I used to worry about being liked. I’d walk into a room and wonder who doesn’t like me here and what could I do to make them like me. If I posted something and had 99 people compliment me on it, I always chose to focus on the one person who showed some form of negativity towards it. What could I do to make sure they gave me their approval. Why were my likes lesser on my latest post than my previous ones?
To be honest, I still do sometimes but not in the same self deprecating way as my former self. The switch happened when I came across a video by a mental health advocate some years back. Although I do not remember what exactly she said in the video, the caption for the video has been a screenshot in my favourite folder since then.
“There are far more worthy pursuits to chase than to pursue being liked”. Those words became part of the foundation of the person I am becoming. The power of knowing you are disliked, and won’t be tolerated but yet show up
and just ‘being’ is one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself. There are so many things that eat at us daily, someone’s problem of disliking you should have no place in the list of things you aim to fix in your life.
A few years ago I had the grace of working with fellow journalist, Sangmorkie Tetteh. As a journalist and producer, I have had the pleasure of working with numerous people but never have I met someone as opinionated and confident as Sangmorkie is. If she had an opinion about something, she insisted her voice be heard, if she felt her rights was being curtailed, she would fight for it – guns blazing. I had new levels of respect for her when she walked out of a well paying job due to constant disrespect and not being credited for her work.
In one of our heart to heart conversations (we’ve had many over the years) I asked if she didn’t care about the reputation she was curving for herself as difficult. Ms Tetteh laughed. Her answer was simple- I am so deeply rooted in
myself that someone else’s opinion of me can’t shake me at my core.
Many of us have been groomed to accept things as it is, to not upset the system, agree to things for the sake of peace and to be in the good books of others. But why spend your life in silence, complaining only in the shadows and accepting whatever people throw at you just so you can have their approval.
The best kinds of people you’d meet are those who are fully living as their true selves. Life is very short and you do not have enough time to make yourself smaller to fit into someone’s desired notion of you. You are never what someone’s makes you feel. Being authentically you is the best way to discover your path in life. Not hiding, challenging the status quo, daring to be vulnerable as your step out as your authentic self gives room for others to shine as they are.
Maya angelou summed it best. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to
do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” you cannot thrive when the best version of you is hidden away to please a culture of oppression. Make the choice to be uniquely you!
You are worthy and one of a kind, if they can’t see that, well, who cares? Learn to love yourself and taste the freedom that comes with it.
By Yeayi Kobina
The writer has played multiple roles in broadcast journalism, news anchoring, branding and programming communications, scriptwriting, and content producing. He has worked as the lead producer of TV3’s flagship morning show, ‘Newday’.