When Someone Doesn’t Like You

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A few months back, I was meeting with my private clients in my virtual living room.

We always have tons of fun, musing on everything from style to courage.

During one particular meeting, we spent an hour talking about self-belief:

What do you choose to believe about yourself?

One of my clients went on to share a nasty email she had received from a co-worker earlier that day. By the time she joined us on the call, she was distraught.

She asked me, “Do you ever receive nasty comments?”

Ugh..yeah!!!!

Every once in awhile, someone feels the need to express their unfavorable opinion of me. I don’t talk about these moments a lot, because truthfully, they don’t deserve my energy. However, I realize that this is a huge struggle for so many women. So, let me assure you, I have people who really don’t care for me.

Not too long ago, a woman said to me upon our first encounter:

Tonya, I hear you have great wisdom to share, but you’re just too pretty for me to take serious.

What??? A woman can’t be pretty and smart?

Obviously, she has never heard of Angelina Jolie or Lupita Amondi Nyong.

Nevertheless, I took a sip of wine and said, “Well, how does one argue with that,” and continued to talk about quantum physics with the rest of the group.

I remember a time in my life where this kind of comment would have rocked me to my core and sent me spiraling into despair. I would have probably shaved my head and waxed off my eyebrows to gain her favor.

Or, I would have been snarky and given her a list of all of my accolades, everything from being a CVICU nurse to graduating Summa Cum Laude from Boston University, in hopes of convincing her of my intellect.

But, I did neither. Actually, I felt sorry for her that she needed to tear another woman down to feel good about herself. Her opinion of me had everything to do with her and nothing at all to do with me.

However, what really bothers me is when I see women who are incredibly beautiful and wicked smart avoid these kinds of comments by shrinking and avoiding.

We hide behind our weight, our families and careers because we don’t want to offend people. I spent years doing that. At 75 pounds heavier, I was never called pretty.

Hiding is such a boring way to live.

So, listen up m’friend:

Don’t shrink to make someone else feel bigger. Ever.  {tweet it}

Also remember, if someone enjoys beer, they won’t like your Champagne. And, that’s okay.

When you truly know who you are, you don’t need others to know it.  {tweet it}

As a very wise French lady told me once, “A sign of elegance is when we don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”

If you’re always needing other people to approve of you, chances are you are not living your life full out.

You cannot live with passion if you’re worried about your passion offending others.

You cannot live with joie de vivre if you’re afraid to shine.

You cannot live in style if you’re afraid of what people will think.

And, you certainly cannot French Kiss Life, if you’re afraid to live life unapologetically.

By the way, I came home from that dinner and opened my inbox to this email:

Tonya, because of our work together, I have left a job I hated, moved to a place I love and have never been happier.

Those are the love letters I focus on. This is what I choose to believe about myself.

Now, tell me: what do you believe about you?

With Wicked Smart & Pretty Love,

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30 Responses to When Someone Doesn’t Like You

    • Hey Carrie!

      Funny how those deeper beliefs can be disguised, right?

      My wish for you is that you’ll see how worthy you really are.

      That’s what I choose to believe about you :).

      Muah!

  1. Great post !
    As we say in french : “Personne ne peut vous blesser sans votre permission” or “Nobody can hurt you without your permission”.

  2. I love, love, love this post. Oh did I ever go through this hell of wanting to be liked!
    and beating myself up with people pleasing when someone didn’t like me!
    Working with you, and SCS, helped me to love, cherish and adore myself, to embrace who I want to be, and give myself permission to be me, always evolving and creating her magic!
    I believe in my own personal brand of magic and style. And I am not afraid to let it shine.
    I love being the combination of beautiful and smart–that’s pretty powerful!
    There will always be someone who doesn’t like me. And that’s fine! I choose not to let that energy in.
    Life is too beautiful and there are so many beautiful people to know and connect with!

    • Regina, I have LOVED witnessing your growth and seeing you fall in love with you.

