There is a logical explanation as to why we want other people to like us, and it does make sense. Thousands of years ago, when we were living in small tribes, being “in” a group was a matter of life and death, it meant safety. It was dangerous out there, and the only way to secure survival was to be in a group. This is a very deep instinct inside of us, but in the 21st century, it makes life very complicated.
Before we started building cities, we lived in small tribes of 10-20 people, and that was it! Think about how many groups we are all members of now.; different parts of our family group, different friend groups, work groups, social media groups, hobby groups, gym groups, dog walking groups and so on. How is it possible to be liked by everyone in each group? Is it a realistic expectation?
It can feel natural to be concerned about what people think about us, and that is ok, however, if it is causing distress, anxiety, worry and a lot of rumination, it might mean that we are putting unrealistic expectations upon ourselves about “social performance”. “Socially prescribed perfectionism” is one of the types of “Perfectionism”, and here are some quick tips to challenge it:
- Take control of your breathing; Imagine a square, breath in for a count of 4, hold for 4, breath out for 4 and again hold for 4.
- Check if those thoughts are really what others think of you, or are they actually your own thoughts that you think other people think of you? Are you mind-reading? Sometimes we think we know what other people are thinking, but in reality, we have no idea and it is a good thing to remind ourselves.
- Is it really a “fact” or “opinion”? What evidence have you got to prove that it is actually true without a doubt? What you think is happening may actually be just your opinion and other people may have other things in their minds.
- Is it possible that you might be judging yourself too harshly? Would you judge your best friend the same way in a similar situation? We tend to be our own worst critique and judge ourselves much harder than we would judge others. Just check if this is what you would think of your best friend if s/he was in the same situation.
- Check your inner communication with yourself? Is it really acceptable to talk to yourself this way? Would you talk to others the same way? We tend to be quite critical of ourselves when we do not reach the high standards that we think other people are expecting of us. If it is not acceptable to talk to others this way, then it is not acceptable to speak to yourself the same way either.
- Is it really only your responsibility to entertain everyone in a social situation and to make sure there is no quite moment? It is ok to allow other people to make a conversation too. If nothing, you can always ask questions about them, and let them tell you their story.
- Is it really possible to be liked by everyone? All the groups we are a part of these days, can we expect “everyone” to like us all the time? I bet you do not like anyone and everyone that you meet, so it is also ok that if some people do not like us.
It doesn’t matter if the whole world loves you, if you do not love and accept yourself.
Do your future self a favour and overcome “Perfectionism”, which holds you back from having a happy and fulfilling life. Visit www.mindandmood.co.uk to find out more.
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