The Power of Like
For those of you who are not Facebook folks – and believe me, Facebook is like my own daily Disneyland and I do love me some Disneyland – there is a “Like” button that you can click to endorse a particular post or to show your support. A frequent complaint is, “Why is there no LOVE button! Like is not enough!”
I think I have cracked that code. It’s because “Like” is more important than “Love” in the overall scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some love and yes, love makes the world go ’round and love makes all things possible and the greatest of these is love and love is fabulous, BUT, Like is pretty doggone big.
How many times have we had to love someone because we’re kin or some other stupid reason, but we do not really like them? The lack of like can contaminate a situation just as fast, if not faster, than the lack of love, in my opinion. I don’t ask anyone to agree or disagree with me and I’m not really up to arguing the point. This is just my own opinion.
The power of being liked is such a big part of our ego and our self-esteem than I believe we ever really acknowledge, even to ourselves. I often hear people say things like “I don’t give a shit WHAT people think about me!” and my immediate mental reply to that is, “Oh sweetheart, yes, yes you do. You sure do.” I think the people who say that are usually the ones who are the most desperate to be liked. They are all but begging people to like them over their acknowledged frailties and brokenness.
This is genuinely my opinion and not just because I have my own struggles in this regard. It comes after years spent as a life coach and getting into the deepest thoughts in someone’s heart and spirit and finding out what truly drives them. People who have truly healed themselves to the point that they do not require or seek the validation of others to feel good about themselves have no need to say it aloud. It radiates from them. What radiates from people who DO say it is a frantic desperation to be accepted.
I was never the popular kid, even for five minutes of my childhood. My first husband loved me, but did not like me and honestly, even though we are friendly at this point, I am not even sure he likes me as a person now. I have had these wild fluctuations in how I deal with social issues like being liked. I either become a recluse, only leaving my house to go out for supplies once a week or so, or I get out there and give it the ol’ college try at attempting to fit into some group or another. Often, it is like watching a child try to hold her or her own in a grown up conversation. Inevitably, I turn into the cartoon dog who jumps back and forth over the bigger dog begging, “Do you want to go chase cats, George? Do you want to go play ball, George? Huh? Do ya? Huh?” It took me years to figure out that I do that and to give myself the discipline to pull back and not chase others. The High Priestess had to come up a lot of times in my readings before I learned to sit back and be cool.
Still, the desire to be liked is a basic human need. We always tend to look to others for endorsement and validation even when we do give it to ourselves. I think we do this so instinctively that sometimes, we do not even realize that we do it. In a theater, we start clapping when others start clapping, we laugh louder when other people laugh, and we feel good when someone smiles at us or says that we look nice that day.
We all have within us the ability and potential to make others feel better in their day, but how often do we actively use that power?
But I digress…
This has been such a formative year for me, building on the formative impact of 2013, which was stacked on the foundation of the formative impact of 2012. Coming to terms with my own previously disregarded need for acceptance has been an ongoing theme of my recent growth. It is still a work in progress and I am constantly questioning and shifting my place in the world and how I interact with others. I am so grateful to those friends who have held in there with me while I find my way.
I have had to face the discomforting understanding that there are some clubs of which I am just not a part and some that are just not right for me. I have had to admit that some relationships with people who I do love are toxic and that no matter how I try to make the puzzle pieces fit, it just doesn’t work. I kept some people who were nearly always hurtful around because I had the lofty idea that they were not intentionally being hurtful, but some trigger in me was responding in a way that caused me to have a negative reaction. I thought it was more admirable to keep them in my life and try to work on my own issues that would prevent me from reacting that way. In the past couple of weeks, I hit some kind of critical wall and decided I had spent way too much time and energy on changing how I react and just let them go. It was taking up too much of my life to try and untangle that Gordian knot.
After a few months of sometimes dark contemplation, I feel as though I am coming into the light. My heart is lighter and at the same time, fuller. I am excited about the year to come and what it promises to bring. Slowly but surely, I feel as though my attention is turning to where it needs to be and as that happenings, I am finding that my relationships are taking care of themselves. Like the typical Virgo, I always imagine that situations require some degree of control and management. Sometimes, you just have to let the world turn a time or two without your input and things just work out.