1 The idea that you must have sincere love and approval almost all the time from all the people you find significant.
This is a big one from me.
I posted a few weeks ago about how I suddenly decided that a friend of mine didn’t like me anymore. I had suddenly found that she was busier than usual, and did not respond to my texts the same way that she did in the past. I immediately decided that she didn’t like me anymore.
On Thanksgiving, I sent out a “Happy Thanksgiving” text to over ten friends, many of whom responded. But still, I felt lonely.
There was an episode of Seinfeld in which George becomes obsessed with a woman who does not like him. His girlfriend asks him, “Does everybody have to like you?” George emphatically responds “Yes! Everybody has to like me!” I laugh at that scene because I feel the same way.
This can have a very negative impact on my life because it makes me a people pleaser. When people become angry or testy with me, I react very negatively. This is especially difficult in my job. I work with the public a lot, and of course I cannot always give people what they want. In some way, it is a good fit for me, because I am so desperate to please others. At the same time, this makes it difficult to say “No” when I have to do so. Many times this can get me into trouble. I can be pushed into doing things that I should not do.
It can also make relationships more difficult. If I hear harsh words from my mom or my brother, they sting more than they should, and I carry them with me far longer than I should. This leads me to make bad decisions about how to handle these relationships.
The ironic thing is that there are very few people whom I like. Elizabeth Bennett said, “There are few people in the world whom I really love and even fewer of whom I think well.” And yet, everyone must love me and think well of me.
Of course, this is silly. If I don’t like everyone, why should everyone like me?