So…you don’t like me.

28 Feb

Are there any people-pleasers in the crowd?

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Is there a difference between being a people pleaser, and feeling emotionally defeated when you’re misunderstood?

I hadn’t given this much thought until the last two days.  Why?

Because guess what — I got a LOT of support for my recent sex series (public comments and private emails and new followers).  However, I got a little backlash, some “unfollows” and my post was added by an awesome supporter to a sex discussion forum and some of the readers there, well, they let everyone else know just how much they disliked the post- and made conclusions about the author (me).

I know there are some blog authors out there who laugh hysterically when people come at them… because believe me — if you blog, you get backlash.  People really like letting you know when they disagree or think you’re stupid.

I am not one of those people.  I really find no pleasure in spending thirty minutes reading through a slew of comments that tear one of my posts apart, make wild accusations about me as a person, or worst of all claim that I do a disservice to Christianity with Scripture interpretation.

I immediately thought, man I’m such a people-pleaser to feel frustrated over these few negative comments.  I could have five hundred positive comments, and the one negative one will make me question over and over how I could have worded something different or explained something better to reach that person too.

I don’t think that is actually people-pleasing.

I actually think people-pleasing is when a person says yes to things they don’t want to do or may actually even disagree with, to gain someone’s approval. They  may agree to serve in the nursery when they really don’t feel called and are in the middle of a rough season at home with their own children.  They might join in the crowd to make fun of someone else, even though they feel immediate guilt.  Or they might go out of their way to make special arrangements in a desperate attempt to be important to someone.

That’s actually not me at all.  While I like to be liked, I can pretty easily say no when I really need to say no.  I don’t join into conversations of activities just because the crowd is doing it.  And I don’t chase down people in an attempt to mean something to them.

However, I really struggle with being disliked when I feel like one of three things is happening.

1.) I’m being misunderstood or misquoted.

2.) I feel like I’m being held to a standard that isn’t attainable for anyone, especially the person who is coming against me.

3.) I’m being wrongly accused of something I would never do.

That’ll keep me up at night.  It’ll make me battle the temptation to shut down my blog, my Facebook page, and hide in a bubble for a few months. It’ll make me shed quite a few tears feeling suffocated by things totally out of my control.

I have no desire to go back and write something that makes the people on that forum “like me”.  I actually don’t feel any sadness over the fact that they don’t.

I am NO STRANGER to not being liked.  Eh, everyone has someone or a group of people who just clash with them.

But not being liked feels a whole lot different from being wrongly accused.

So…. I got to thinking a little further.

Might this be why marriages seemingly flounder, families fall apart, and church’s are full of congregations with known enemies attending?

Are we all largely people-pleasers….. or are there more people out there like me who feel like, “You don’t like me/trust me/get me/serve me/want me/help me/love me because you don’t understand me.”

– You think things about me that aren’t true. And, oh – lets own it – I think things about you that aren’t true.  I’m just making assumptions sometimes.

– When you repeat the words I say, you say them with a tone that I never used.  You misquote me and make me sound like a jerk.

– You don’t listen to what I’m saying, you’re too busy planning what you’re going to say against me from the first phrase I uttered… without listening to my explanation.

– You have these expectations of me that I can’t live up to.

– You’re unwilling to forgive me when I make mistakes.  You hold everything over my head.  I’m not perfect.  That doesn’t mean I’m evil.

– All you can see is everything I do wrong, do you see anything I do right?

Are you in the middle of a relationship where you feel misunderstood?  Misquoted?  Held to a standard you can’t achieve? Accused of doing things you’d never do?

Let’s ask some deeper questions.

Are you in the middle of a relationship where you might be misunderstanding someone?  Have you added a tone they never used? Do you have expectations they can never possibly reach?  (This happens a lot when men expect women to be like them… or women expect men to be JUST like them.) Are you throwing around accusations that you really don’t have the hard facts to prove…. that you gained from some heavy assumptions?

Practical Application:

God’s desire for us is to reach restoration with our brothers and sisters (husbands, wives, parents, in-law, friends, church members) whenever it’s in our power to act. (God calls us to make things right before we even come to the Altar to worship Him.)

The first step to restoration is recognizing and owning your own part in the problem.  More reflection, less blame.

