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3 Ways to Let Go of the Desire to be “Liked”


I’ve been really angry lately. And it’s not healthy.

Photo by Bailey Weaver
Photo by Bailey Weaver




The stigma of mental illness – the misunderstood nature of it really gets to me from time to time. Trying to explain myself for those who either think I’m overstating my pain and seriousness of my illness to those who would lock me up because it is so serious it’s scary. It sometimes feels like we can’t win for losing.


If I didn’t take my medication, I would cease to function effectively and eventually become so depressed I would die. This is a simple fact. Thank God for my meds. Because, as I’ve said in previous posts, I don’t want to die anymore.


So how do we let go of trying to make ourselves understood?

There are 3 tricks to letting go of feeling the need to make others understand.

They are all things we can do within ourselves and none of them include “sneezing” to prove a point.


1) Just say “no”.

Therese Borchard writes in her column for everyday health that she recites the Serenity Prayer often. In saying the words, she’s able to let go of the need to be understood, to try to change people who have no desire to change. It’s a good strategy and one I’m going to adopt today.


2) Reduce the amount of social media in your life.

Facebook is an insidious evil I’m convinced, and one I’m addicted to on several levels. As a person with ADD and a people pleaser, I am captivated by the immediate gratification of posting a pic or update and seeing the “likes” roll in. I’m too addicted to the “likes” of others. This is another reason I’ve started to journal to keep my FB use to a minimum.


3) Be selective with your circle.

Since when did having hundred of acquaintances outweigh having one or two good friends? That face-to-face contact may be difficult for those of us with anxiety and depression, but it’s a lot healthier than hoping someone hundreds of miles away will approve of what we ate for dinner, where and with whom.



Just give ‘em the old “bless your heart” smile and move on. There are some people who don’t care and will never get it. Don’t waste your time trying to make them understand. You know all you do to stay well and you do the best you can. It’s time to let go of trying to make the world understand us. And that’s o.k.people pleasing

3 Ways to Let Go of the Desire to be “Liked”

Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

September 29, 2014 Lisa Keith,Lisa.Keith Psy.D. is a 20-plus year veteran special education teacher who has taught grades K-12 and now teaches graduate students who want to grow up to be special ed. teachers. When she’s not teaching or academically engaged, she is completely engrossed in 49er football or the art of Zentangle. A typical day for Lisa begins at 4 a.m. to check email, Pinterest and journal, followed by a hefty dose of coffee and hours of study. You can learn more about her here:

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APA Reference
, . (2014). 3 Ways to Let Go of the Desire to be “Liked”. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2018, from


Last updated: 6 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Nov 2014
Published on All rights reserved.