluble dilemma unless you consider yourself to be a person capable of liking you too.

In a psychoanalytic context, it’s precisely because you secretly don’t like yourself that you feel compelled to make others like you, balancing out your repression and thereby finding some psychic relief. If deep down you really do like yourself you’re not dependent on having others like you because you already know you’re likable.

Psychologically speaking the fastest way to get others to like you is to get to a point where you like yourself and are proud of who you are. You have to give up the need for external validation in order to put yourself in the best position to get it, a seemingly contradictory idea but one with a lot of truth.

If you really don’t like yourself then what makes you think that other people should have a different opinion? It’s strange that most of us exclude ourselves when we think about humanity, but humanity is really just made up of a bunch of individuals, so the way you feel about yourself is just as valid as the way anyone else feels about you, actually more valid because you have insider information.

If instead of using your energy to make other people like you, you use that energy to develop your potentialities so that you can be proud of who you are and like the person you are becoming, most of the people around you will like this person too. And you won’t really care about those that don’t since their opinions will have little effect on your self-concept.