Set a realistic next step.  I’d never tell you restoration happens in all situations after one five-minute conversation.   But good starting points are

*self-reflection, prayer, counseling, communication, confession, apologizing, asking forgiveness and listening in humility.

We won’t always be able to reach reconciliation.  Sometimes the other party isn’t ready.  Sometimes there is no relationship there to restore (like blog commenters you don’t even now their real name.) That’s OK.  The process of uncovering *why* you don’t like someone or are mad at them will bring healing to you, and forgiveness too.  Even if everything is not completely restored.

Chance are — if they are misquoting you, misunderstanding you, or misrepresenting you, it has a lot more to do with them than you.  So dig deeper and tap into mercy.

A good lesson in mercy is learning to empathize with your enemy, instead of trying to find a way to retaliate against them or sulk in your own feelings.  Hurting people, hurt people. Ask yourself, why are they hurting?

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10 Responses to “So…you don’t like me.”

  1. howsyourlovelife February 28, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    My friend, you are firing on all cylinders these days! Excellent! Love this:
    Chance are — if they are misquoting you, misunderstanding you, or misrepresenting you, it has a lot more to do with them than you. So dig deeper and tap into mercy.
    The problem is we try and make it about ourselves and it rarely is in these situations!

    • Kayla Gulick February 28, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      So true. I can’t take all the credit for this revelation. My husband – the genius that he is, spoke some deep truth to my heart…. you, and some other just wonderful God-sent people sent some emails and spoke good fruit in my life (in the past in the last couple days.) I’d be lost without the community. Love you all so deeply.

      • peacefulwife February 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

        Love this. And what a blessing your husband is!!!! I PRAISE GOD for what he is doing in you, your marriage and your husband’s life! Sending you a huge hug, my precious sister! Thanks for always seeking to speak truth in love, for your love for Christ and your love for women.

      • Kayla Gulick February 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

        More and more I find how lost I’d be without him. I laugh now at all those wasted years I thought he was lucky to have me!

  2. trixie1466 February 28, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    I love how you walked through your hurt feelings in such a real way. You start out feeling hurt and a tiny bit feeling sorry for yourself, but you don’t stay there. You start looking for how you can apply what happened to you at the forum and see how it might apply in your life and how you may be guilty of the same thing to someone else. I think that shows some godly maturity. Good for you.

    You know it was really only 5 people that said something negative. That’s not too bad for the 530 views it’s had. Most didn’t even disagree with your topic, just how it was presented.

    There a lesson or two in that also, I think. It only took 5 people making a few negative comments for you to feel pretty bad (at least for a while). That’s why we need to be so careful what we say to the people we care about. And it would be helpful to take a step back when our feelings are hurt and look at the situation more objectively. It might not be as bad as we think. 🙂

    Good for you for tackling a touchy (pun intended) subject! Keep ’em comin”!

    Blessings,
    Trixie

    • Kayla Gulick February 28, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      You’re SO right. 530 and 5. I needed to see that in writing one more time.

      Just a hint — next week I’ll be tackling the questions and comments from that series in a couple posts!

      • trixie1466 February 28, 2014 at 10:17 am #

        Good, I’m looking forward to reading them!

  3. Kimberly February 28, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Imagine how pastors feel. Every time a pastor speaks someone will criticize that message, but few give genuine uplifting comments. That is part of the enemy’s work.

    Please don’t let negative comments bother you at all. Blog for God and ignore the hurtful messages. If you are speaking for God, you will definitely have backlash from the world.

    I am sorry for that, though. You have a great ministry going, and I enjoy reading your posts.

    • Kayla Gulick February 28, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      What a great reminder to be more vocal, especially to our pastors, in support of their messages and ministries.

      Sometimes constructive criticism is really good, especially for a blog. I never want to come off as unapproachable or able to disagree. I worried about posting this that it might come across that way. But there is a discipline in learning to disagree without accusing or by asking more questions first. It took me a VERY long time to get there. I use to have a spit-fire mouth.

      I really appreciate you reading along and taking the time to show some insight and encouragement!

  4. Elizabeth February 28, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Kayla,

    Feeling hurt is only natural when you feel misunderstood and unjustly criticized, but you used it to develop insight that helped you and your readers, too! You have the soul-searching, questioning, wondering perspective of a writer, and I enjoy it so much.

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