The only person that is truly aware of your emotions, your intentions, or your interpretation of experiences — which is all they can be — is you.
As much as others may — at times — identify with you or your actions, it is impossible to go through life without occasionally being misunderstood. While you can control what you say and how you act, you cannot control how others choose to interpret it. And it may sometimes seem that no matter how much you try to explain yourself to others, they just don’t “get it”.
This should be expected.
Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.
If one is to fulfill their potential in life, it’s important to realize that nearly all new and original ideas, products, and causes face rejection, criticism, and even ridiculebefore they’re accepted.
In short, even the best, brightest, and most beneficial ideas, products, and causes have critics.
Nearly every great accomplishment in life requires a person to act boldly and take action on the ideas that one believes in order to not yield the power of one’s potential to the fear of rejection.
When acting on your creative ideas, always keep in mind that you’re not doing what you’re doing for the critics. And regardless of how good your idea is, there will nearly always be someone in the world who hates it.
Don’t hesitate to do something simply because you are afraid of how it will be received. Just do it. Don’t worry if everyone doesn’t like it — or even understand it at first.
You don’t have to wait for acceptance or permission to do great things.
If you truly want to make a positive difference in the world, start now — and correct your course as you go.
“If I care to listen to every criticism, let alone act on them, then this shop may as well be closed for all other businesses. I have learned to do my best, and if the end result is good then I do not care for any criticism, but if the end result is not good, then even the praise of ten angels would not make the difference.” – Abraham Lincoln
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Aristotle
“They disparage one who remains silent, they disparage one who talks a lot, they disparage one who talks in moderation.” — Buddha quoting a saying (from Dhammapada)
Rejection is neither an indication of value or talent. Remember that. If you believe in what you have to offer, then don’t stop offering it simply because some of those you offer it to reject it. Many people are simply not very good at recognizing talent or value. It doesn’t mean you won’t eventually find an audience that will.
Consider JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling’s earnings from the sale of books, movies, and merchandise is estimated at over 1 BILLION dollars. The Harry Potter brand is valued at over 15 BILLION dollars. Rowling’s book releases shattered sales records, and yet…
When Rowling submitted her Harry Potter manuscript to the first twelve publishing houses, it was rejected by each (wikipedia).
I think millions upon millions of adoring fans are thankful she didn’t give up. I think she is, too.
Just something to think about the next time you face rejection.
If a stranger came up to you on the street and called you a book, would it ruin your day? Probably not.
What if a friend called you a book? Would THAT ruin your day? Probably not.
Would the fact that someone called you a book actually make you a book? Unless that person is a wizard, then no.
So now that we are both certain that you know you are not a book, if someone did call you a book, would you feel the need to go to great lengths to “defend your honor” by explaining to that person — and others — why you are, in fact, not a book? Probably not.
If this isn’t beginning to sink in yet, just realize that I’m using the word “book” (which you know you are not), but it could be any other word.
So the next time someone decides to label you as something you know you are not, think “I am not a book”, and then react (or don’t react) accordingly.
While some people are naturally more likable than others, it is a fact of life that no matter how nice, how giving, or how generous you are, not everyone who crosses your path is going to like you.
Not being liked by every single person on the planet is normal. Some people will just naturally “get you”, others won’t.
That’s life. And it’s a good thing, too!
If we were all the same and liked all the same things, we’d never have our beliefs or values challenged. We’d be unthinking automatons (robots) and life would be boring! Contrast in life is a good thing. And it is our differences that make us great and help us to grow.
It may help to remember that some of the most loved people in history actually made history because they were bold and they often thought or acted contrary to popular belief at the time. They had more than their fair share of critics.
If you want to self-actualize (reach your fullest potential), then you must learn to accept yourself for who you are & who you want to be and take personal responsibility for your life and how you feel.
And along the way to self-actualization, you must be prepared to be unpopular. Don’t leave your sense of worth and well-being in the hands of others.
So if you’re doing the best you can, and you still have your critics, remember to put your focus on where it belongs — on your greater mission and on the people who want you in their life, not on those who don’t.
So if you’re not supposed to worry about whether everyone likes you or not, what’s the big deal about being likable at all?
Well, being likable, connecting with others, and forming relationships — whether it’s with an individual or an audience — can be (and often is) an integral part of being successful in life.
And being liked (or unliked) can (and often does) have a direct impact on your health, your wealth, your general level of happiness, and how effective you are at achieving goals.
This is — in part — because your potential is enhanced by the people in your life who find you likable enough that they are willing to take action at your request — or on your behalf — or provide you with assistance in times of need.
While it is impossible to be liked by all, the keys to being likable are traits that can have long-lasting positive effects on your life, your personal and business endeavors, and your relationships.
So while being liked by all should not be a focus in your life, increasing your likability can have a dramatic and positive effect on what you want to accomplish.
“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” — Zig Ziglar
“When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Knowing how faulty the system can be, we should know that what others say or think about us isn’t always true — and yet we often give these things more consideration than they deserve.
In fact, there’s is a good chance that there are people in your life that you allow what they think (about you) to control — to some degree — how you feel about yourself or how you act in their presence (rather than just “being yourself”).
It is a fact that no two individuals interpret an experience in exactly the same way. Any number of people can watch an event take place and none of them will share exactly the same story with exactly the same details about what they saw or felt.
What each of us experiences in life is only an interpretation — our interpretation.
Have you ever witnessed something that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it was? Now imagine that you never realized that it wasn’t what you thought it was. You’d be believing a distortion of reality, but to you it was absolutely true.
No one person can see the world through another person’s eyes or experience the world through another person’s body.
The point is:
You are not what other people say about you. And you are not other people’s opinions of you unless you choose to accept them. You don’t have to let the stories that other people tell about you become your own.
It’s your life and you can choose to write your life story any way you wish, but to do so, you must make the decision to not to let other people write your story for you.
Remember, we teach the people in our lives how to treat us by how we act and what we are willing to allow. As such, it is important to set your own personal boundaries and not let others do it for you.