“Remember what I told you about the three kinds of people?” My therapist prompted during a recent session.
“Yes.” I replied, and then recited. “There are three kinds of people…
1.Those that like you
2.Those that don’t like you
3. Those that are indifferent to you.”
She chuckled. “Good job.”
I continued, “And this is true for everyone. Rich. Poor. Famous. Or unknown. Each one of us will have the same three kinds of people that we will encounter.”
In the beginning of my recovery this axiom helped me deal with overwhelming feelings of rejection that fueled many other fears.
It’s ok to be disliked; or to go unnoticed by some. You are liked by others and that’s normal and true for everyone.
At this stage of recovery, the axiom about three kinds of people is helping me gain balance as I explore my writing again. It is also helping me strengthen existing relationships; and gain the courage to explore new ones.
*It’s ok if people don’t notice me, or my work, there will always be those who are indifferent to me.
*It’s ok if some flat out don’t like me, or my work. They may like a different style than I create; or disagree with my content. Oh well.
*And when someone does find me and like me, Praise God and enjoy it. (Yet don’t put too much stock into being accepted by man when my goal is to obey and follow God above all. After all, being liked by some is also part of the usual human experience.)
Today I realized more. I am starting to ‘get’ how freeing this truth (about three kinds of people) has also been to discovering who I actually am.
I started becoming whoever I needed to be to try and make everyone around me like me, very early in childhood. The need to make others around me ‘happy’ (and thus safe) was one of the ways I tried to control the traumatic environment in which I was raised.
Sometimes that person I created was who God intended for me to be. Other times; not so much. The past few years I’ve been understanding what I truly like; and dislike. What my calling is in life. What I’m supposed to be doing with my time every day. Why I bond so easily with some people and struggle with others.
I am letting go of the need to like everyone and everything. Being around people I didn’t jell with used to be very disconcerting to me—to discover someone or something I found troubling or not to my personal taste or lifestyle choices. I tried to change them to fit something that made me feel more comfortable inside. It didn’t work so well. The only thing you can change on another human is their diaper. And it’s exhausting to try and take someone who doesn’t like you, and/or who you don’t really like back, and make them into something different. All so that you can convince yourself you do like them and thereby quiet a demon living inside of you that thinks everyone and everything should always get along like besties… or else life is too scary to live out.
I realized how much I’ve grown in this area as lately if someone’s style or personality isn’t for me, I don’t need to change them in order to feel settled inside of myself. I can be cordial in my indifference, or I can voice the fact that he or she, or this or that, just isn’t suitable to my tastes, without making it into something contentious.
As a Christian I know that I am joined with my brothers and sisters. I am learning, though, that unity doesn’t mean we have to all like, or dislike, the same things.
Such a simple thing, to discover your inherent likes and dislikes and to be able to voice them openly without any harm to anyone.
I hope many people were able to make that discovery in their toddling years.
Sadly, I learned other lessons in my toddling years. Shortly after I was learning to walk, I turned around corners and saw my teenaged brother being beaten bloody by my father. It is one of my earliest memories of life. Shortly thereafter a different older brother nearly killed my five year old sister. While my brain was still forming, I witnessed murderous intentions inflicted by the very hands that were supposed to be unconditionally loving. So I give myself an extra measure of grace for ‘playing God’ with my own inherent personality traits; for wanting to change the unique person He knit me together to be. I am fairly certain that He gives extra grace for such situations as well.
As Jesus said, the truth will set you free. And scriptures make it clear that Jesus also encountered three types of people. Some that liked Him, some that didn’t, and some that didn’t even notice that God Himself walked in their midst.
As for me, He’s still in the fire and I happen to love Him very much. (and old southern gospel music.)