I’ve had the chance to spend some time with someone lately who seems to dislike me….quite a bit. I’ve heard a lot of people say things like, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me”, or similar statements, but this isn’t my experience. I do care what people think about me, even though I know (deep down) that it isn’t any of my business, and even though I cannot change what other people think, there is still a part of me that wants everyone to like me, even if I don’t really like them.
So I found myself asking the futile question, “Why doesn’t he like me?” and my ego was happy to oblige me with many reasons, and I was still left, in the end, feeling bad. None of the things my mind came up with felt right. So I asked myself another question, “Do I really like him?” and the answer was yes, which meant I had to keep looking for the reason for my inner discomfort.
Once I was able to get a little distance from the emotional rat’s nest (that my mind had become trying to figure him out) I saw the answer and knew it was the truth because I felt a deep sense of relief: I really like this person, I really don’t like me around this person. I don’t like who I become around him. I try too hard to impress him. I try too hard to make him like me. I try too hard…..and so the relationship feels difficult…because I am not at ease within myself.
This isn’t a new revelation. I know about enough about projection, and the psychological theories of human relationships and the ego, to fill an ocean. But I still get caught in the trap of thinking that something or someone outside of me can make me feel a certain way….and when I do that, I am lost. So where to go? Back to myself. What I am thinking? The answer is always there.
“When a thought hurts, that’s the signal that it isn’t true.” Byron Katie
* this new painting and several others are for sale on the MY ARTWORK PAGE (feel free to email me with any questions, email@example.com)