“Man, by nature, is a political animal.” It is innate in us how we need to be part of a social group. Maslow even placed Sense of Belongingness in the second tier of the Hierarchy of Needs right above the basic necessities. There are so many prose that tell us how we, humans, need to be accepted… but how important is it, really?
I’m sure you can relate to me how probably once or twice in your life you tried to fit in, how challenged you were to prove yourself worthy to someone, and how pained you were to be rejected after exerting too much effort to be appreciated. Trust me, I went through that stage in my teenage “goth” years when I had to hide my black-polished-nails so as not to disappoint a circle of ladylike, pink-ish circle of girl friends. It may not be the exact story for you but… sounds familiar, right?
Tell you what. “You’re not everyone’s cup of tea, and that is okay.”
This quote is all over the internet, especially Facebook, wherein studies show that a certain percentage of the population today loses self-appreciation due to constant comparison with others. Seeing how successful others are makes us question our achievements and this manically causes extreme sadness to most. I can’t deny that I always find myself in this state – existential analysis at its finest.
You know how it feels when someone tells you “You are not the right person for the job”? That line is like a bullet that darts right through the head; it kills almost instantaneously. Recently, I received that feedback; this time, as a grown-up lady in the corporate world with diverse and colorful circles of girl and boy workmates. I must admit that I felt bad, no matter how many times I did positive self-affirmations.
For those who have experienced discouragement for not being someone’s cup of tea, here’s my usual therapy:
Acknowledge. Acceptance is the key.
If you’ve been reading my life coaching blogs, this is always my first on anything. Acceptance is the first step to healing, and denial prohibits moving on even more. All feelings are valid, and this person has every right to say his opinion. It’s still a free country, after all.
Acceptance is the very first step, and yet, it is the hardest to do. Say it out loud if we must, write it down, do anything to acknowledge it: “Person A doesn’t like me.”
Assess. Ask, don’t judge.
It is easy to hurtle out negative emotions but not looking at this instance objectively will hurt us more in the process. Let’s try to understand where this person is coming from. What could have made him say that?
Oftentimes we say, “Oh that’s just how Person A is. And this is how I am! We’ll never get along.” This can sometimes be true, but feedback is caused by a stimulus. Perhaps the presentation sounded unprepared? Or the meeting was handled illogically?
Now we might say, “but that was just one time!” Right, and that’s an answer right there. There was an opportunity. For sure, we can learn a thing or two about what happened.
After trying to figure out Person A’s stimulus, let’s try to assess if it is something that we can control or not. If we think that there was something we could have done differently, then we…
Redeem. As they say, there’s always next time.
If we recognize that there really is a room for growth on our end, work on it. We may have always been good or performing well, but it doesn’t hurt to humble down and allow our selves to learn.
In case after careful evaluation we concluded that we have indeed done our best, and it was something out of our control, then my dear, it is high time to let it go.
The best that we can be doesn’t have to be the best for someone else’s preference. Not being liked by everyone does not mean we can’t have the “Juice”.
The best that we can be doesn’t have to be the best for someone else’s preference.
It’s funny but I learned recently that “Juice” is a slang for influence. It was something new to me, and I find it so relatable in this article which I originally intended to focus on the “cup of tea”. It got me thinking… So many times we want to be someone’s tea of choice, not realizing how delicious of a juice we are!
While it is true that it is but important to be accepted, the need to belong becomes wrong when we push ourselves hard into an entirely different circle, too hard that we lose our authenticity. Person A may not see us as the right fit, but there are so many other people out there who appreciate our work, who love and respect us for what we do, and that who still find us influential. Assessing and redeeming one’s self do not mean we have to be “tea” when clearly we are “juice” or maybe a tea of another blend. But this does not mean we can’t be better either.
Let’s not think about what others do, but focus instead on what we do.
Trust one’s self, one’s capabilities, and trust the people around who can see how awesome individuals we are! Trust that we may have flaws, but that does not mean we are unfit for the job. We may not be Person A’s cup of tea, but we can be Person B’s cup or Person C’s glass.
You do you – the best version of You. Serve the best the world has ever experienced; we will eventually be found and be embraced by the right circle.
You do you. ♥
Here’s a gift for you!
I usually run a reflection activity addressing this topic which can be used for positive self-affirmation and for team-building programs. Click here to get your free copy!