I am a people-pleaser at heart. I dislike conflict and basically want everyone to agree with me. Don’t get me wrong, I see the value in spirited debate (I went to law school largely for this reason), but I really just want everyone to agree — with me, of course. I don’t like to ruffle feathers and I want people to like me, dammit.
Over time, I’ve realize just how fruitless — and harmful — this endless quest to make everyone happy all the time can be. I’ve fully accepted the “I’m not Nutella” reality and understand that I can’t be everything to everyone. I’ve also grown more comfortable in my own skin and understand who I am.
I’m an acquired taste with zero tolerance for bullshit and a killer RBF. Which means I’m not winning any popularity contests and some people just don’t like me.
I’m cool with that, and I’ve embraced an IDGAF attitude when it comes to people-pleasing.
The “I’m not Nutella, not everyone is gonna like me” attitude is the self-love philosophy du jour. And it’s great. Really.
Like all things, there are risks in this attitude. There is a dangerous side to this mentality as well.
Because some folks use it to excuse questionable behavior. They use it to justify not listening. They use it to avoid apologizing when they fuck up and refuse to have those hard conversations. And that is not okay.
That isn’t self-love or self-acceptable; it’s being a jerk.
So let’s talk about what “I’m not Nutella” means — and what it doesn’t mean.
“I am who I am” works for things like liking country music or Jimmy Buffett. It doesn’t give you permission to be rude or hurt people with your “brutal honesty.”
“Not everyone is gonna like me” works when you like to stay home in your pajamas and someone else likes to party all night, it works when you like to swear and someone else bristles at the word “damn.” It doesn’t work when you act like a jerk and shut someone down without listening.
The “I’m not Nutella” philosophy means you don’t have to waste time trying to impress everyone, you don’t need to change who you are so that you fit in with everyone else. But you absolutely do need to be a respectful human. It doesn’t give you a free pass on ignoring those who disagree with you and/or resorting to name-calling and personal attacks.
The trouble with all of these knee-jerk “I am who I am” and “not everyone’s gonna like me” responses is that they can prevent growth. They can keep us from trying to be better, from learning, from changing. They can keep us stuck in an echo chamber of only ourselves and others who think and act like us.
Oh, and sometimes it just makes you sound like a giant asshole.
Folks, we should love and accept ourselves. We should not spend time worrying about people who do not know our hearts or who we really are. We should not change who we are so that others like us.
But we shouldn’t put blinders on either. We shouldn’t change who we are, but we can change how we act if it’s hurting people. We shouldn’t avoid self-reflection. We shouldn’t stop trying to improve so we can work toward being our our best selves. We shouldn’t fall back on the “not everyone is gonna like me, I’m not Nutella” response when we have hurt someone.
So by all means, keep your “you do you, I am who I am” philosophy. Know who you are and be proud of it. But by god, don’t stick your head in the sand and call it self-love and personal acceptance. Because then it’s really just ignorance and denial. And nobody likes that.
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