This is brilliant and so simple. Perhaps from an unlikely source.
How much less stressful would our lives be if we could let go of our perceptions of what others think of us? Most of us spend a good bit of our energy and emotion wondering what others are thinking of us, perhaps assuming the worst. But what if we just assume that everyone likes us?
Recently a fella moved to Charlotte to begin a new job. He moved his entire family (with seven children) from Michigan to run a staff of over 100 employees and more than 2,000 members of a non-profit company (keep reading to see who it was). When asked if he was nervous about starting over, making changes with his new staff, and generally ruffling some feathers, his response blew me away. With a very humble smile he replied that no, “I just assume that everyone likes me.” Huh. Well, I love that! This isn’t a vain statement, but a genius way to look at life.
According to an article by Tom Ferry, CEO of YourCoach, the need for approval has been conditioned within us.
“Approval from others gives us a higher sense of self-esteem. We’re convinced that their recognition matters to our self-worth and how deeply we value ourselves.” (1)
Ugh. Is this true? Do we place such significance on others’ opinions of us, our decisions, our families, our clothes, where we live, our joke that wasn’t funny? How many of us base decisions at least in part based on what we assume others will think of us? That feels like a huge burden to me.
Gretchen Rubin says:
“This is a secret of adulthood…..Getting approval and admiration from the people around you is very sweet. But it isn’t enough to be the foundation of a happy life.”(2)
She goes on to say that sometimes we worry so much about what others think of us or a decision to be made, that we lose perspective and don’t even know our own opinion anymore. Does fear of what others will think prevent us from doing what we want/should do?
So try this Happiness Hack. Just assume that everyone likes you. If everyone is in your corner, it should be easy to be nice to them, to encourage them, to laugh off something that you might otherwise have perceived as a “slight”. They aren’t patronizing you, they like you! Remember? They aren’t second-guessing your decision, they like you. They trust you. They can’t wait for you to succeed! Wow, doesn’t that feel so much better than assuming the worst? Try it and see if the stress of other’s opinions just roll off your back. Then let yourself enjoy being who you are. Happy.
I’m so glad you like me.
That “fella” I mentioned is the new Senior Pastor of Christ Covenant Church, Pastor Kevin DeYoung. Pictured at right.
(2) www.Happiercast.com (episode 129)