There is perhaps no more painful thought in the world than t

There is perhaps no more painful thought in the world than that of “nobody likes me.” It’s an easy feeling to indulge and dwell on, a terrible go-to self-attack in low moments when we feel isolated, depressed, anxious or insecure. This feeling has almost no bearing in reality and no purpose other than to deeply wound us and turn us against ourselves and whatever our goals may be.
Human beings are a social species, and yet, every one of us feels, on some level, like we just don’t fit in with everyone else.
While we may feel alone in thinking “nobody likes me,” we actually have that in common with a staggering number of people in the world. Moreover, what most of us who feel this sense of isolation also fail to realize is that the reason behind it. The way we perceive ourselves as an outcast, rejected, disliked, or cast aside has much less to do with our external circumstances and everything to do with an internal critic we all possess.
What is our “critical inner voice”?
This “critical inner voice” exists in all of us, reminding us constantly that we aren’t good enough and don’t deserve what we want. You are six or twelve or fifteen and you look in the mirror and you hear a voice so awful and mean that it takes your breath away. It tells you that you are fat and ugly and you don’t deserve love. And the scary part is the demon is your own voice.”
The critical inner voice tends to be louder and meaner in some of us than others, and it tends to pick on us more or less at different points in our lives. Yet, one thing’s for sure. As long as we are listening to this dangerous critic that twists our reality, we cannot really trust our own perceptions of what others think of us.
Chances are, it is this destructive “voice” we are hearing every time we tell ourselves, “nobody likes me.” It’s also this voice that instructs us to avoid situations where we’d get to know people. It shuts us up in social situations, makes us nervous, so we don’t act like ourselves. It confuses us with its ceaseless stream of self-shaming observations and self-limiting advice, leaving us anxious and stifled. In turn, it bends us out of shape in such a way that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Once we lose confidence or our sense of self, we’ll no longer act like ourselves. We may even achieve the outcome our critical inner voice warned us about, feeling isolated or finding it difficult to connect with others. “Keep quiet,” the voice barks. “You’ll only embarrass yourself! Don’t you see how stupid you sound? No one wants you around. You don’t add anything. Just be alone! Stop trying. NOBODY LIKES YOU!”
Of course, the critical inner voice isn’t experienced as an actual voice talking to us. It can be a highly subconscious and seamless part of our thought process, making it hard to recognize. Sometimes, it operates like a subtle, shaded filter through which we perceive the world. When someone doesn’t make eye contact with us, it says, “See? He doesn’t like you. He can tell there’s something wrong with you.” When a friend doesn’t text us back right away, it says, “I wonder what she’s thinking. Maybe she’s mad at you. You’re being left out.”
By the time the critical inner voice builds the case of why we’re such losers or no one cares about us, we’ve lost touch with reality, and we blindly move forward believing every negative thought about ourselves that this voice has said to us. We’re so quick to indulge its claims that we mistake them for our real point of view. Because of this, it can be very difficult to notice that this voice has seeped in and even harder to peel away its sadistic coaching from our true perceptions. The best way to start fighting the critical inner voice is, therefore, to do two things: identify when it’s operating and understand where on earth it comes from.
Where does the “voice” that “nobody likes me” come from?
The critical inner voice starts to take shape early in our lives. It’s built out of any hurtful negative attitudes that we were exposed to in childhood, especially from significant caretakers. If a parent thought of us as lazy, helpless or as a troublemaker, for example, we tend to incorporate these attitudes toward ourselves on an unconscious level throughout our lives. We also tend to be influenced by how our parents felt toward themselves, if they felt awkward socially or had low self-esteem, we take on some of their self-critical perceptions as our own. Add to this the many other social experiences we had where we felt put down, shamed or rejected (a teacher who humiliated us in front of our class, a bully at school who put us down on a daily basis), and we can start to see how our inner critic took shape.
Finally, loneliness can actually lead to misremembering. So, when we think back on our day, we may distort things people said to us or how interactions took place in ways that would perpetuate the perception of ourselves as being isolated.

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Marlene1105's picture
Oct 21

You are very welcome!


Thanks for sharing your. post. It is very reflective.

Marlene1105's picture
Oct 23

You are very welcome.


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