I can only speak for myself, but I desperately and truly dislike being disliked. I do what I can to please others, but for some reason there is always a person who finds a reason to dislike me.
But I do try. At work, I find a way to help someone who’s behind. There’s a particular fondness I have for the newer and inexperienced CNAs. It’s a fatherly feeling I have when I help them with a task that, to other more experienced CNAs, seems terribly easy. I show them the best way to do it. I give them tips on tasks I use to find terribly difficult, tips that I had to learn from months of experience. Advice that I truly value and wish had been offered to me when I started as a CNA.
I do this because I was once like them: nervous and in need of help. But I also do it because I have this annoying desire to be liked.
If you’ve experienced the disappointment of hearing someone speak negatively about you behind your back, then you might understand why, when I try my best to please others, I have this nagging knot in my stomach for several hours after hearing that one of my co-workers – for some reason – dislikes me.
I wondered why, so I asked my co-worker, who is my friend, and she told me. “She says you never help out by picking up shifts for people.”
I nodded, “True. I don’t.” It upset me a bit, if I am being honest. But then I thought about it. Why do I always say no when I am asked to pick up a shift for someone? The answer is simple. I’d rather be at home with my wife and daughter.
You see, I only have every other weekend with them. When you work in healthcare, most places require that you work every other weekend. So I only get four full days a month with my wife and daughter.
So when my co-worker asks me, “Can you work my shifts this weekend?” The question is much more complex than that. What I hear is, “Can you spend two of the four days a month you get with your family at work instead?” And so I say no.
I guess what I’m saying is, with far too many words, as much as I’d like everyone to like me, it is simply an impossible task. I must pick and choose who I want to make happy. And I would rather upset a co-worker for refusing to pick up her shifts than upset my wife for picking up the shifts and missing out on our family time.
So, I’ve come to realize a lesson I wish I had learned a long time ago.
You can’t make everyone happy.
But there’s a sort of relief that comes with this realization. There are important people in life. For me, it’s my wife and daughter. Making them happy is more important to me than making a co-worker happy.
Now when I go to work, I say hello to this fellow co-worker and she says it back. We make no small talk, no friendly conversation about what we did on our days off: we just go about our day. If she needs help, I offer it, because that is who I am. If I need help, she doesn’t offer it, because that is who she is.
She still doesn’t like me, and that’s fine, because I have other people, important people, who love me very much. And in life, when your job is stressful and money is tight and life seems to get hectic at all the wrong times, that’s all you truly need.
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