"It's not that I dislike many people. It's just that I don't like many people." Bryant Gumbel

No one likes to be disliked. It's sewn into our DNA that we just have a general disposition and a need to be liked. We want people to want us. We want them to like us, get excited when we're around, love us. We spend so much of our time devoted to getting people to like us. We shouldn't have to convince, beg, or plead with people for them to like us. We don't owe anyone ourselves. We don't have to give the entirety of who we are, or pretend to be someone else in a futile search for the approval of others. If we have to persuade someone to accept, tolerate, value us then maybe those people truly are undeserving of all that we are. And, and, and, we ourselves do not have to like anyone if we don't want to. "Like" should an enthused, jovial, and benign feeling we have for another person whether friendly or romantic. We get to reserve to right to like or dislike anyone we please - most of the time, we're pretty apathetic about people in general (and that's okay).

"I don't like you" or "I'm just not that into you" - it hurts to hear them. The "you're not really my type; I don't like you like that; Not interested," revelations always hurt. That's inevitable. It's easy for us to go into the "why not me?" mode. We beat ourselves up, ask questions about what's wrong with us, and hyperbolize that no one will ever want us. We let someone else's opinion define us, have power of us, reduce us to less than we are. We forget all that we are. What makes us amazing. How many brilliant ways we are beautiful, the unconditional love we deserve, and the undeniable truth of all the ways we are worthwhile/enough. We let another dictate how we feel about ourselves. It's irrational. It's pointless. It doesn't have to impact us in that way. We can take those sentiments in stride and keep moving. We can keep them external. We can accept them for what they are - someone else's valid truth. Great, so you don't like me, or don't like me back/the same way I like you. Now I don't have to wonder, or wallow. I get to be free. I get to move on. I get to curb my enthusiasm, infatuation, and interest to be guided towards something or someone else (sometimes it's even just at me). Thank people for their veracity and take it for what it is, a hard truth to hear, but a truth nonetheless. I have to take it as such - not a critique of me as a person, but rather someone being bold in sharing honesty with me.

There are going to be people that we like that don't like us back. No one is obligated to like us back. People may not always be justified in their dislike of us but there is no point in pursuing anyone who has concluded that we are not for them. The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner we can move on. We have to learn how to let things and people go. Why do we waste our time, energy, and effort on people who have no intention of choosing us back? Why are we so concerned in finding out why someone doesn't like us? Why are so willing to invest ourselves in a worthless endeavor that we honestly don't really want to know the answer to? Even if we did find out the reason, it would not change the outcome so it serves no purpose. Why subject ourselves to that hurt? We have to move on. We have to keep going forward. We have to stop dwelling on people and things that do not matter. We must cease replaying, reliving, and relishing in moments of awkwardness, embarrassment, shame, and pain. So someone doesn't like us ... and - so what? Truly, so what? So we're not going to have a relationship with one person. We'll live. We'll survive. 

There's disappointment in making room for a guest that never arrives. That's how it is to like someone and for them not to reciprocate. We have to stop making up a room for a guest who never accepted our invitation. We cannot assume/anticipate someone's arrival into our lives or how long they'll be staying. All we can do is rearrange things when they do chose to stay with us. We cannot blame people for not showing up when they didn't RSVP. No one is obligated to choose us, to want us, to like us, to love us. It's not by force. We can't will it to happen. People have to want us of their own volition. We are not meant to sell ourselves or put ourselves on display. People should want us because of who we are, how we are, and what we are - inherently. They should be content with our truth, our authenticity, our vulnerability. They should want us, for us. We deserve that, and they too deserve us in our most genuine iterations. 

We are awful at clearing out people who have left us, and even more so the people who never came. We leave ourselves empty, and that space we crafted for them untouched as if it will always be designated for them. We treat that space as a vacancy to be filled when in fact it's a multipurpose room of our own stipulation. It can be whatever we want it to be. We should not let people hold a space in our hearts indefinitely, especially when they have demonstrated no inclination to take us up on the offer to live in us. It's unfair to us. We have to clear people out. Take the memories, lessons, and experiences we've gleaned from them, and throw out everything else. We have to change the sheets, repaint the walls, and select a new scent to refresh that space. Being open to the possibility of others is crucial. Holding out for people who never intend to make an appearance does nothing but hurt us, and that is a hurt of our own causation. Expel the ghosts that we made. We cannot let ourselves be haunted by phantasms that we made. We are responsible for not letting people, or the idea of them we constructed of them, occupy space where they don't belong and have not earned. We must be gatekeepers of the houses of our hearts, remaining open enough to take new reservations, but cautious enough to distinguish the intent of others. We always have control of who the guests in our lives are; choose wisely. X


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