I was in conversation with a coaching client when she had a eureka moment. She said, "I finally know what my problem is, I like to be liked. I remember as far back as when I was a little girl and I had to be liked by everyone. If there was one person who was not particularly fond of me, I would make it my business to get them to like me. I constantly need others to approve of me and validate me and this has become a pattern in my life. Everything i do stems from this and thats why I'm always unhappy."
"Do you like to be liked?" she questioned.
Wow! What a great question? Do I like to be liked? My first reaction was, ‘yes I do like to be liked, though I’m not really bothered if I’m not.’However, a little a voice in the back of my mind was shouting, ‘is that really true? Do you really not care?’... And suddenly all these images flashed in front of me of when I was at lunch with a group of ladies. One of them made a not so nice comment about me in a joking manner and I felt snubbed. This was not the first time she had done it. Even though she joked about it, I felt like she really meant it. ‘Why didn’t she like me?’ I spent days agonizing over it.
It was like the question had opened Pandora’s box. More memories began to surface and I realised that yes, in the past it really bothered me when I thought someone did not like me. It probably still does but to a much lesser degree. What had caused the change inside me was the Gestalt Prayer, written by Fritz Perls a psychotherapist. Dr. Perls is one of the three therapist whose work NLP is modeled on.
Yes, I like to be liked and I also know that no matter how much I like someone or want them to like me, I cannot force things to happen. I know I cannot control what others do and say, I can only control myself. I can focus on living in response to my own needs, without projecting onto or taking interjects from others. Sometimes we click and "it's beautiful" and other times "it can't be helped".
The Gestalt prayer has become a beautiful reminder, to live and let live.
Someone rightly said that what others think of us is not our business. If you are in a room with 20 people you will have 20 different reputations. We cannot control what anyone else thinks. What others think is a reflection on them and their life experiences. And we really do not know what people are thinking.
My client now has a print out of the Gestalt Prayer framed in her room. She reads it everyday and it makes her feel ok with people sometimes not "liking" her.