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Reflections: Knowing Your Own Approval

Posted Mar 13 2013 6:36pm
On Valentine’s Day, I channeled ‘old me’ to share Reflections: Knowing Your Own Love. This time I’m exploring wanting to be liked….

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They're just not that special copyright baggagereclaim all rights reserved

I want you to like me because I want to like me too. If you like me, then I can see me through your eyes. You could show me who I am. With you I’d get to see my best bits and this void I walk around with would fill with happiness.

I want you to like me but I do wonder why I need this so much because it wasn’t so long ago that you didn’t exist in my life. Does it matter who you are?

I put a lot of effort into getting you to like me but if I’m honest, I’m not sure that I like you. Of course I’m not going to tell you this although I suspect that on some level you must know, otherwise you wouldn’t have pursued so relentlessly until I finally began to cave.

I feel as if I ‘should’ like you though because you like and want me. I need to ‘give back’. I feel guilty and so even though I’m not really that into you, I’ve become afraid of acting upon it because then, you wouldn’t be around to like me and then the hunger and ache would kick in and I’d have to find somebody else.

It’s not that I don’t have friends – quite the opposite – but I need the type of approval that I only get from someone who would truly have to love me in order to potentially be around me all of the time. That used to be family… it’s now people like you.

Now that you like me, I’m almost dependent on it. I like the feeling but sort of hate it too. What do you want with me? It’s so much pressure.

It doesn’t last long but your intensity is a huge confidence boost. It feels as if I could pretty much say anything and you’d think I was the bees knees. I end up convincing myself that I fancy you because you fancy me, so for a while, I fancy myself.

I take how you seem to feel about me and feed it to my starving self.

I just want to be liked. No I don’t; I want to be loved. I need to be loved. Is that going to be you? Is it? I really want it to be because then I could stop feeling this way – unlovable.

I know how this story ends though. I want you to like me because I want to like me too but in the end, neither of us will like me. It might be because you get tired of reassuring someone who seemed so self-assured at the outset, or it might just be because the novelty has worn off and my secret, the ‘real me’ has been exposed.

How wonderful it would be if things were different, but they won’t be so I do this dance because for a little while I enjoy the fantasy until the anxiety about you suddenly seeing who I am begins to creep in over the music and gets increasingly louder.

I know that I can ‘pull’… I just have a poor retention rate. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering, What’s wrong with me?

Now that I feel like this, I really do fancy you. I think I love you or at least it feels like this now that everything is so uncertain and I suspect or even know that you don’t really want me anymore. I felt the change. You’re not so enamored anymore. Now I want you. Now you’re inflated into The Best Person On Earth TM and my happiness supply. I convince myself that I can only be happy with you. I want it to be just like beginning.

I’ll be found out. I never really allow myself to relax or for anyone to get too close to me because like everyone, you’ll either leave or find something wrong with me and then treat me differently. I’ll be tarnished by the misstep of being me. I know this story; it’s been my life.

The secret will be out. To be fair, as the sands of time start trickling down, I become increasingly erratic anyway, and I go from being confident and optimistic (read: fantasising), to insecure with notes of desperation. When it’s all over, I cringe at how un-me I was and this behaviour, which is ironic because, well, I don’t like me anyway.

But I’m not sure that’s true. I don’t dislike me – I just hate the thoughts in my head.

The worst part is that I wanted you to like me but as usual, I didn’t really like you, yet I’m devastated that it’s over and that I failed again. What have I failed at though? Not getting the fake me liked because let’s be real, I spend so much time people pleasing that much as I may feel slighted by it not working out, they never got to know me anyway.

As the dust settles and if I’m truthful, a temporary calm kicks in from not having to perform or deal with the anxiety of being ‘found out’. I know that I did want you to like me but that whatever I ended up liking about you was really about my own potential. It was about how I saw myself with you… even if I was tempted to take a Sharpie to you… Really, this is about my own ego and it feels like a loss because the ‘better me’, the fantasy, is gone. I miss you because I miss who I hoped that I’d be.

Sometimes instead of being swept up by somebody that I don’t like, I admire somebody who gives me butterflies and activates this deep need for their love and approval. It has the familiarity of home, like little me wanting my father.

I do this dance many times.

The harder I try to be liked is the more that I hate me and I hit the bottom of bottom. I can’t do this anymore. I wonder, Am I really that bad?

What if I’m not who I think I am?

What if I’m different from my thoughts?

What if my interpretation is wrong? Oh how much time I will have wasted if I’ve judged me wrongly. I’d almost rather be right.

A lot of how I feel about me is my judgment or my interpretation of the judgments that I think others are making about me.

The thing is, whether people like me or love me, dislike me or hate me, whether I’m around family, friends, or lovers, the one thing that never changes is how I feel about me. I don’t like me anyway. That’s a problem and as I look back at my experiences, I realise that I’m the solution to my own problematic thoughts and attitude, and that’s actually a relief.

As long as I didn’t like me, any ‘ole person could come along and give me attention and it would look like a loaf because it was still appeared to be more than what I was giving me. When I started to feed me, crumbs looked like crumbs.

I want you to like me but I don’t need you to like me – I will survive and thrive anyway. Everything I ever wanted other people to be and do for me, I’m doing for me now because I realise that it’s this or be miserable.

About the Author:

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl , The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more . Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on and Twitter - .


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