The Likeability Complex
recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.
We all have an inherent need to belong. Even more so when we are younger, but as you grow older that need doesn’t just disappear. It manifests and turns into seeking constant validation from the world. Sometimes from everyone except from the person it matters to the most – you.
I am no stranger to “The Likeability Complex”. As a matter of fact, I used to aptly call it adapting to my surroundings when it was more overcompensating to fit in or as the cool kids call it, for clout. Somewhere along the line I lost myself to the idea of what I thought the world wanted to see. So I created a façade until it became an exhausting exercise of always molding myself to some standard I set in my own mind. Sure, it was temporarily satisfying fitting in but I realized I could only be so many versions of myself until being a social chameleon turned into a full time job.
I had to take several steps back and re-evaluate who I was when no one was looking. More importantly I had to work on the most important relationship I will probably ever have – with myself. It’s still a bumpy road every now and then, but like all relationships, if you want it to work, you have to put in the work.
I think all of us suffer from a mild case of The Likeability Complex, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t crave belonging. But there is a fine line between belonging and fitting in. The latter suggests you need to alter a part of you to “fit” into any given environment while belonging is being somewhere you want to be and they want you to be equally.
So ask yourself:
Who are you when the façade is stripped away and all that is left is the real you?
That wasn’t meant to be dreadful rhetorical question but rather a gentle nudge to do some introspection. I believe therein lies the secret to self-love.
Imagine how liberating it would be if the validation of others did not matter? To know that you don’t have to overcompensate or become a people pleaser just because the thought of not being liked seems soul-crushing. Truth is, you are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and I can confidently say that it is completely okay not to be liked by everyone. Quality over quantity and all that.
Because if you continue to allow the approval of others to dictate your life, it will come at the cost of your individuality and while it is definitely a journey to break free from the chains of validation that bind you, I’m here to let you know what it looks like on the other side.
You can say no and mean it.
People will continuously test your boundaries and when you don’t normally say no, they will take it for granted. Realizing you don’t have to please everyone, allows you to say no when you need to and protect your peace.
You know who your true friends are
Being your authentic, awkward and quirky self will only strengthen who you are and the real ones will stick around.
You connect with your deeper self
Once you know and understand who you are and become unapologetic about it, you start aligning your core values with your actions and become more intentional about who and what you want to be around.
Ultimately, it remains a journey, but the destination is a beautiful one. So for anyone who is fixated on the approval of others – here’s a little reminder to be gentle with yourself and know that even though you are not for everyone, you will always be enough for the person it matters to the most –you:
You are an immaculate being with a depth that transcends deeper than any ocean. Your existence is intentional and your every move is a deliberate act of self-love. Set your heart ablaze with a burning love for every inch of your body and every strand of hair on your head.
For anyone who is worthy will not have you change a single thing.