      Yes, look for beauty and you’ll find it. Every time! xoxo

  3. Hi Tanya,

    What do I believe about myself?

    I believed that desiring more and having expensive taste was ungodly. My family shamed for wanting the best, so that translated to me not valuing myself. A very wise, beautiful, brilliant lady once said “if they like beer, they won’t like your Champagne” I love it# #Cheers!

  4. Oh, I went through some of these things for the longest time, too. It took a long time for me to ‘grow out of that’! Once, several years ago, while visiting my mother, we were leaving to go to the grocery store (or some uneventful errands)…and I took the time in the morning to ‘get ready’, which includes doing my makeup & hair to start the day (whether I”m going anywhere or not). My mother asked, “Why are you taking the time to do all that, you’re not going to see anyone”. I told her it didn’t matter, “I see me, and I have some self-respect”. No more questions about that, ever since! Goodness, such little things as stating our boundaries, can bring such peace. (at least it did for me).

  5. Not that long ago, I was told that several people did not like me. I cried for 4 hours as this was told to me by someone I liked and respected.

    However, I have grown – no I haven’t really – I believe in myself, I just have not had the courage to go out there and see if others believe in me as well. Self Esteem is hard won and can be crushed so easily by the insensitive.

    However, when I finish MDI, then – look out world. They might not like me, but they will respect me for my honesty and individuality.

    Oh, and to borrow from Carrie, I will be high maintenance

    xoxo

    • Love it Catherine!

      Self-esteem is something you practice and build. Keep engaging with this work, and you’ll get to a place where you are your most fierce bodyguard, and sure, the comments will hurt, but you want internalize them, and you certainly won’t shrink to make others feel bigger.

      And, high maintenance? Yes, the higher, the better.

  6. Have you watched “Sex and Mrs. X?” Mme Simone informs the reporter that in France a woman can be intelligent, and if she’s also attractive, “everyone wins.” It’s one of my all-time favorite movies.

  7. Tonya,

    This post is very timely for me…as yours usually are! Being an SCS Alumni and MDI Alumni, I have come to realize who I am in this world and just what my mission is. I have had to let go of some pretty damaging relationships because they do not align with who I am anymore. What I used to tolerate, I now find offensive and I won’t allow myself to engage in the negativity. What other people think of me is none of my business! Right?? I also realized that the friends who constantly criticize me, well, they aren’t friends at all. In fact, I absolutely love it now when anyone says to me, “I’m only saying this for your own good.” I smile and walk away knowing they are saying it because of their own insecurity.

    So thank you beautiful lady for imparting your smarts to me! I appreciate you so much in my life and can’t wait to keep learning and growing! You are the BEST!

    Lots and Lots of Love!!

    Laurie

    • Many years ago I dated a Heisman Trophy winner, and he once said something to me that I’ve never forgotten. Although I don’t know that much about football, it rang true then, and it rings true now. He said, ” They never try to tackle you unless you’re running with the ball.” Keep running with the ball, ladies. Xoxox Laurie D.

    • Laurie, I have LOVED being a part of your journey.

      Oh, I’ve heard that whole, “for your own good” speech, and it’s clearly their fears being projected on me. No thank you!

      Let’s make 2016 our best yet!

  8. Thank you for your post, Tonya. It reminds me of my favorite quote by Marianne Williamson in which she says:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    I thought I lived by this, until one day {not so long ago} I realized I wasn’t fully expressing myself in certain areas and that I *was* shrinking so that I didn’t make others uncomfortable. It was a scary realization and I made my motto #sorrynotsorry – I stopped apologizing for who I am started stepping into my light. {Maybe not so} ironically, as soon as I started doing that, new avenues opened up and now I’m connecting with people at a much deeper level.

    Now, what I believe about myself is this: I have beautiful & unique gifts and it is my responsibility and JOY to share myself fully with the world.

    Thanks so much for sharing your light.

    Much love to you <3

    • Such a great quote, and so true.

      And, you know what? It’s a constant check-in and awareness of when we’re being who we want to be or who others expect us to be. So happy you had that awareness.

