I don't like olives.
I don't like olives. Not the black ones or the green ones. I don’t like Kalamata or Spanish olives. Yes, I have tried them all different ways and it comes down to 2 things that I don’t like, the taste and the texture. Aside from that, they’re fine.
Now I know some people are upset by this, after all many people are quite passionate about olives. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven." I beg to differ, Tommy boy. I still push them to the side of my plate (and don’t get me started on things schmeared with tapenade).
You may be wondering at this point what my disdain of olives has to do with happiness in life or at work (which is totally reasonable). I bring it up as an example of something that I don’t like that doesn’t really affect you at all. Chances are if you met me and then found out that I don’t like olives, even if they are your favorite food ever, you wouldn’t be angry or hurt by it and you definitely wouldn’t question how delicious they actually are. You would probably feel a little bad for me that I am missing out, and sit next to me the next time olives are served so you could have mine too.
Why do I bring up this subject about personal preference? Let’s look at a different example for clarity.
What happens when you discover that someone doesn’t like you?
Heck, maybe they even said the words “I don’t like you.”
You get defensive.
a gut reaction, the anger, maybe tears,
the lashing out about all the things that are wrong with them.
And yet, we forget in that moment that there are plenty of people that we don’t really like. People who just aren’t our preference, not our cup of tea. People who are just kalamata olives. It doesn’t make them good or bad, just not something that has a place of importance in our lives. We don’t spend a lot of energy thinking about them (just like I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about olives).
So what if we could adopt this approach when someone really doesn’t like us, or respect us, or value our work?
What if we could just decide we are olives to them and it’s their loss that they just don’t realize how delicious we really are? Sure, the gut reaction will still come up, the initial aggravation and defensiveness. After all, we are human and humans want to be accepted. But we don’t have to stay in that place for one extra second if we don’t want to. (And who wants to be aggravated? It feels awful.)
What if we could just remember that having preferences is a human right? That it doesn’t actually mean ANYTHING about US if we aren’t on someone else’s “A list”, if maybe we are tier 2 or 3. Sometimes it is even helpful to remember that if people don’t realize how great we are, then maybe we don’t actually value their opinion anyway.
The moral of the story? We are all olives, some people will love us and some won’t. We may love some people while others make us gag.
It’s the human condition, not some powerful tool that can sabotage your happiness
(unless you sit in the belief that something has gone terribly wrong,
that everyone SHOULD like you).
let’s talk about ice cream :)
Having trouble in real time with applying these ideas? I can help you, just schedule a call right here.