In the bestseller, “The Courage to be Disliked,” authors Kishimi and Koga encourage readers to think freely, change their lives, and find happiness in being themselves, even if that means being disliked.
Having been disliked by people throughout my life, I have experienced feelings that accompany such distinction, including loneliness, shame, and depression. What has comforted me is the belief that my Father in heaven loves me, so it matters far less to me what others think or feel about me. I grasped Romans 8:31 as a personal shield of sorts whenever I felt attacked: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NKJV)
This trust helped me every time I was tempted to please others at the jeopardy of abandoning my principles. For example, while teaching high school students, I could have chosen to seek friendship with my students rather than upholding my belief that teachers should be respected as legitimate authority figures.
Thus I struggled with maintaining cordial relationships with disrespectful students. One day a particularly hateful student laughed derisively at my uncompromising declaration about the upcoming due date of an assignment. She mocked me to hilarious appreciative laughter and then said with venom, “And you wonder why students hate you.” Several students gasped at her audacity and looked at me worriedly, wondering how I would respond.
My answer surprised them all that day as much as it did all of my previous classes.
My response every time was: “I know why students hate me. Research shows that people learn better when they are uncomfortable. I do not need to be liked by you. If I were your friend, I wouldn’t be doing my job.”
When they grumbled too loudly, I elaborated with an example: “One day, years from now, I want you to hear my voice when you’re filling out a job application. It will grate in your ears: ‘Where’s your period? It isn’t a sentence if it doesn’t have punctuation’ and ‘The subject of a sentence will never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, NEVER EVER be in an introductory clause.'” Yes, I really did say it just like that. Almost daily.
I told them my goal was to teach them skills so that one day they could get a job and keep a job.
Even if they hated me for it. Because one day, it might save their life. That’s how much I loved them. Even the ones who hated me.
What kinds of things do you do for the greater benefit of others that causes them to dislike you?
BIO: Shelley Allen is a writer, editor, poet, mother of four and grandmother of five. She is the author of Master Fibonacci: The Man Who Changed Math. Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Southern Methodist University. A former teacher and Christian bookstore owner, Allen is a bibliophile with broad literary interests. She works professionally as a freelance writer from her home in Dallas, Texas. Her website is RuthlessRedPen.com.
Published on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 @ 8:22 PM CDT
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