In a recent article in The New York Times, author Tara Mohr, says, “For centuries, women couldn’t protect their own safety through physical, legal or financial means. We couldn’t rely on the law if our safety was threatened. We couldn’t use our own money to escape or safeguard ourselves and our children, because we could not own property. Being likable, or at least acceptable to stronger, more powerful others was one of our primary available survival strategies.” * http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/opinion/sunday/learning-to-love-criticism.html?_r=1
I first heard the quote listening to a podcast as I was whizzing up the 101 outside of San Jose. I felt as if the universe had just cracked open and shown me the answer to one of life’s most mysterious questions. I couldn’t wait to pull over and call someone, anyone, to share.
In my years of coaching I’ve heard it over and over. “What are you most afraid of?” I ask a client who is frozen in a place of apprehension.
“No one will like me,” she’ll say.
Over and over and over. The most amazing, brilliant, talented, lovely women say, “I’m afraid of not being liked.”
They know, we know, in this day and age that not everyone will like us. That as express our unique viewpoint, deliver our authentic gifts and be our true selves, some people will be challenged. They will disagree. They will argue we are wrong, we are too visible, we are full of ourselves. They might.. gasp… not like us. And we agree, that we might not like them.
And that might suck, but really, who cares. If they disagree then they are not our target market. They are not the clients we want to attract, the partners we want to hang out with.
All in a very logical way.
But deep down, in the depths of our ancient collective memory, lies the threat. And so we keep ourselves small, our talents hidden, our lights shielded.
The world loses. We lose.
We must acknowledge that, as women, this is our past not our future. That by continuing to live this ancient wisdom we deny the world what it most needs to heal today. That we, as women, must pass through the fear and embrace the fact that yes, not everyone will like us. That being our authentic, powerful selves will create both raving fans and frothing haters.
Which is ok, because the world has changed. And now, it’s up to us to make it better.