Freedom Comes With The Cost Of Not Being Liked (By Some)

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Freedom feels light. It comes with an “ahhhh” expression of relief. As if you’d taken a huge weight off your back (psychologically and physically speaking).

Let’s try and take it off your back right now. 

So, you’ll never be free if you don’t stop living your life in a punishment-reward mode and instead begin to live it as an adult.

Being a people pleaser is no fun, yet, we’re always trying to please everyone, and almost always we leave ourselves aside, rationalizing that it would be egotistical to think about ourselves first, and so you put everyone else first. 

Why do put everyone else first? Because you are everything but egoistic? What’d you say if I’d tell you that by doing this you are being egoistic?

Why? Let’s be honest, you don’t try to please everyone around you because you care so much about everyone. The real reason you’re trying to please all the time is that you’re expecting to be liked and loved because of your people-pleasing. It’s really all about you, and that is egotistical. 

You function within the punishment-reward system. 

It’s hard to get out of this system. After all, your parents (unknowingly), school, and every authority figure in your life taught you to think this way. It basically tells you that if you want to be accepted and loved, you need to do as your told. 

Behave, don’t get into trouble, and be nice to everyone so that they love you, misbehave, and you’ll lose their love. Punishment and reward. 

But why are you so sure that by trying to be liked and by behaving the way others seem to want you to behave is going to bring you love and approval? 

It doesn’t. It’s weird to interact with a 50-year-old child that doesn’t really know what he likes or doesn’t like. That hasn’t developed a sense of self, a sense of individuality and independence. 

Freedom will only come once you realize that it’s ok to be disliked. 

Pleasing everyone is impossible and, as mentioned, egotistical. Do you still want to please someone? Sure, go ahead, but do it for the right reasons, because you love them, not because you expect love from them. 

If you do this, you’ll realize what people actually need, instead of what they say they need, which pretty often is not what they need. But you’ll no longer be constrained by your petty need for approval, you’ll be able to form adult relationships.

But should I just go rampant? Behaving like an asshole?! Not caring about anything? 

If you think that way, you’re still not getting it. The way I see it, you need to think about what values are important to you, and what values will benefit yourself and the people you love (in fact, everyone), and use them as a compass to act in the world. 

Freedom, for example, is inherently good quality, and you won’t be able to be free if you keep trying to be liked all the time. 

Stop trying, be ok with saying no more often and do you, feel the weight coming off your back now. 

Thanks for reading, 


Subscribe and receive the Askesis (practice) e-book for free to further develop your practice of stoicism.

Subscribe here

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s