Growing up as a teenager, my family attended an Anglican Church and one of the religious rites was to take Holy Communion. But to do that, I had to be ‘confirmed’ by a Vicar/Bishop first (a coming of age type of thing)- a ceremonial event that takes place in front of the entire church congregation. So in preparation for this, I attended rehearsal classes with other kids who needed to be confirmed, weeks before the big event. During these classes, we learnt our recitals, were told where to sit on the day of the event and we each had a partner whom we practised our steps to the altar with for the Holy Communion ceremony amongst other things.
If you’re wondering what this story has to do with the topic, please hang on, I’m getting there.
So the D-Day arrived. I wore a lovely dress that was specially made for this ceremony. There was so much excitement in the air and the church was packed to the brim. My partner and I had rehearsed our lines, knew when to take our steps and we were eager to display this. And then the service began.
The whole church was seated except the Vicar. The only other group of people that were allowed to stand were those going to the altar to be confirmed, which meant everyone’s eyes were on us. The other kids that went ahead of my partner and me gave perfect performances, they were in sync and we were eagerly waiting for our turn. Then it arrived- the time for my partner and me to stand up and walk to the altar. Guess what. I missed my steps. I don’t know what overtook me at that moment but I miscounted my steps. Our ‘performance’ was ruined and my partner who was visibly pissed off went ahead of me and I had to play catch up to meet her at the altar. I was sooooooooo embarrassed; I ruined an important moment for us both. My partner was livid, she gave me a curt look at the altar and ignored me the entire duration of the ceremony. I tried to apologise and explain to her afterwards but she snubbed me. It hurt. Even after that incident, she and her friends didn’t speak to me and I felt really bad. I kept telling myself over and over- ‘they don’t like me’.
Katie Couric, a popular American TV host says that “You can’t please everyone, and you can’t make everyone like you.” And she is right. It’s been over 20-something odd years since that incident but I still remember it like it happened yesterday. Luckily, I recovered from it.
We are humans with an inherent need to be liked and various factors affect how intensely we crave/desire it. I mean, being liked is a factor for being accepted by people, to fit in and belong, it makes navigating social circles easier, it’s a confidence booster and a criteria for approval. And it actually matters to be liked under certain circumstances. For example, when you go for a job interview- you want the hiring manager to like you. Because if he/she likes you, your chances of getting the job are higher. Being liked helps us forge connections and in some circles, your advancement boils down to how likeable you are. But sometimes we take it too far and are so desperate for this approval to our own detriment. Such a way of life is not sustainable, neither is it healthy and based on my personal observations and experiences, these are the 4 things we tend to when we are desperate to be liked.
I’ll leave you with some words from Max Ehrmann’s poem, Desiderata-
“Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.”
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Till we chat again, stay true to yourself, keep shining, share this blog with your awesome tribe and take care of yourself XOXOXO
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