      And, love to you right back :).

  9. what a ridiculous thing for that woman to say! Great response Tonya. I totally agree with you, that comment reflected on her, not you. I too just ignore remarks i find rude, unkind or nothing whatsoeever to do with me Of course this comes with age and wisdom; in my younger days i was easily hurt too.
    so glad those days are behind me!

  10. How timely! I’ve just returned to my desk from a meeting at which I was told that a co-worker has been critical of me behind my back. Even though I told myself I don’t care I realised that I was scoffing my lunch and checking emails whilst doing it – a clear sign that I am in fact p*****d!

    Reading the post has made me step back, breathe and resolve not to get drawn into the drama. My bitching days are long since behind me – I’m better than that. So instead of reaching for the chocolate I’m going to take a walk around the block and return to my desk with a smile on my face and approach the rest of the day with elegance.

    Thank you for being there just when I needed it!

    • What a great turnaround Kathryn! And, of course you were upset. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns when people are being and a**.

  11. What a fantastic post and I loved, “if someone enjoys beer, they won’t like my champagne.” I tried for years to get my step daughter to like me and finally got it when my therapist asked me, why are you putting so much energy into someone who wants nothing to do with you and giving so little to those who love you and enjoy your company. Light bulb went on!

    Thank you for such a timely reminder!

    • Hi Talia! Stepkids are difficult. I’ve been a stepmom, and whew! However, I’ve also seen them come around later after they mature and see all the manipulation they were a part of and projected onto the stepparent. Your therapists advice was spot on! Live your life fully and focus on those who appreciate you!

  12. Dearest Tonya,

    Sometimes I really want to hug you! I love this post so much! It’s funny because I have been recently thinking along these very lines. Something about the critical comments I was making about myself and my life to others- friends, family and acquaintances – whose lives were not going very well, or who have a tendency to complain a lot, was making me uneasy. It was by no means anything colossally awful or denigrating, but there was this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that I was doing a disservice to myself because honestly my life is pretty awesome! I think now on further reflection that I was indeed shrinking myself to make someone else feel better as I believed deep down that misery loves company. How awful! Ironically, I don’t think my self-effacement made any impact on the other person – the haters were going to hate no matter what, my true friends didn’t feel any better faced with my woes (alright we have something to talk about, but it wasn’t fun really) and the end result was that I was making myself unhappy.

    I particularly like the quote that Amy shared with us, “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”. As a naturally empathetic person, I realize now that my response to someone else’s pain is to shrink myself in order to make them feel less uncomfortable. But this is an absolutely FAULTY practice.

    In the words of ee cumming’s, “here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)” We cannot be true to ourselves until we are ready to shine. Thank you so much for bringing this to light!!

  13. Tonya,
    Just this time last year I would have cried when answering this question. Today it gives me joy and a thankful heart to have somewhere to share this.

    I believe I’m just getting started living my amazing purpose. I’m brave, and can accomplish anything I desire. I honestly believe IF I wanted to play professional basketball, I could dedicate myself to nothing else and it would happen. I believe I have a hunger for the well lived life and that my passion is a blessing not a curse. I believe I am beautiful, smart, and a role model for Halianna and other women that you CAN make a dream come true.

    I believe this journey is the most beautiful ride I’ve even been on, thanks to you.

  14. I get the cold shoulder from many co-workers and was discussing this with another one day. Suddenly she stopped and said “look around, you don’t fit in”. I looked and saw obese women dressed more like they were coming in from a barn then working in a professional office. No makeup, hair a mess, baggy jeans and sneakers. It was a light bulb moment. After taking all this in I looked at her and said “You’re right, I don’t fit in. And I don’t want to”. Since that day I’ve stopped trying to be liked. I’m a good person. Hard working, fair and honest. And if I’m that great that they are intimidated by me then that’s their problem not mine. Even days I work from home I still do my hair and makeup and get in to office appropriate clothes. I do it for me. No one else.

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