• Joni Bonnell

You're Not Supposed to be Liked by Everyone!

We are living in unprecedented times. There is no doubt about it with COVID, the US elections, the economy, etc. It's like we live in the book Jumanji and I, for one, am getting stirred up and vocal about what I see and feel.

A few panic attacks have occurred these last few months. Still, instead of fighting them (which only makes them worse anyway), I am living with them and reflecting on the potential causes that made them show up. I am also showing myself grace and ultimately being grateful that they exist!

Sounds crazy, eh?

Growing in truth and voice

Here's the truth. The current state of our world wouldn't have affected me like it is affecting me now. Yes, I would have acknowledged what was happening, but I would never have entered into hard conversations. I wasn't one to rock the boat and get into discussions with people who disagreed with my viewpoints because I wanted to avoid confrontation and make everyone like me.

Since waking up, I have cultivated an inner strength that has allowed me to use my voice and stand up for what I believe to be the truth. I get agitated, hurt, tired, stressed, and overwhelmed at times, but I am using my voice! For the first time in my life, I have the confidence to not care whether or not others "like" what I am saying.

Therapy isn't shameful

Recently, I talked to my therapist (yes, I have one) about my previous need to be liked by everyone. I had been paying attention to how different I felt now that I no longer have the desire to be everyone's friend. I changed my colors to make sure I fit the color that worked best around the people I was with in the past. Truth be told, this was a menacing factor that caused a lot of internal strife. I never knew if I was coming or going or who I even really was. My old boss used to say, "Joni, I can take you anywhere! You can go from pearls one minute to jeans in the next and be completely comfortable." The truth was I wasn't comfortable, but I just did it. Chameleon Joni.

The need to be liked

Anyhow, back to my recent therapy session...

When sharing this revelation with her, she explained that we need to have people who don't like us! What? She asked me if I liked everybody I interacted with. I immediately responded with a loud "hell no!" So why then, she said, should everyone like me? I was silent. Then she dropped the bomb that made me understand: If I am liked by everyone, I am not showing my authentic self but rather lying about who I am, what I think, and how I feel.

She then asked if there were people who, when I was finished talking to them or seeing them in person (which hasn't happened for a long time due to COVID), left me exhausted? YES! On many occasions and with many people. She explained that this exhaustion was my body and mind needing to shut down because I worked so hard to be unnatural to be liked and fit into the situation.

Confident, Powerful, and Passionate Warrior Women

Coming back to this post's overarching premise, I am admitting that I am grateful for the feelings of anxiety. I am showing up as the real me and using my authentic voice. I am not caring whether I am liked or not, but I am speaking with my truth. Yes, I am standing up for what I believe in, and I am ENGAGED! I am using my voice without hesitation, and that is something I have waited 50+ years for!

Waking up and becoming confident, powerful, and passionate is not for the faint of heart but rather for the warriors ready to stand up and be heard. We become champions prepared to show up without hesitation because we are aligned with who we are and what we need to do.

In other words, I am grateful for this current pit in my stomach. I am thankful for the anxiety in my chest. I finally FEEL something: choosing to be bold and use my voice was more important than being liked.