Reason #3 Why I Can’t Say No: I want people to like me.
I’m blushing just now after typing that. It’s embarrassing to admit. First of all, I have been abundantly blessed, as in ridiculously lavished, flooded, showered with friends. My enemies are few. Very few. As in I can count them on one hand… and even some of those I still haven’t given completely over to enemy status. It’s insane for someone with as many dear friends as I to worry or wonder about being liked. If I never make another friend, I will most definitely, assuredly have been well-liked in my life already. But still… it’s a “thing” with me.
I can’t really put my finger on why I feel this way, but I do. I worry that if I tell someone “no” they won’t care for me anymore. I worry that if I say “no” someone may not learn to like me in the first place.
Seeing it typed out on the screen, put into words for the first time, I’m able to quickly identify one major problem with my logic:
If a person stops liking me because I didn’t or couldn’t DO something for them, then they never liked ME in the first place. If a person decides my likeability based on my ability to accomplish something they want, then they have only judged my ability to perform a service, not me personally. What they wouldn’t LIKE would be the fact that they didn’t get the service they wanted.
Let’s think about someone I KNOW likes me. Let’s say my husband. I haven’t always done what he wanted, yet he STILL likes ME. (I know not all husbands are kind that way, but I’m blessed with one who is.) I’m not afraid that he will stop liking me simply because I couldn’t run that extra errand or didn’t make it to that appointment. What about… say, my sister. Being close in age, as adults we’re close in heart too. She likes me. And hasn’t stopped liking me even though I did the unthinkable and moved 770 miles away from her. My heart-friend Christy. I’ve dropped the ball on her more than once. Guess what? STILL likes me.
So, what’s the deal? Clearly I’ve nothing to fear as far as not being liked as a person if I need to say “no” to a request from someone. What’s underneath the crazy idea that they won’t like me if I deny the request? Is it something a little more like me not liking myself? Is it something like me having an insatiable need for approval? Yep. I’m pretty sure that’s it. Only there is a difference in being liked ,loved, and approved of for WHO I AM, and being liked, loved, and approved of for WHAT I DO.
Think about Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gold medal winning gymnast. Nearly every American girl of my age can picture her face, see her with her hands in the air, back arched as she completes another perfect landing after doing something like a hundred flips in the air. She looks triumphant, cute, likeable even. However, I know nothing of MLR personally, only of her cute appearance and awesome accomplishments. I know I like what she’s DONE, but I’ve never had the chance to find out if I’ll like HER, because I don’t know HER, only what she does. (Even though if I had to venture a guess I think I would like her. She just seems like fun.)
This brings me to a final conclusion: People have to know ME in order to know if they like me or not. What I do or don’t do for them is a separate issue. Whether they understand that or not is completely outside of my control. However, my running around trying to make other people like me because of what I do for them could be a potential cause of damage to my relationships with those who already DO like me for me, because my constant running and people pleasing leaves me little time to cultivate those important, personal, like-me-for-the-real-me relationships. And when it comes down to it, I want to be liked as a PERSON. I want to be known for who I really am, and loved just the way I am. And I AM liked and loved just the way I am. By God, my mama, my daddy, my husband, my kids, my sister, my brother, and so many friends. I already have what I deeply desire. Even if it were Jesus only, I have that kind of love already. SO WHAT AM I SO WORRIED ABOUT????
And yet another bogus reason is put out of its misery. I’m starting to feel lighter. How about you?