Feeling like nobody likes you is a soul-crushing experience.
It’s the ultimate form of loneliness, and unfortunately, more and more people are having to deal with feeling out of touch with the rest of society.
Is it their fault?
But, there are some ways in which we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to feeling lonely or disliked.
And the quicker you address these issues, such as negative thoughts that come from our critical inner voice, the quicker you can take back control of your life and start forming healthy relationships.
Read on to find out more about the critical inner voice, how to beat it, and what you can do to overcome loneliness and make drastic changes to your life.
What is your critical inner voice?
Everyone has a critical inner voice – it’s the voice in our head which tells us we aren’t good enough, can’t achieve our goals, and don’t deserve happiness or love.
I like to think of it in the form of the devil on the shoulder. Instead of encouraging sins though, it does everything it can to fill us with self-doubt.
It’s not something we’re all aware of, but it has a profound effect on how we think and behave.
The good news is that the critical inner voice can be controlled, and once you manage to get a hold of it, you can start to be more in touch with the real you.
And the real you knows that you’re worth something.
The real you doesn’t want to hold onto being lonely, it wants to connect with others and build a fulfilling life.
So what’s the link between not being liked and the critical inner voice?
Well, the critical inner voice pipes up at the worst of times. And the more we listen to it, the more we are at risk of letting it take over us.
When you’re worried that no one likes you – are those really your thoughts or is it your critical inner voice?
Chances are, it’s probably the latter.
And because you’re so used to listening to your critical inner voice, you don’t see the difference between what’s real and what’s a negative thought process in your mind.
Then, when you’re faced with making new friends, all you can hear is the critical voice telling you that you’re going to mess up.
You can see how it turns into a vicious cycle.
At some point, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Out of all the billions of people in the world, is it possible that nobody likes me?’
Or is it that you’ve become so used to thinking that way, that when someone does like you, you’re already seeing the interactions through a negative lens.
You’re already searching for the inevitable disappointment which your inner critic is telling you will come.
5 steps to overcoming the critical inner voice
Now you’re aware of what your critical inner voice is, you’re probably wondering how you can take back control and learn to separate it from your real feelings.
Whilst this won’t be an instant cure for your loneliness or feelings of isolation, it will benefit you in many positive ways which may then lead on to help form close friendships and relationships with others in the future.
1) Be aware of what your inner critic says
Before even attempting to make any changes, it’s important to know what it is your inner critic is saying.
This might sound like it’s hard to do, but once you start paying attention, you’ll hear your inner critic telling you plenty of disapproving remarks.
Think about a time or situation when you’re very critical of yourself. Maybe it’s meeting up with someone you like, or when you’re faced with a problem at work.
Listen to the thoughts going on in your head.
When you start to feel bad in these situations, what is it that your inner critic is telling you?
To help, it’s a good idea to start separating your inner critic from yourself. Every time you hear your inner critic, write it down.
Do it in two separate ways, using ‘I’ and ‘you’.
For example, my first statement might be ‘I’m rubbish at making friends because I’m not an interesting person’’.
Next to it, I’d then write ‘You’re rubbish at making friends because you’re not an interesting person’’.
By doing this, you’ll learn to separate the two voices and begin to see that the inner critic doesn’t necessarily reflect your opinion of yourself.
2) Work out where your inner critic comes from
This next step is interesting.
Without realizing it, as you grow up you naturally absorb the influences and behaviors of people around you.
Most of us can remember at least one person who was critical of us when we were growing up.
Whether it was a parent, an aunt or uncle, or a teacher at school, these external critics have some part to play in how our inner critic forms.
And it might not even be that they were coming from a critical standpoint.
You could have had overly worried parents, who often voiced their concerns over you being a shy child or not very forthcoming when it came to making friends.
When you write down your inner critic statements, try to see if you recognize where they might originate from.
It might not be a direct statement that you were told as a child, but you may be able to work out where the underlying doubt and fear originally stemmed from.
Once you’re aware of what your inner critic is saying, you might be surprised when you start to make links between your childhood and what your biggest self-criticisms are.
3) Stand up to your inner critic
This next step is much harder, but very important if you want to truly take back control over your inner voice.
As you identify what your critical inner voice says, you need to talk back to it.
It’s an exercise, and the more you do it, the better you’ll become at standing up to these irrational, unfair, and tiring thoughts.
So, for example, my inner critic tells me ‘I’ve not got anything useful to say, no one wants to hear my opinion’.
I’d respond to the statement, this time still using an ‘I’ response.
‘I have got useful things to say, and people do want to hear my opinion. I have plenty to say about the things I enjoy, and what people find interesting is subjective, anyway.’
As you can see, I extended the statement to include a rational reason behind my defense.
