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You Are Not for Everyone, and That’s Okay

Quirky Woman

One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don’t have to like everyone, everyone doesn’t have to like us, and it’s perfectly okay.” –Unknown

I grew up a people pleaser. It was drilled into me from childhood that it was very important to be aware of what other people thought of me and my actions at all times. Growing up in the south, keeping up with appearances is something that becomes a part of your identity.

While I enjoy the part of Southern upbringing that taught me to always be polite, the part that teaches you to put others’ opinion before your own is something that I came to resent.

Before I made any decision, I was to carefully weigh out how it would affect others and their thoughts of me.

As a kid, it worked out pretty well. (The whole reason I stayed out of trouble mostly, eh?) As an adult…not so much. The constant need to have everyone like me came back to kick me in the butt, again and again.

It started out through middle and high school when I was figuring out my interests and passions. In my heart, I felt one way. In person, I obviously leaned toward whatever I thought was “cool.”

I remember still having the childish awe and passions at that time, but I tried to grow up far too quickly to fit in.

Before long it got to the point where every decision in my life involved me heavily weighing what other people would think. Obviously as a blogger, this was amplified. You can’t build an online presence without being well liked and doing what’s “popular” on the Internet, right?

I built myself completely around others’ expectations, from the way I looked, to my friends, to my relationships, passions, personality, and more.

When people would ask me about myself, I had carefully figured out answers, but they weren’t the same for everyone.

I became an expert at analyzing people and situations so that I could figure out the person I needed to be for those certain people in order for them to like me. I had no one true self, but instead, many different versions of me made to please everyone and anyone.

In relationships, it hurt me the most, possibly. I never revealed my true self to anyone—friends or significant others—as I didn’t want to drive them away. If we got into arguments, I would either apologize and take their side or simply pull myself away from them further as I convinced myself that we were not meant to be.

The journey to my own self-discovery and wanting to please myself most of all came in something unexpected in the last few months—when a friend pulled away from me after I had upset her.

You see, in the past I had pulled away from everyone else first if they got too close to me, never the other way around.

It struck me in the healing time that I was not upset because of how close we had become or because I valued them so deeply as a person.

It turned out, what upset me the most was knowing that there was someone out there who did not like me and was harboring bad feelings toward me. The thought of that tore me apart.

It wasn’t until I was talking to another friend, and she pointed out that there was most likely a great deal of people that didn’t like me, that I had a revelation.

There will always be people who don’t like me, possibly people who outright dislike me. By trying to cater my life and decisions to everyone else besides the only person whose feelings mattered (me), I drove myself into an unhappy place in an impossible attempt to make everyone happy. I’d never be able to make everyone happy, and it turns out that that’s fine.

I spent so much time trying to get everyone to like me that I never figured out that’s not actually what’s best for me. Surprisingly, I figured out that in my life, as well as my business, it’s a good thing to drive people away! That may sound weird, but let me explain:

It started with this amazing quote from the book Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell, which goes like this:

“You are not for everyone, and that’s okay. The world is full of people who, no matter what you do, will point blank not like you. But it is also filled with people who will love you fiercely. You are not for everyone, and that’s okay.

“Talk to the people who can hear you. Don’t waste your precious time and gifts trying to convince them of your value, they won’t ever want what you’re selling. Don’t convince them to walk alongside you. You’ll be wasting both your time and theirs and will inflict unnecessary wounds, which will take precious time to heal.

“You are not for them and they are not for you; politely wave them on, and continue along your way. Sharing your path with someone is a sacred gift; don’t cheapen your gift by facing yours in the wrong direction. Keep facing your true north.”

As you “drive people away,” you only get closer to your ideal people. Those who love you, who want to be close to you, who truly value you, are one step closer.

Each person who criticizes your ideas and business draws you closer to your ideal clients. Each friend that walks away draws you closer to the people who share your beliefs and passions.

Being disliked by some is simply a byproduct of being authentic to who you truly are.

The more you embody your true persona, the more incompatible people will pull away from you.

That’s okay, because at the same time, the more you adopt your true self, the more likeminded people you’ll draw toward you.

You are not for everyone, and that’s not just okay, that’s amazing.

Photo credit: gratisography.com

Profile photo of Courtney Dunsmore

About Courtney Dunsmore

Courtney Dunsmore is a blogger and mindset coach at As We Stumble Along who helps women feeling unfulfilled in their twenties create the lives of their daydreams through the power of mindset! Check out her Monthly Group Program, Newsletter, Mindset Resource Library, and Facebook Group!

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  • SolSys

    Oh my gosh, how do you know my life story?? 🙂 Thanks so much for this post. I can wholeheartedly relate… especially to the bits about people pleasing, consequently staying out of trouble as a kid, and analyzing people/situations to adjust myself accordingly. I find that some important things depend on people liking us (like getting a job), so I still struggle with trying to understand the balance in that aspect. But my #1 priority in recent times has been to get to know & embrace my true self; hard work when you’ve essentially become an expert at the opposite.

