29 Aug

Over the past year I have had several conversations with a very good friend and business associate Jimmy Greene about the word “like” and the value of meaning and the use of the word. We are friends with people we like, we do business with people we like, and we ultimately must like you to value and trust you.

Now let’s face it, you’re not going to like everyone. And sometimes the feeling is mutual. We meet someone who just rubs us wrong. You’re instant rivals, right down to the barely suppressed sneer and curled lip.  There are so many reasons that affect our choices of who we like and dislike.  Sadly, the reality is we often are drawn to and like people who tend to be similar to us, and dislike those who are different for whatever reason…. How they dress, tone of their voice, their education, the house or car they own, their job, people they associate with or their friends, economic status, religious beliefs, political ideologies, color of their skin, shape of their body, hair style, and the list goes on and on. 

As you can see it is easier and we have many more reasons to not “like” someone than we do to like them.  Many of us start off by looking for reasons to not like you or let you “in” or close instead of finding commonality and appreciating our differences.

Now sometimes it’s not quite so dramatic. We might actually be making every effort to build a relationship, but the other person is just not having it. Or there’s some previous history standing in the way of a relationship before it even has a chance.

Today, with so much divisiveness, conflict, and negativity in the world, on social media, in the news, in the stores, in parking lots, and on the roads we travel - whatever the case, there has come a time to let it go… to let go of “dislike.” 

Holding onto animosity, even something so subtle as not wanting to be around certain people at work only ends up affecting, frustrating, angering and hurting YOU in the end. The truth is, that in fact, you might be missing out on some hidden benefits by accepting someone who you feel you dont like.

While it’s easier to find reasons to not like someone, your life would be much better off and fulfilling if you would make an effort to look for and find reasons to accept and like them for who they are, even if you don’t see things the same way, have the same beliefs, or live the same lifestyle.   

Now, are you intrigued? Then continue reading and you will discover the many benefits, the why of it, better yet, how accepting and liking others leads to a happier more prosperous life.

The benefits of accepting those you dislike are many.  Here are just a few:

  • Reduces stress caused by the tension within the relationship
  • Cuts down anxiety regarding what the other person will say or do
  • Frees you from destructive thought patterns regarding this individual
  • Allows you to enjoy your relationships fully without worrying about how someone will or won’t react
  • Opens you up to understanding different beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures
  • Establishes deeper relationships beyond the surface and first impressions
  • Builds a broader network and support system of friends and business associates

In order to open your heart and mind to accept and like others for who they are, you only need to follow these three steps.


Step One: Address Any Fears

Frequently, when we dislike someone, it’s because they’re triggering us somehow. Triggering a past memory of a relationship or interaction that caused us pain, anger, or loss. We also naturally fear the unknow – those who we do not know.

By looking deeper into the emotions being raised, and addressing them, you’ll be able to let go of a lot of the negativity you’re feeling toward them. This is especially true of fears, which have a way of looking like a lot of other things, such as dislike.  We fear that which is unknown, or that which is different.

We have fears of going to certain neighborhoods, or certain stores.  We have fears base on how a person looks or how they speak.  These fears are based on a stereo type, a single interaction, or something that we have been told by others to fear. We fear whether or not we can trust others to not hurt us, use us, manipulate us or take from us.

For some reason our fear prevents us from listening for understanding to opposing and differing opinions and beliefs others and accepting them.  Agreeing to disagree, yet not judging them, instead liking them. 

Be aware of your feelings and identify the feeling of fear and what is triggering the feeling – and let it go.  Face the fear head on and open yourself to goodness.


Step Two: Let Go of Anger and Hate

Much like fears, anger and hate have a way of keeping up a pretense of hearty dislike. This is what happens when you let things fester, especially over something you’ve been holding onto for a while.  When we walk around with a chip on our shoulder and our hears filled with anger or hate, we are unable to like ourselves let alone others.  The feeling of anger and hate raises our blood pressure, causes stress, makes us react negatively, and strike out at others who are undeserving. 

When we act our of anger or hate we are actually acting in a selfish manner to fill an emptiness, to right a wrong, to make ourselves feel better, right, or in control. 

Here’s a Pro tip? Try forgiveness. Lay the past to rest between you and try accepting the person, things, and memories as lessons and opportunities.  Live in the now, in the moment, accept people for the person they have become not who they were or your preconceived judgement based in anger or hate.

Step 3: Look for the Good in the Relationship

If you’re caught up in dislike, you might not have noticed there has been a positive impact on your relationship. Look for the things you’ve learned from the individual. Even harsh lessons have a way of guiding us onto new paths, benefiting us in the long run.

Sometimes we do ourselves a great disservice by hanging onto an immediate feeling of dislike for someone. As humans who grow and change, if we allow for it, relationships with those we don’t like can improve. Even if the connection never becomes stronger, accepting that the person is just the way they are will bring more peace into your life allowing room for happiness and ultimately joy.

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