This solidifies the process and keeps things in perspective. Try doing this every time you encounter your inner critic.
You might want to begin by writing each statement down (the critic’s and your response) until you feel confident to continue doing it in your head.
4) Understand how your inner critic affects your behavior
Once you have mastered the last three steps, it’s now time to start understanding just how much your inner critic has been holding you back in life.
Could it be one of the main reasons why you feel like nobody likes you?
It’s possible. A lot of damage can be done when the critical inner voice takes over.
As you respond to these critical statements, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how that statement affected you in the past and present.
Did it hold you back from asking that nice colleague for her number? Or from applying for that job promotion, because you ‘thought’ that you probably wouldn’t get it anyway?
5) Make changes to yourself
You’ve reached the final step now in taking back control.
Using all that you’ve learned in the previous steps, you now need to apply this understanding and start making changes.
To do this, you should first avoid taking part in any self-destructive behavior that your inner critic is telling you.
Then, you should increase your positive behaviors and essentially fight back against what your inner critic says.
It’s not an easy journey, and many people find that their inner critic goes a bit haywire and ramps up the pressure.
This could be because you’ve become so used to it, it now feels even worse because you’re actively paying attention to it.
The key is to keep going. Don’t give up hope that you’ll never change, because, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, you can train yourself to overcome your inner critic.
Why you aren’t alone in feeling lonely
Loneliness and isolation are something that a large percent of the world has to deal with.
A study by Cigna found that three in five adults in America feel lonely. That’s a huge proportion of the population, and it doesn’t look like the numbers are improving.
The problem with loneliness is that it doesn’t discriminate. No matter your age or social standing, if you haven’t got a strong support circle around you, you can easily fall into despair.
And we all have an inner critic.
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You’d be surprised at how many people aren’t aware of how their inner critic affects them, and how much it’s probably held them back in life from forming strong bonds with others.
Add into the mix things like social media and it’s clear to see why people may find it harder to form genuine relationships or friendships.
From Instagram influencers to unrealistic celebrities, it’s understandable to feel like you don’t belong or fit in.
The good news is, you’re not alone.
There are plenty of people who find it hard to connect with others, are dealing with insecurities, or who have just ended up being isolated from society.
10 steps to dealing with loneliness
Here are some tips for dealing with isolation, and ways in which you can get back out into the world and start forming healthy, fulfilling connections.
Some of the points are based on the advice from the world-famous shaman, Rudá Iandé, and his article on being alone.
1) Build on the relationship you have with yourself
The most important relationship you have is the one you have with yourself.
Many of us have heard the expressions about ‘you can’t find true love until you love yourself first’ and the same applies to being liked by others.
As Rudá explains it:
“Think of how you would like to be treated by people. Are you treating yourself with the same love, care, and respect you would like to receive?
“If you aren’t, it doesn’t matter how many people you have around and how much they love you, you’ll still feel empty and alone.”
Once you begin building the relationship you have with yourself, you’ll be in a much better position to a) make new friends and b) accept and deal with loneliness more healthily.
2) Engage in hobbies or try to follow a passion
You know how you tend to look and feel your best when you’re doing something you love?
Well, it’s not just a coincidence.
Taking up a hobby or practicing an old passion can do wonders for your mental health and give you a boost of much-needed motivation and energy.
So, whether it’s dusting off the old running shoes or enrolling in a local art class, set yourself the goal of picking up a new (or old) hobby.
And, the more social it is, the more you might find you meet like-minded people with who you have things in common.
3) Keep practicing positive self-talk
After you’ve learned to respond to your inner critic, why stop there?
Speaking to yourself positively is one of the most important things you can do. There are enough people out there who will be mean to you for no reason – don’t be one of them.
Practice combating negative thoughts with more positive, or in some cases just realistic, thoughts.
Make the conscious decision to be kinder to yourself. Dealing with being lonely isn’t easy, and the least you can do is be gentle to yourself.
4) Get involved in your local community
Getting involved with your local community is a great way to meet new people.
Often, you’ll find a whole mix of characters in community projects, from outgoing extraverts to the shyest introverts.
Not only will you potentially make new friends, but you’ll also be giving back to your community.
These acts of kindness will make you feel good, bring out positivity, and give you a sense of achievement.
5) Nurture the friendships and relationships you already have
It’s okay if your inner circle is small, or even if you don’t have a circle.
Think about those who have been kind to you in life, and reach out to them.
Sometimes, we can fall into the trap of self-isolating because we don’t feel confident enough to be vulnerable with others.
Instead of hiding away and hoping the problem will sort itself out, take the first step, and get in touch with people you already know.