  • This is me completely! I was adopted and raised into a military family where we moved ALL THE TIME so trying to fit in and please everyone was part of me. Especially since I was adopted, I never really knew my own identity or who I was REALLY suppose to be. I hate when people don’t like me. I hate when I can’t be myself. In fact, I don’t even know WHO I am anymore. As much as that benefited me when I was younger, I am only just recently trying to find what makes ME happy and at 40, it’s very difficult. Its even harder now as a mom of three teens when I feel as if I live for my kids. Thank you for such a GREAT article!

  • Harsh

    Great post. It’s helpful for me . I Find the answer that I am not for Everyone Thank you for this lovely gift

  • Courtney Dunsmore

    I’m so glad that someone else understands! It’s so tough after all that time modifying yourself to figure out who you truly are, and that was such a tough thing for me. You are worth getting to know, and worth finding out. There are people out there who are waiting for someone like you, the real you. You’ve got this ^_^

  • Courtney Dunsmore

    Thank you so much for the compliments! I definitely understand where you’re coming from on the balance part with the parts where you need people to like you! For me with work, it’s been a different ball park with being fully myself. Yes, I need people to like me there- but if they don’t, there’s another job that will.

  • Bill

    Wow. I’ve been seeing a psych for 2 years after a messy divorce and recent breakup with the woman I had the “affair” with that I thought was the one. I played the same game and ended up selling myself short to gain everyone admiration

  • Hazel

    I’ve met a few people who do this and ironically it’s the reason why I get so frustrated with them. You can never build a proper friendship or relationship with someone who is so dependent on what you think of them, with someone you never actually see their true self. In my experiences it’s a one sided friendship and so feels like a waste of time. Trying to be liked to the degree that you change hobbies or interests depending on who you’re with (like a specific person I’m thinking of) is actually what makes me stay away from a person. Not dislike, but I know it won’t be a satisfying relationship for me. If someone always goes with my opinion or what I like, I learn nothing new about the world and that’s boring.

    Good luck in your quests to find your real selves and I wish you courage in learning to show it and risk someone not liking you. To be honest it’s the people that didn’t like me which have taught me my most valuable life lessons and shown me my strength.

  • Lori

    I like you Courtney! Especially for writing such a brilliant article many people can relate to.

  • Supriya Rao

    Beautifully written!

  • Mark

    The idea of simply being real not only strengthens our own self-esteem, but others as well. By sharing your experiences in this article for everyone to read, you’ve helped me to feel better about me and my similar situation. I am making progress on changing my people pleaser problem, and your article was just what I needed to read today. Thank you.

  • DY Wee

    Same here. I remember doing this during my freshman sophomore year in High School and that really screwed me up big time. I remembering going to this Fantastic school that alot of my relatives and family friends recommended this place and tell me that I will make alot of friends, introduce me to boys and so on including the school admins telling me that. Its not to say I hated that school I liked it altogether but Im here to tell you my mistakes I have made in the past. During my days in school people were wearing boxers as well as using fake ids to club and drink and so on. Throughout my time at that school i didnt made alot of friends because the people there arent my type, the nicest people were close friends with the jerks of the school, I did what I could to get them to like me but at the end of the day it screwed me over and felt I have wasted my time with these sorts of people who try to act rough and tough. I already knew it was important to forgive and be a better person but I know that trusting them and giving them a second chance is completely a different story. My weakness was I didnt had any friends but now I have turn it to my strengths now during my junior year and senior year in High School and manage to live up with it. Plus getting everybody to like you is a complete waste of time because you will end up choosing the wrong people and end up doing the wrong thing, get influence to do something bad, taken advantage of very easily, see you as weak, and a complete waste of time. Seriously having no friends in school made me happy and this post made my day and showing us that is more than ok not be perfect because nobody is and its the best reason you can express yourself as a human being cheers to this website

  • Jodi Brown

    Good stuff, darlin’. I dated a guy many years ago that told me I was NOT for general consumption. It ended up being one of my strong points. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hellen Damnation

    Courtney, this is brilliant! I deeply and sincerely thank you for writing it. I have been “working” hard and you have awakened something in me; something that had overslept. I loved every word. Thank you. I’m definitely not for everyone and that’s okay. Perfect.

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    I needed these words in my life today! Thank you and the Universe for the alignment : )

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  • J C Raso

    What about when we’re not for anyone? I’ve been at it for nearly 4 years now. I don’t think I’m a horrible person but it seems that the unanimous opinion is that I’m not there is no chance what so ever I could possess any attributes that make me lovable. No one will even give me a chance. I don’t expect to attract super models (In fact I don’t expect anyone with an iota of success or self-esteem to love me) but it would be nice if I didn’t feel as though everyone could tell how unlovable I was from miles away.
    I’m not interested in being alone anymore. I’ve no desire nor capacity to learn to be happy by myself. I just want someone who will let me love them.

  • unrelatedwaffle

    I sense some entitlement and some deep self-hatred in your comment.

    You say you are unlovable. If you are limiting your definition of love to monogamous romantic partnership, you need to reevaluate this. Friendship and familial love are the bedrocks of your life and you need to maintain those relationships first.

    It would do you a better service to learn to love yourself first, and not expect romantic partners to fix the part of you that doesn’t love yourself right now. A romantic partner is not a prize you earn for being a certain way.

    I would also recommend that you speak to a professional about these issues. An anonymous internet comments section is not really the place to do meaningful self-work or reflection. I hope you can find a path that works for you.