What If They Don’t Like Me?

by Joan C Webb on July 12, 2011

Not everyone will like you or agree with your decisions. (Bummer!)

Some may reject your values, doubt your credentials, or clash with your personality. It can cause you to be overly-concerned about what others think. (I get that, because it happens to me, too.)

The Apostle Paul mentored young Timothy and encouraged him to live wisely and courageously as the person God called him to be. (1 Timothy 4:12-14.) Yet Paul knew the truth: Only God is perfect. He is “the blessed and only Sovereign…who alone has immortality” (1Timothy 6:15-16).

As did Timothy and Paul, you and I will make mistakes. Some folks won’t appreciate what we say or do. Understandably, we can be hurt by others’ negative reactions.

Worrying about another’s response to us robs our lives of freedom and joy. This week I want to relax, breath more deeply and cease from taking responsibility for how someone thinks or reacts. It’s not my responsibility.

It’s an ongoing process, yet one thing that helps me immensely is this: Not everyone liked Christ, either. And He was totally faultless!

Your Turn: When your inner-critic bombards you with worry-producing questions like “What if she doesn’t like me? or “What if he disagrees and gets angry?” what helps you relax and release?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam C in Canada July 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

It’s like I tell the kids “You are in control of you, not the other person. You are the one who has to deal with things that are in your control in your way, and the other person has to learn to deal with it in their way. You don’t need to worry about them, you worry about YOU.” And I just have to remember that although I’m talking to 3 & 4 year olds (for the most part), it applies to adults too!

Jody July 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm

My teenage daughter and I have been talking about this very idea a lot recently – especially as she deals with the pressure to look and act a certain way. We both love to please everyone, and it’s so hard on us when others respond negatively, even when we seemingly have done nothing wrong. God calls us to rely on his power in our responses. Praise God that he provides in all circumstances if we just keep going to him!

MaryL July 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

This is a struggle isn’t it? We all want to be liked. However whether someone likes or approves of us or not is not in our control and often has little to do with us and may be more about what is going on with them. I like what you said Joan – Jesus was perfect and not everyone liked him. I will remember that for those times when I feel the anxiety over someone else’s perceived disapproval.
What works for me is a combination of things. First I remind myself that God’s opinion is the only one that matters. If I am dealing with a particularly thorny situation or person, then I mentally put on my Teflon suit. So any negativity pointed my way just bounces off. The other thing I tell myself is “their opinion of me is none of my business.” I remind myself that other’s disapproval may have more to do with what is going on in their life then anything about me. I remind myself that I am not the center of everyone’s universe and others may just be having a bad day, month, or year.

Joan C. Webb July 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

Pam C, I smiled when I read your comment. Yes, whether you’re 3, 43, or 93, this applies!

Joan C. Webb July 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

Jody, I agree that’s it’s hard and we can certainly feel the pressure and disapproval–and it’s not really very much fun. And it’s like–how do I decide who to satisfy or please: parent, child, boss, spouse, friend, pastor, neighbor…? Each one has a different image of us, and often their expectations aren’t consistent with our own personality, gifts or values. I’m glad God has no unrealistic expectations, since he just expects us to be the person He created us to be. :-)

Joan C. Webb July 18, 2011 at 10:25 am

Wow, MaryL, such wisdom you share here. I love your practical antidotes to people-pleasing. Thank you for sharing.

Joan C. Webb July 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

BTW, MaryL, sometime when it’s convenient, tell me more about yourself. I so appreciate your comments on my blog. Thanks.

Gina Pollard July 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Just “happened to stumble” across this in preparing to send you an email on another topic…God is always on time and i needed to read this right now…but I digress…

One of my newer mantras is: “Just because they don’t like me, this is not an indictment of my character or me as a person.” While I rcognize that the grammas is poor and the sentence strucure it awkward, it works in my head…:-)) And somehow, it manages to give me enough breathing space to be okay.

Joan C. Webb July 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Gina, LOVE your new mantra! Glad you stumbled by here and shared with us. Getting more breathing space is always good. I so identify with all you wrote!

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