Beyond the Pages is my way of sharing the things books make me think about and interact with and want to talk about shared experiences with people. Some of my best conversations have happened because of something that came up in a book. I’m pretty personal in my reviews but I’d like a way to not bog down my review with a huge paragraph of personal experience so this is my way to be able to share it. Some times it will be serious and sometimes just random and fun but I hope we can connect! PAST Beyond the Pages here!
The book that inspired this conversation:
What It Is About:
Brighton is a popular and well liked girl who has suffered a loss but she likes to smile and maintain that she’s fine. Jonah is a boy who is forced to move schools and feels like an outsider and it only gets worse when his girlfriend, what tied him to his old life, breaks up with him. When Brighton and Jonah meet it is NOT love, or even like, at first sight. In fact, Jonah flat out tells Brighton what he thinks about her — something that infuriates Brighton, being someone who is all around well-liked and friendly with everyone, and she becomes determined to get him to change her mind about her.
What It Got Me Thinking About:
being liked and what that means, caring about what people think of me, how I view being liked now vs. when I was a teen, being a people pleaser
I related to Brighton so much because in high school I was SO the people pleasing, I-just-want-everyone-to-like-me person that she is. I cared SO much about being liked and if someone didn’t like me? I would be SO irritated and it would be my mission to make them change their mind. Which is essentially what Brighton tries to do in Bright Before Sunrise. I understood her SO MUCH.
It made me think a lot about how I am now. Of course I WANT people to like me. I’m still a bit of a people pleaser (I have come a LONG way in that). I don’t ENJOY being disliked. There are still those same feelings as I’ve always had. I mean, generally who doesn’t want people to like them?
I think the difference between now and then is:
1) Other people’s opinions of me don’t affect me AS MUCH as they used to: I mean, there are times when they DO really affect me but back in high school/early college it could break me. It would make me doubt myself. It would just drive my every mood. I would try to change and become who I thought they wanted me to be. But I think NOW I’m way more confident in who I am. Sure, it stings. It sucks when you know someone doesn’t like you. But, I reflect a little bit on if I could have done anything different that could help me become a better person and then I let it go. Their loss.
2) I try to take it less personally: I’ve come to the conclusion that just sometimes people are not going to like each other. I mean, there are people that TONS of people love and adore and are good people…that I just, in my heart, don’t jive with. It’s okay. As long as their isn’t anything malicious going on, I try to just think that it is what it is. Every single human being is NOT going to like me. And that’s okay. I’ve also learned that sometimes people are super fickle. Sometimes people are overthinkers. Sometimes people have past histories that affect their interactions. There are so many reasons that might actually have less to do with ME than themselves. If it’s something I’ve DONE to make them not like me, well then that’s something I need to reflect on and potentially make better if I can. Sometimes you know there isn’t a future for you and that person and you just file it away under LIFE LESSONS.
3) I’ve discovered that being LIKED isn’t my biggest aspiration (and also I want to be liked for GENUINE reasons): I don’t just want to be a person that is generally well liked but nothing else. That’s kind of boring (and I think, in the book, Brighton comes to realize that). Of course being liked is LOVELY and I LIKE being well-liked. But I also aspire to be other things more: a dependable and loyal friend and family member, someone who exudes passion for life & the things I love, someone who stands up for what they believe in, someone who is always growing from their mistakes and perseveres through set backs, someone wanting to be nothing more than genuine even if it exposes flaws, someone with a huge capacity for love even when it’s hard, etc. There are so many things I aspire to MORE than just being liked. Being liked is a bonus I think.
4) I have no business spending that much time trying to analyze why someone doesn’t like me: I just don’t. I could be doing SO many other productive things. I mean, why use my energies trying to figure it out and adds so much negativity I don’t need. I read a quote or a blog post a LONG time ago that said this (I wish I remembered it!!) and the gist of it has always stuck with me. (Note: I like to be mindful and self aware if it’s something I need to work on but that’s where the analyzing needs to go…with where I can change…not where THEIR head is at).
I think my biggest struggle STILL related to this is this:
Other people’s perceptions of you that is based solely on ANOTHER person’s thoughts/feelings about you.
I mean, I’m fine with being disliked if it’s because of who I genuinely am. I really am. If it’s really me you don’t like and I’m being 100% me? I can handle that. I really can. Obviously if it’s something that might be a personal character flaw, it sucks to know and I can work on it. But if it’s just WHO I am? I can move on. What I really struggle with and have a hard time handling? When someone dislikes me based on another person’s biased interpretation of me. It is the thing that frustrates me most and something I’ve been trying to work on not getting so worked up over.
I mean, really, I still have no business spending that much energy on it because especially in that case…there really IS nothing I can do and it’s not worth my time or effort except just to continue to be myself. I think, related to this, I’ve been really trying to work on this myself — not letting MY perception of someone affect another person’s. I want people to judge me based on THEIR interactions and experience with me NOT because of someone else’s so I should extend the same to other people. It’s a hard one to work on but I’ve been trying to be REALLY cognizant of it.
I’ve come a long way with all this but I know I still have more work to be done!
Is this something you have struggled with/struggle with currently? How do you deal with it?
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