Popularity: Approval is overrated
By Judith Victoria Hensley Plain Thoughts
Someone asked me twice in the course of the conversation at a recent meeting if I thought different individuals liked me. In general, I think most people like me and I like most people. Realistically, though, there will be people in life that don’t care for us, nor will we be crazy about everyone we meet.
If it’s a popularity race, count me out. Being popular often means selling out personal convictions and going along with what a particular group of people deems most important. I will not compromise my personal convictions to get anybody’s approval.
Some people think that to be popular it is necessary to be tolerant of everything coming and going. I have found that those who cry out for more tolerance are the very ones who are ready to lynch someone who doesn’t agree with their personal agenda.
I think I am a very tolerant person in accepting people as they are, genuinely caring about them, and acknowledging any individual or group’s right to an opinion or practice that is different than mine, but I expect that same thing in return if I feel or think differently on an issue.
I do think most people like me because I go out of my way to be kind to others. I try to lift people up instead of pushing them down. I try to encourage people to be the best they can be and let them know that I believe in the best that God put in them. I listen to people and truly care about what is going on in their lives.
I rejoice with people in their good times and pray for them in their bad times. Yet, I will not pat people on the back and tell them how wonderful they are when they know they are doing things that hurt others or themselves. And I will never pretend that sin isn’t sin. That will automatically get you voted off the popularity island.
I can be the warm fuzzy, encourager, but there is a limit to what needs to be encouraged. Everybody likes to have people in their lives to appreciate them and remind them of the good things they’ve accomplished and believe in them for the good things they want to do in the future. And some people will love you even if they ask a hard thing and you tell them the truth. But others will turn on you in a heartbeat if you don’t give them unconditional support.
I do want people to like me, but I want them to like me for me. And if they don’t like me, I’d rather they didn’t care for me because of me being true to God or true to myself than any other reason.
Let’s face it – if you meet someone that every single person from every walk of life thinks is wonderful, there might be a problem. I’ve never yet met the person that everybody liked unless they were the type of person that always said what they knew the other person wanted to hear and were as changeable as a chameleon.
I saw a Facebook photo and saying the other day that has stuck in my mind. “Being popular doesn’t always make you right and being right does not always make you popular.”
I appreciate my family and friends who love me for me. I’ve been very blessed with friendships that have lasted for decades and have many close friends. I would rather have the “true relationships” in my life that endure the test of time than to worry about being popular or waste my time trying to win over those who choose not to like me. That is their privilege (although I am not aware of anyone in particular) if such a person or persons exist, and I’m okay with that.
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