You’ve felt it before. The not-so-welcoming stare and the plastic, almost forced smile she gives you whenever you cross paths. You’ve always been nice to her, said hello, asked about her day, but no matter what you do, you just know she doesn’t like you.
While you can handle being hated for a reason (perhaps you were rude, argued over politics, or smudged her puma), feeling ousted for no reason at all baffles, and even infuriates, you.
Before you work yourself up to ask what’s her problem, the answer could be that the two of you are more alike than she’d like to admit.
Rock with me for a minute.
Just as we are attracted to certain people because we share traits we consider desirable—maybe you’re funny and so are they, or maybe they love music and you’re a singer—the opposite is also the case. We are often times repulsed by people who remind us of what we dislike about ourselves.
According to spirituality guru Deepak Chopra, whether we believe it or not, we are all connected and a part of the “same universal consciousness.” The characteristics we love, and hate, most in others are those we see in ourselves.
“When you have a strong negative reaction to someone, you can be certain that they’re reflecting traits that you also possess but have been unwilling to embrace. If you accepted those qualities in yourself, you wouldn’t be upset by them.”
So while we can’t help it if people dislike us for no reason, if you find yourself in the same situation—irrationally hating on another person—take a step back and look at the woman in the mirror. Ask yourself what is it that you hate about that person, and see if those things are also something you wish you could change about yourself.
Accepting ourselves—flaws and all—can be hard work, especially in a society that values perfection. However, being comfortable with both the things with love and the things we dislike about ourselves will not only help us live calmer, happier lives, but might also help us add a few unlikely new friends to the mix.