“You see Mrs Simpson, animals are a lot like people. Some of them act badly because they have had a hard life or have been mistreated. But, like people, some of them are just jerks”
-(The Simpsons 5:17)
There is a misconception, quite prolific in our circles, that there exists a moral value in being likeable and liking others.
I am not referring to popularity, which is in and of itself a questionable value, but rather the general quality of being pleasant, even around those that are unpleasant.
Some people can suffer an existential crisis when they sense being disliked. Being unpopular is one thing, but being disliked is something that social creatures are hardwired to avoid, in antiquity it could mean the difference between survival and death.
The indifference to how others perceive us is not a sign of mental health; some claim it’s the trait of a sociopath[i]. As much as we would like to live our lives independent of other’s assessments and opinions, the reality is that we all want to be liked.
But in reality not all people will like you, some people may even hate you despite your efforts to persuade them otherwise. Similarly there are people who you won’t like, even if you aren’t clear as to why you don’t like them.
Accept that some people you cannot get along with and that there are other people who cannot get along with you. The key is in finding a space that allows you to maintain a civil relationship with those people, despite your and their dislike for one another.
Perhaps instead of seeing a relationship in terms of black and white, one should look for the “grey”.
There is the possibility of disliking others without needing to cast them completely aside.
We can dislike people without hating them.
We can accept being disliked by others without resenting them.