Being disliked isn’t something I take lightly. Since I was a child, I was accustomed to this notion that in my life, it was required of me to become a good girl.
A good girl is nice. A good girl apologizes profusely. A good girl puts others before herself. A good girl only has sex when she is in love. A good girl is liked. A good girl is loved. However, what I realize now is that this belief system that I was handed as a child from both my parents and society hadn’t once guaranteed that all of this would in turn lead to my own internal peace or contentment.
But I carried on and followed along this path blindly. As a young child, I was a people-pleaser, as most us women find ourselves to be. I found that the best way to do that was to be at service to the people that I cared for. My duty in life was to bring others joy, and in turn, I would be loved by them. It wasn’t too long before I began to define myself by my role in another’s life. I was a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a girlfriend. And that seemed to be enough. It should have been enough. They told me that that would be enough.
I entered a rebellious stage in my life as a young adolescent. My teenage-self was reckless. She was depressed, she was angry, she was insecure, she was needy, she was addicted, and she was passionate. She also broke the rules and did so frequently.
At the time I didn’t know what I know now, which is that a lot of the disruption within myself came from this psychological state of cognitive dissonance, which is when your beliefs about yourself don’t match your behaviours. I believed I was a good girl but I wasn’t acting like one. At least, I wasn’t acting like the one they told me to be.
The conclusion I came to was that it was my emotions that were the problem. That they were hindering my chances of being the person everyone told me I should become. That I was “too much” and needed to quiet down. So I shut them off, and I shut them off for a really long time. I call that version of myself “pre-therapy Misha”.
After four years of therapy, I came out a different person. I unlearned a lot of patterns in my thoughts and really became a better version of myself.
But we’re never done, are we? In this school of life, we’re always becoming.
After taking time and space away from my current relationship, I understand now that this part of me hasn’t been healed yet. That yet again, I allowed for myself to become smaller and smaller in order to alleviate another’s discomfort. That I pushed my emotions down because it made someone uncomfortable to see them. I compartmentalized those same emotions, scheduling them to be felt at a time when I was alone so that no one would be bothered by my highly sensitive nature. If who I am is a problem, then I will push that aside because that is what a good girl should do. So that is exactly what I did.
Until I stopped.
There came this moment that it all clicked and I realized that I loved myself more than I loved this identity I was told I needed to become. I realized that it cannot be my job anymore to be liked. That instead, I’d rather be heard and understood by people who accept me for the person that I actually am. And it turns out, after having to spend this time in isolation with myself – I actually like me. This woman is a hell of a lot more interesting than the person she was trying so hard to become and the person others wanted her to be.
I have to admit, it’s still very uncomfortable for me to know that I’m the villain in some people’s stories. That maybe throughout their lifetime, they will never see me as good. And I have to accept that that’s okay.
I suppose I’ve finally started to accept that not everyone has to like me, but I do.