Do you have trouble allowing yourself to have negative feelings about other people? Do you spend an upsetting amount of your precious free time pretending to like someone who drives you crazy? Would you like to be able to be able to live the life you want to live by spending time with those who make you happiest?
Well, I have good news for you: you can.
Fact: disliking someone does not make you a bad person.
This comes up in my Mastermind group discussions and live weekends all the time: how to cope with the guilt of finding someone unappealing.
It’s a tough situation. Most of us already worry a bit too much about what other people think, to the detriment of our own wellbeing—so the very possibility of hurting someone else’s feelings is just too much to handle.
Personally, I spent years of my life in a cage of niceness, driving myself crazy with intense feelings of guilt for this very reason. Every time I would have a negative feeling or judgmental thought about someone, I’d beat myself up and criticize myself for being a horrible person. I’d remind myself of all the things I should be: more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving.
At a certain point, I realized that I was attempting to beat myself into being a better person.
That was when I decided that it was time to take a step back and look at the problem from a new perspective.
Think back to when you were a child: did you have natural proclivities toward certain people and natural aversions to others? Didn’t you just sort of know when you didn’t mix with someone back then? Sure, you did! And you didn’t beat yourself up over it, either.
Your personal preferences should not be any less meaningful and legitimate to you now than they were then.
We all resonate differently with different people. There’s no rhyme or reason to it—it’s just the way it is. Sometimes you like someone’s smile; sometimes you can’t stand the way someone smells; sometimes you love a person’s laugh; sometimes a person’s voice makes you want to punch a wall.
Chemistry is something you can’t fake . . . and absolutely can’t ignore.
When chemistry speaks, you have no choice but to pay attention, because it speaks directly to your gut. You feel it from the inside, out. Hence, any attempt to stifle your response to it will be futile.
Instead of trying to stuff it down and keep it hidden, my suggestion is to cut yourself some slack and give yourself permission to like who you like—and dislike who you don’t.
Whenever you notice yourself falling into the overbearing pattern of judgment against yourself for having legitimate feelings about another person, just take a pause. Remind yourself that this is a negative habit that is not serving you; remind yourself that this is “nice person” thinking that is holding you back from creating your best life; remind yourself that you are allowed to have instincts about other people; and give yourself 100% permission to feel the way you feel.
It is healthy and normal to have intuitions. It is healthy and normal to have preferences. It is healthy and normal to move toward what you like and away from what you don’t.
Stop trying to talk yourself out of your needs, and stop discounting your feelings. As you begin to trust and move toward your natural inclinations, your energy will radically increase and the health and longevity of your relationships will begin to soar.
It’s time to start listening to your gut, honoring yourself, and giving yourself permission to follow your instincts. You will be a happier person for it.
If you would like to continue the conversation, I urge you to share your thoughts, questions, and especially your experiences below! What do negative thoughts about others do to you? How would your life improve if you weren’t beholden to the people you don’t love spending time with? How has letting go of your need to like everyone changed your life? This subject is very interesting to me, so I’d love to hear your ideas!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.