Life Lesson #316


You know what I figured out a few years ago? You can’t make all the people like you, all the time.


I mean really, how on EARTH can no one like you Beth? I know right?! But it’s true! There are people, that no matter what I do, what I say, they just don’t get how I work. They don’t understand why I do the things I do, why I am the kind of person I am, and they don’t want to try to figure it out.

And that’s OK.

Do you know how long it took me to get to that last bit? SO long. In fact, I’m still getting to that sentence. I might always be getting to that sentence, but slowly and surely I am letting it go and moving on and not thinking, lamenting, worrying, caring so much about the why. The endless whys that I asked myself for years and years and YEARS.

Last night I was reading a library book to the girls that filled with Japanese zen fables. This big Panda comes to live near these children and they all visit him at various times and he tells them a story. There was one story that reminded me of this personal battle I have had at various times in my life. There was one line “I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk replied. “Why are you still carrying her?” that plain stopped me in my tracks and reminded me.

You know when you carry around a personal battle, say it’s like this one, of trying to work out just WHY this person driver you so crazy, presses ALL your buttons and frustrates you so much, it consumes you. It fills you with all those things I mentioned: worry, what ifs, anger, and most of the time that other person isn’t even having a second thought about you! And there you are, a worry wart of self doubt, getting angrier, and there they are: not even thinking about you at all.

You can have pretend conversations, pretend arguments, you can write all the letters and draft all the emails in the world, and there they are getting about their business. Controlling so much of your emotions not because of their actions but because of how you have LET them.

But if you can let it go…

Be at peace with the fact that some people are the way they are, and you are they way you are, and you may never get along AND THAT’S OK (and frankly their loss) then things get better. You can be free from them. It feels really good!

And it can be REALLY hard. And that’s OK too. Because when it comes to matters of the heart, not everything is simple now is it?

Do you know what I’m talking about?
Ever had a personal battle that consumed you for a long time?
How did you eventually let it go?
Personal therapy time to commence, here lie down on my couch, I’ll put the kettle on.


  1. i know EXACTLY what you are talking about.
    I too am crippled by these thoughts.
    ANd we LOVE that book in our house.
    We bought it over ten years ago for our second child- who as it turns out could well BE THAT Panda he is so goddamn wise.
    I’ll have a cuppa with you on the couch thanks.

  2. YES!! That strikes such a chord at the moment. I really must resign and stop letting my boss do my head in. I’m pretty damn sure that I’m an insignificant blip on her radar so why am I so wound up about her? Don’t like the job, the money is pathetic and it really is time to find something that spins my wheels in a good way rather than just making a deeper rut! Cheers for that πŸ™‚

  3. Dr Phil helped me, haha. “You wouldn’t care so much about what people thought of you if you realised how seldom they did”. I was in my early 20s and realised nobody was thinking about me as much as I was thinking about their negativity. And Oprah + Eckhart Tolle taught me to live in the now, right this minute, not ruminate on the past, nor worry about the future. Jim Carrey taught me to not waste time drafting arguments in my head. He also taught me you shouldn’t steal dolphins.

  4. thegirlfromoverthere says

    Yep. My dad and I. It consumed me for years and years, been through the personal counselling sessions for my epiphany. Nothing. I’m now mid 40s and finally let it go. He is he and I am me.

  5. I love this. Thank you Beth.

  6. I know exactly what you are talking about!! Thank you! Not only did I have to deal with the loss of my best friend to cancer but her lying cheating husband had already moved on -before she died!! Mrs Woog put the link up on Mindfulness Meditation and it saved me from constantly thinking about the injustice of it all. On ya Beth xox

  7. I so hear you!

    The bit I hate most is when I slowly cotton on that’s what Iv’e been upto…& realise how many hours I’ve wasted on it with pretend arguments etc that I will NEVER get back.

    Very much trying to learn to quit that stuff- a long road but I figure baby steps …so I just try n cotton on sooner each time & don’t waste even more time belting myself up when I miss catching myself & take ages to work it out:)

  8. Lordy, you have no idea how much I needed to read this. Thank you. I feel lighter already x

  9. The older I get the more I realise it’s no use holding onto people who make you feel shit about yourself. Life barrels along so fast – spend it concentrating on those you love who make your heart burst with tiny fireworks. Forget the assholes xx

  10. Oh man I have always struggled with this one… WHY DONT YOU LIKE ME? I cant stand it when someone doesnt like me and I dont know why… and then generally I try harder and then feel even more like shit because I am getting no where with it except doing my head in. Thankfully a little bit of age AND surrounding myself with precious people who do like me for me, has worked wonders for that problem. I now think of it like this… everyone doesnt like Gin and Tonic… I mean they should, but they dont so… whatever. That is my motto these days ” Whatever”. It works for my teenage son so I figure why the hell not, if it fits and all that.

  11. Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn this in our teens? All that angst that would be saved!

