“I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.” –Abraham Lincoln

I laughed when I read this quote. It is rooted in profound insight, and expressed with levity. How many of us actually want to get to know someone better if we “don’t like” them? If, however, we remain open and curious we might find we really don’t dislike them. We may not agree with them, and may go about things in a completely different way, yet we can still respect their opinions. After all, we want people to respect ours.

We have all been misjudged by someone, and we have all misjudged another. I have heard it said that 20% of people won’t like you just by looking at you. They don’t even know who you are, but have already decided they don’t like you. Whatever the possible “reason,” we all have experienced being disliked. How does it feel? From my own experience, I know it hurts.

So, what do we do with this?

Maybe it’s a friend of a friend you don’t like, or a coworker, or even someone in your recovery work you cross paths with who “rubs you the wrong way.” If being misjudged has hurt you, do you want to inflict the same onto someone else? If we instantly and permanently shut someone out, we lose all opportunity for anything good to arise.

What might happen if we step out of our comfort zone and make an effort to know that person better? It’s true, we might not end up with a new friend, but we could certainly end up with a new perspective, allowing us more understanding, peace, or harmony in some area—plus, we are guaranteed to learn more about ourselves. When we do inner healing, there’s always a positive ripple effect!

And it is always possible that we will make a new friend. With some courteous inquiry, we may discover similar values, strengths, weaknesses or even passionate interests. This could lead to collaboration to solve shared problems, or to create something new together. I like to call it a “third way”—something that’s not known yet, but arises from the synergy of the moment.

Next time we catch ourselves “not liking” someone, let’s do our best to extend ourselves, stay open, get curious and see what unfolds!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.