Why Don’t People Like Me?
And What Can I Do About it?
What has always been generally accepted in the thinking about eating disorders is that they are about “control.” But what does that mean? Is it about controlling food? Not really, food is just the symptom. What control means at its core in eating disorders, is trying to control what other people think about you. We stop focusing on the people who love us and start to hyper focus on the people who are judgmental, critical and spend our time trying to make them like us. The critical people outside of us mimic the voice of an internal critic and we want to do anything in our power to make them like us.
The Diet Starts to Control What Other People Think About You
This is why the diet starts. You want people to think that you are… (fill in the blank – beautiful, in control, happy, have your life together… etc.) I remember when I went on my first diet as a 9 year old. I was being bullied in school and I thought that if I was really skinny that then no one could make fun of me. I’d be impermeable to taunting. I’d be invisible or better yet, beautiful. And this turned into another 15 years of dieting/restricting/bingeing until I finally recovered.
Related: How To Stop Caring What Other People Think of Your Body
What I have discovered in working as a psychotherapist is that people have varying degrees of worrying about whether or not people like them or are judging them or criticizing them or think that they are not good enough, not smart enough, too fat, etc. It rules people’s lives. For example, one woman won’t break up with her boyfriend because she is afraid of what people will think about her being a 43 year old woman who is single. But she’s not happy in her relationship. Another woman doesn’t want to eat because she is afraid that if she’s not skinny people will think that she is unworthy. Another man thinks that if he quits his high paying job that is literally giving him ulcers, that he won’t be able to give his family enough and people will think he’s incapable. And social media makes everything so. much. worse. Because then you are spending 24/7 thinking about how to present yourself in the best possible way so that you can control people’s assumptions about you.
But what if you didn’t care what people thought? What if you realized that they were just scrolling through and trying to see how many likes they got and to figure out if they got more or less than you or someone else?
But What Can I Do When Someone REALLY Does Not Like Me?
And what if you come to find a person who really just does not like you? What if? Here’s the thing. There is nothing you can do about it. You can’t force someone to like you. You can’t do things to change their mind. I mean, you might be able to, but honestly- why? That seems like a huge amount of time to spend trying to change someone’s mind when you could have spent them time on yourself. When we start to worry too much about what people think about us, we become their servants. They have power over us. We don’t make decisions on our own accord, we make them for others.
You definitely can’t and shouldn’t change for other people. It will only cause you to forget who you are.
The only way to get over this is to make sure that YOU like YOU. Instead of caring about the people who don’t like you and worrying why, what if you began to only focus on people who loved you and were kind to you and stopped worrying about pandering to the more critical/judgmental people in your life? Be kind to yourself, be kind to other people around you, let go of trying to control what other people think, how they act… instead come back to yourself and ask, “how can I be a kind, loving human being to myself? how can I be a kind loving human being to the people around me?” and when you are kind and loving, other people’s rejection and dislike for you will just be a shoulder shrug. “Oh well. that’s okay….” and that is what makes life so much easier.
Extra Help For This
My book recommendation to help you through this is called LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky. He was a brilliant psychiatrist who practiced close by my home. He just passed away a few months ago at the age of 95. Highly recommend his book.
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