  12. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about and it’s hard. It happened to me last year, a family member and it still makes me a little sad but I am learning slowly that really some people have their own issues and I need to leave that with them and be more confident in the person that I am and know I am a good person even if they can’t see it and don’t like me. Besides life is way too short to worry about someone who couldn’t care less about me when there are so many that do. It’s a hard lesson to learn and I’m still working on it but it gets better with time and lots of reading, yes self help books they are great. x

  13. Thank you for this, I’m struggling with the letting go part as well, it’s hard when it’s someone you see regularly, but I just need to accept that we are very different people and will never be great friends. I’m very lucky I have a beautiful family I can turn to to help me see how lucky I actually am.
    Thanks again

  14. Yep – I just came on the interwebs to escape my pretend arguments in my head about the goings on of yesterday but THIS is fantastic timing. I have a saying on my wall “You could be the crunchiest apple in the fruit bowl, but sometimes people just feel like a banana!” But can I still lie down on your couch?

  15. SO many of them, actually in the past 16 months I’ve parted way without about 4 women I used to be quite close with. In hindsight I see that perhaps the friendships weren’t as genuine as I thought, the hubby could see it, I wanted to see the best in people. But I haven’t let it get me down, well not for long, I don’t miss these people so maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. I know I’m not everyone’s cuppa of wine but that’s okay. I’d much rather have a handful of close friends then a stack of fair weather ones!

  16. A.Freaking.MEN Beth! And all you others! Thankyou, so glad to hear I’m not the only one who does this… I SO need to learn to stop caring what a**holes think, and just focus on being happy. Because we deserve it damn it! xxx
    p.s. doing a brilliant job on the apostrophes Beth πŸ˜‰ x

  17. YES! As an obsessive people pleaser I know exactly what you are talking about, Beth! That has been my lesson this year… Don’t sweat the small stuff. and what other people think of me definitely shouldn’t dictate how I manage my thoughts, actions and time. You just have to do what you think you should, as well as you can. And that is enough. To hell with the haters haha! X

  18. totally, totally.

    Sometimes the anguish comes from compassion, you feel frustrated FOR someone – you think “You don’t have to be like this! Really! There are better ways to be! Like, not an asshole.”

    That’s the trap I think – when it’s mixed in with a dash of care factor – against your better judgement – for the person themselves.
    That’s what makes it baffling.

    You just have to take comfort in your own good self, and not try and change the things you can’t control.

  19. #FATC

  20. I think it’s human nature for us to want people to like us – they’ve made it part of Maslow’s hierarchy and I guess it’s evolutionary (needing to be part of a group for survival and all that)… but we definitely need to learn to ‘let it go’ where individuals are concerned and see the big picture. I definitely have trouble with this and am sooo guilty of what Veggie Mama mentioned about drafting arguments in my head (over and over and over and I tell myself to stop and work on mindfulness but it still creeps back in there – over and over)! I guess we’re always learning and growing and working on ourselves, otherwise life would be boring! I am still working on this one (seriously – over and over)….

  21. Oh MAN! NOW I’ve got earworm from the FROZEN soundtrack – “Let It Go…Let IT GO!” THANKS, BETH! πŸ˜‰ Lol!

  22. I feel like I’ve just had a therapy session, no shit. Lightbulbs going off and a sense of calm at the end. How much do I owe you? x

  23. Left my job 12 months ago because a woman I worked with turned on me ( and I mean nasty) after I had time off due to emotional health problems. Up to that point we had had a great working relationship. Unfortunately, she was the Mother of my boss. Looking back, I spent way too long toiling over what I had done that would cause her to turn like that and it was affecting my home life as well. As it turns out, my boss’s husband ( a great guy with a big heart) was diagnosed with bipolar (after years of being treated for depression) at around the same time and surprise, surprise, her Mother treats him like a germ as well….
    I went back to the same job 2 months after leaving. I now only work weekends and evenings and I don’t have to see the bitch anymore!!

  24. So get it.. Wrote a post about loosing friendships the other week due to just that and it is still odd coming to terms with it being OK.
    You are right it is ok and it has to be ok because then you have more time for the people that DO get you..

  25. I can’t believe I’m about to reference Kardashians for this but I am. I saw an episode where Khloe could not get along with Scott, and ended up going to an anger management class to deal with her feelings on the issue. The instructor got her to have a pretend conversation with Scott, and she ended up admitting, “I feel like you’re taking my sister away from me.” The instructor asked what Scott would say to that, and Khloe said it would be something really dismissive.

    And the instructor goes, “And that’s fine. Because this formula doesn’t change Scott. It changes how you react to Scott.”

    It makes so much sense because we waste so much time and energy trying to change other people because of their effect on us, when in fact what we can change is ourselves.

    Thank you, Kardashians!

  26. Yep, I spent years consumed with bitterness over a situation. Then I realised that they were doing just fine and the bitterness was destroying me. So like that I stopped. Strangely just as I made peace with myself (I won’t say I made peace with the person, because I didn’t) this person through no influence by me, left my life and I no longer had to deal with them.

