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Have you ever tried to be like other people so they will like you?

Have you ever tried to be like other people so they will like you?
January 10, 2018 Ann Weiser Cornell
feel empty inside

Focusing Tip #591 – Have you ever tried to be like other people so they will like you?


A Reader writes:

In my Focusing so far I’ve found out I’ve been trying to be like other people so they will like me. Underneath that, I feel empty inside… like I myself am nothing. I feel so inadequate. This is a scary feeling and I am not sure how to be with it.

Dear Reader:

I remember when all I wanted was to be accepted by the popular kids. I studied how they looked and sounded so I could copy them.

I was driven by a deep conviction of my own inadequacy. If I could have put into words how I felt (which I couldn’t), I would have said: “If only they accept me, then I will be acceptable.”

It’s funny how hard it is to fool people. All my efforts to be cool and popular did not work. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I know why. Because despite the superficial things I did, my body posture and voice tone were giving off the message: “I feel inadequate, please like me.”

Just as with an addiction, the urge to be like others so they will like you is driven by a deeper pain. “I am inadequate” is an extremely painful feeling. Running from it and trying to cover it up means it will never change.

The feeling of being inadequate as I am can be changed. It is a wound that can be healed.

We do that by turning toward it with compassion and empathy. You’ve made a great start by Focusing with this issue and finding that you feel empty inside. Now: be with the empty feeling. Let it be “something in me feels empty.”

You are not that empty feeling, it is something in you… and that means you can give it your presence, your company, your kindness… and listen to it, and get to know it better. And let it know you hear it.

This is a healing process. No matter how old this wound is, it can heal this way. Blessings on your journey!

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