In 2014, some friends organised a surprise birthday celebration for me. It was really nice, and I had a lot of fun. During the celebrations, each person there shared how they met me, first impressions, shared a memory, and gave some encouragement. There was one friend there who did not like me at all when we first met in high school. (Not an uncommon sentiment, as I was a ‘strict’ student leader.) There was another friend, who I didn’t like when I first met her (she was strict volleyball coach, and I was trying to make the team.) Despite all those comments, the one that has stayed with me the most, is what was said by a friend’s partner.
“You know at I like about Kemesha? She is genuine. She exists only on the left or the right for people. Most times you see Kem, she is really happy and encouraging, or she is annoyed by something and ranting to my girlfriend. Following from that, people either really like her or really dislike her; no middle ground.”
Over the years since, I have reflected on that comment many times. He was right. So, the other day when a friend of mine contacted me, about being in a new environment and experiencing people just randomly disliking him, I could identify. Initially, I joked about it, saying, “Don’t worry; it will pass soon.” I even went further to say, “I get that all the time!”
I am becoming increasingly settled with, being disliked by some. As I am being my authentic self, the views I express, the way I react, and other parts of me, will be disliked by people. Chock it up to the fact that we are all different and look at life through different lenses. Sometimes, though, people will surprise you with the extent to which they dislike you, the things they say and leave you wondering what you have done. Sometimes, you would have done nothing, because people can dislike how your aura makes them feel. At other times, you would have done something, maybe made a mistake, and relationships can be shed like leaves.
We all need people and necessarily have to interact with other humans daily. With over 6 billion people in the world, it is impossible to be friends with everyone. If you are putting yourself out there, in any area, there may be harsh criticisms. As much as I am telling you, I am telling myself, that you will have to thicken your skin. Learn to be so self-assured, that even when critiqued, you can assess if it has merit and if there are things you need to work on. Also, decide that when you are harshly criticised, you will not let it poison your well of self-love and confidence.
Sometimes, you will need to simply trust your gut on people. Trust your instincts. You can often tell, from early interactions, how people feel about you. In m life, I have rarely been surprised by people, who I have worked with or befriended, suddenly disliking me. No. It never happens suddenly. Either I did something, they heard something from their family member who knows you, or they are a part of circles that joy in tearing you down. Trust your gut from the first instinct. Just be respectful to them at all times.
Now, as a human being, you will make mistakes. Unintentionally, you will offend people. Unintentionally, you will let people down. These are things that can impact relationships, heavily. It is these ones that can be hardest to move forward from. The first step, acknowledge your shortcomings. Next step, reach out to the person if you want to make amends. It is great if you are able to mend fences. If they’re not interested in that, then you need to move on. Forgive yourself, let it go and move on. It is pointless to walk around with the weight of failed relationships (personal or professional). It can be toxic, for you.
Remember we are all human. Always think how you would want to be treated.