Why Do I Need People To Like Me?
This morning I was in line at the coffee shop. The person in front of me was an acquaintance. I’ve not spent a lot of time with this person, but we know each other on a very surface level. Our paths most commonly cross in line at the coffee shop. We have always been cordial. However, today was different.
When my typically cordial acquaintance turned and looked at me, today they didn’t smile, or say hi, or exchange any sort of pleasantries. Immediately my internal dialogue began - “What did I do? Was it that one post on Facebook? They probably didn’t like that. Why doen’t they like me? I don’t understand what I did to not even get a half smile.”
All of this is, of course, insane. Why do I need people to like me? Why do any of us so desperately seek validation? Especially from people we barely know. I partially blame technology. The dopamine hits for every cellular ding, every like, every affirming comment ,and every share is having a profoundly negative impact on our experiences in reality. So many people are consumed by validation via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… and it is validation from people they will likely never meet, who likely care very little, and who are, in most cases, seeking reciprocal empty, vain, and shallow validation.
How did this mass delusion happen? Ten, fifteen years of being plugged in has had its toll. We have bought a lie. That lie is that we are special, different, and very important - just for being ourselves. I don’t have to actually do anything of real value, I just have to make it look like that is the case. This false facade is the ugly manifestation of self love. And that desperate need for people to like us? Those are the fragile toothpicks we use to prop that facade up.
Let the facade fall. Let it shatter into a thousand pieces. Be a person or real substance and value, but most of all BE REAL. Don’t know what that means? Figure it out. You won’t need people to “like” you so desperately and so pathetically.