    One thing I’ve also discovered in recent years, there are people you need to keep at arms length because they bring out the worst in you. There are a couple of people who I’ve had to keep at a distance because when they’re too involved in my life I become someone I don’t really like. So I don’t make a big deal of it, I’ll see them on occasion and we get along and have a nice time, but leave it at that as it’s not healthy for me to see them regularly or be too involved. That was a MASSIVE lesson for me because I’m really loyal to the people I like and I want to be there for them.

    Now I’m really selective about who I spend my time with. Life’s too short to spend it with negative, soul-sucking people and there are so many good people out there to spend your time with.

  27. Nailed it here Beth.
    Nailed it.
    Thank you.
    C x

  28. I know exactly what you’re talking about! I’m trying very very hard at the moment not to let it get to me. There is a couple that we know, we’ve only known for a bit over a year. As it is with expat life we jumped on each other hard and fast and became firm friends very quickly. It now turns out that they are two of the most selfish people we have ever met. I do everything I can for them to make their life easier and they spend most of their time hanging shit on me. I’m a very sensitive person but I can take the piss out of myself and have a laugh BUT when they take the piss out of me CONSTANTLY it wears me down. I don’t know what to do about it. Doha is a very small town where everyone knows everyone and I don’t know whether to talk to them about it which may cause a bit of drama. I’ve definitely backed off and I’m sure they have noticed but I’m scared to bring it up as I hate confrontation. At the end of the day I think they are just not the nicest of people and I know I can’t count on them like they can count on me and my Husband and it bugs me no end!!!!

  29. You’re a bloody gem. Just what I needed to read, right now, and what my sane head has been telling me for the last couple of weeks xx

  30. I soooo needed this!! Thank you. Jx

  31. Thanks Beth! A great post that has obviously resonated with a lot of people; as you can see by the comments. I’ve had a situation lying beneath the surface for a few years now but it has resurfaced in the last 12 months since I have moved back to my home town permanently. I’ll be the first to admit, I am no saint in the matter, it’s a long story, lots of ‘what ifs’ along the way but I’ve always been a believer in fate & so I tried to be the bigger person & ask to put it all behind us, kids the same age at the same school, acquaintances etc, there is a long way to go … But I got it thrown back in my face! I still cringe when I see her car, the thought that our kids might have the same teacher, avoid people whom I know she talks to, have conversations iny head about what I’d say or what I should have said, but after reading your post, I wonder, all because of WHY… It sounds harsh, but I say go to hell, who gives a… She is not worth a minute more of my thoughts & even though I’ve spent 10 mins writing this comment, I’ve just taken a deep breath & said ‘And that’s ok’

    So Beth, you don’t know me but I like you… So thank you, again. I’m going to try to really get to that sentence!

  32. Yep, totally know what you’re talking about. My best friend and I had a sort of falling out/deterioration of friendship and I turned it over and over in my head, so many times…for 2 years. We sort of resolved things, then they fell apart again. It was devastating. Like, the worst break up you’ve ever had, x10. Then one day I had enough, and decided I was OVER it, sick of the misery, it was time to move on and get over it. But I couldn’t. I cried. I didn’t want to let it go. So instead, I got in touch, told her I missed her, i wanted her in my life, and never mind the bullshit in the past, we’d both stuffed up but let’s either be friends or nothing. We had lunch together the following week and it was just like old times. Turns out she had been feeling the same as me.

  33. I’m trying to teach my school aged daughter this concept of not being able to change others (their behaviors), but that you can control your response to them and manage your thoughts about those people. I fully realised this in my late teens when I was kicked out of home and no family member would have me. I quickly learnt that there is no point worrying if I’m not good enough, and I treat my extended family with respect and I help when I’m happy to do so, but I don’t compromise myself, my own little family nor go above and beyond to placate people who are not accepting of who I am.

  34. Annie Maurer says

    Not sure I will ever get this right because I constantly spend too much time inside my own head trying to figure out other people and their behaviour towards me. But I love your take on this and also lots of those from other readers. So for today at least I will stop the pretend arguments and conversations in my head and focus on enjoying my day. Which I am!
    Annie M

  35. My mum was so good at teaching me not to care what people think about you. It’s the BEST thing she ever taught me. It’s all wrapped up in self esteem and confidence, such good things for women at ANY age to have. But she didn’t just teach it to me…she SHOWED me it everyday with her happy carefree and gofkyourself demenour that she just exuded each day. At times growing up I was a touch embarrassed about her “hippy” ways, as any teenager would be! Now I applaud her. My school friends were always in awe of her and while I couldn’t see it at the time, I’m glad they were so that she may have had some influence on their development into being the amazing strong women they all are today.
    The best thing any child can receive from their parent/s is self esteem. With just this one thing they will go far.

  36. I completely get that I’m not for everyone. I’m loud, I swear too much, I’m far too honest & I talk about things that make other people uncomfortable ( like vibrators ). I’m full on. For the people who love me I’m completely awesome & they are the ones who matter.
    And really, I don’t like everyone so I can’t expect everyone to like me can I?

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