“Do you like me? How about now?” Let go of this question!

One of the most common questions we repeatedly ask (usually silently), is “Do you/he/she/they like me?” Are you nodding in agreement?

Worrying about whether I am liked has been a major driver in my life. In my early 20’s, I had a therapist teach me how to interpret social feedback to relieve my worry. It helped on a surface level, but what was behind the question was not resolved and in the next moment, the question came around again.

Looking back, I can see the impact this had on my business, my leadership, and my friendships. Connections with others were lowered because when I had this concern, I was focused on myself and not the other person. I also see times when my commitment to being liked was greater than my commitment to something that was much more important.

Our concern for being liked will often dictate our behavior and we may be inhibited from expressing ourselves authentically for fear of judgement.

In our society, we are taught from an early age that we should be liked, belong, and be accepted. However, one of many versions of “I’m not good enough” quickly sets in and we start to doubt whether or not people approve.

Find Freedom From This Unanswerable Question. 

What do I mean that it’s unanswerable?

We all have a question that is constantly there for us, sometimes subconsciously. In the moment that it is answered, we ask it again. The question of whether we are liked falls into this category for a few reasons:

🤔 The question is not about what it is asking… The issue is not about the other person and how they feel. The question actually stems from our own self-doubts, and we can never satisfy that we are good enough to be liked until we raise our opinion of ourselves.

There is no accessible answer… Where is the answer? On their face? In their words? Their behavior? We do our best to interpret others, but it is at best our own story of them, colored by our filters. There is no “truth” in our interpretations.

💡We don’t know what other people are thinking… Someone may be friendly and not like you at all or be aloof and really like you just be shy.  99.9% of the time you think you know what someone else is thinking, you are wrong.

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.  

Since you never actually know what people are thinking, why not stop worrying about it? It takes practice, but the more you release your disempowering stories about yourself and raise your confidence and self-love, the easier it is to release attachment to what other people think.

Over the years, the less I’ve worried about being liked, the more I have found peace in being authentically self-expressed and speaking my truth. It will always be a work in progress, but it is very freeing.

When we are true to ourselves and in our authentic expression, it can never be wrong. It doesn’t mean you become nasty to others because you don’t care. On the contrary, it is even more important to be responsible for how you show up in the world. When you are coming from a place of love, kindness, and compassion, there is no need to be concerned with what other people think.

When you reflect on your life, how much time and effort has been spent worrying about being liked?

What would shift in your life if you reduced by 5 or 10% your concern about being liked? Where might you express yourself more truly? Have a greater impact as a leader? Be a more authentic friend?

I would love to hear what opens up for you in considering this.

Be patient with yourself as this is an ongoing process. Self-inquiry will help you raise your awareness so you may begin to let go and move forward from a place of love into the world.

Dr Jennifer Edwards - blog

Jennifer Edwards is a veterinarian and transformational coach. Her conviction is that everyone can live a peaceful, happy, and joyful life. They just may need help learning how. She understands the emotional and leadership challenges of life in veterinary medicine. With insight, compassion, and being a stand for what’s possible, she helps veterinarians and teams rediscover joy and happiness in their life and career.