You can do this by:
- Having a phone call catch up with an old friend
- Inviting someone out for a coffee
- Using social media to find relatives or friends you’ve lost touch with
- Getting to know your neighbors better
Not only will it be easier to approach these people but you might take comfort in the fact that they already know you and have some form of relationship, so it’s not as daunting as starting from scratch.
6) Take responsibility for yourself
An important point that Rudá makes when it comes to being alone is taking responsibility for yourself.
“Taking responsibility is very different than feeling guilty or blaming yourself.
“Taking responsibility means looking at your eyes in the mirror and saying: “yes, this is my life. I’ve put myself here, and I can change it if I want. I am the only responsible for my life.”
It’s not up to anyone else to fix your problems, and as harsh as that might sound, it’s the truth.
You might not have been in control growing up when people didn’t warm to you, but you can be in control of your future and take responsibility for the way you live your life.
So if you want to get out there and approach friendships with new enthusiasm, go for it and don’t let your inner critic hold you back.
In the end, you’ll only have yourself to hold responsible if you don’t.
7) Learn new ways to approach life
I don’t mean rushing out to buy all the self-help books on the shop shelves, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, there are so many eye-opening opportunities that can be taken advantage of.
Use what you can to broaden your mind, form new outlooks on life, and build on your character.
If you know you have a problem with feeling insecure, research tools to overcome your insecurities.
If you know you can be a little awkward when meeting someone for the first time, research other stories of people who’ve faced the same situation but overcome it.
Just one example of how you can make use of the abundance of information that can be found online is the free masterclass designed by Rudá on Personal Power.
In this free masterclass, Rudá can help you:
- Find your place in this world
- Change old habits and beliefs
- Increase your enthusiasm for life
- Develop a healthy self-image
The point is, there’s plenty out there which can help you improve yourself and the relationships you have with others.
We’re all evolving and learning, and hopefully, by investing some time into yourself, you’ll learn to overcome your limitations.
8) Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
The first steps to combating your loneliness have to come from you.
Of course, it’s completely natural to fear being vulnerable, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past.
But, you have to understand that everyone gets hurt at some point, and only those who push on and don’t give in eventually find peace and love in their relationships.
If you never put yourself out there, you have no idea who you’re missing out on getting to know.
So, whether it’s by going out to eat at a restaurant alone, or inviting a colleague for a drink after work, take the first step.
It’ll be nerve-wracking but the more you do it the easier it’ll become, and soon, it’ll begin to feel natural.
9) Accept that everyone goes through periods of loneliness
Everyone, even the most popular person you can think of, goes through bouts of loneliness.
It’s completely natural and the sooner you accept it and work through it, the easier it’ll be to deal with.
The same applies to not feeling ‘liked’. We all have self-doubt, we all have flaws and not everyone is going to like us.
The question you should be asking yourself is, ‘do I like myself?’
If the answer is yes, then don’t let the fact that you don’t have many friends hold you back.
Embrace the loneliness, make the most out of it and use it as fuel to grab life by the horns and make the most out of it.
“Loneliness is such an opportunity! Far from the distractions of external relationships, you can focus on yourself. You can learn from yourself. You can explore new possibilities. You can be creative.”
10) Start celebrating yourself and your life
The final point that Rudá makes when it comes to being lonely is to celebrate yourself.
He explains that we spend so much time looking towards the end goal, the day we reach all our achievements and can finally be happy.
But this is all an illusion.
This is something we’ve conjured in our minds and through our expectations, and we’re never going to reach eternal happiness and success.
“You don’t need a better life. You don’t need to do anything else. You don’t need to be any better than you already are. You can celebrate yourself now. Recognize the miracle you are. Look at your accomplishments. Worship the life that exists within you. Enjoy being yourself.”
Only you can decide how much your life is worth. If you wait for others to notice it, you could be waiting for a long time.
Everything you are, have achieved, failed at, cried over, it’s all a culmination of you. It’s what makes you, you.
Celebrate it, the good and the bad.
Finding true love and cultivating healthy relationships
I hope the points above on beating your critical inner voice and overcoming loneliness help you when it comes to dealing with being alone.
I already touched upon one of Rudá’s masterclasses, but I’d like to let you know about his free class on Love and Intimacy.
If you feel like you don’t attract healthy relationships, or that you could use help when it comes to finding happiness and loving connections, this masterclass covers it all.
For me, Rudá highlighted many issues that I didn’t realize I was bringing to my relationships, from unrealistic expectations to a lack of my own personal power.
He also delves into the problems that stem from codependency in relationships, all whilst focusing on how to improve your mindset when it comes to love and intimacy.
So, if you’re tired of feeling like no one likes you and that you’re always alone, take action and see how one simple masterclass could potentially change your life.