Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wanting People To Like You

A couple weeks ago, I was on one of the forums I frequent, and someone on there had a problem with their personal life. This person has difficulty making friends and felt bad about that; as if people not liking them made them wrong, somehow. As if having many friends would make this person a good person.

It is not enough to be liked by everyone. One must be liked by the good, and hated by the bad.
~Confucius

Yes, I know it's Confucius in a Taoist blog, but Confucius was quite a wise man, and this quote most certainly holds considerable wisdom.

But what makes a bad person in this regard? Well, that's more of a difficult matter when it comes down to it. Perhaps it would be more productive to consider what we want ourselves to be like, and then try and be liked by those we wish to be like and disliked by those we do not want to be like. Who do I seek to emulate? I turn once again to what is probably my favorite quote from the Tao Te Ching:

A truly good person functions without ulterior motive.
A moralist acts out of private desires.
A ritualist acts and, when no one responds,
rolls up a sleeve and marches.

When we lose the Tao, we turn to Virtue.
When we lose Virtue, we turn to kindness.
When we lose kindness, we turn to morality.
When we lose morality, we turn to ritual.

Ritual is the mere husk of good faith and loyalty
and the beginning of disorder.


I seek to be a truly good person, and so I wish to be disliked by ritualists, those that place emphasis on things such as proper responses and greetings, and things of that nature that I group as "social ritual". I do wish to be liked by those who have no need of such things, but they seem to be fairly rare, and so I am more often disliked than liked.

Autistics tend to have difficulty making friends because of our difficulty with social ritual. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you believe that social ritual is a good thing, then I suppose it would be. As for me, I do not. I believe myself to be a fairly good person (not a truly good person yet, but I am trying). Lacking ability with social ritual means that those that want to be my friends do so because of who I am, not how well I follow ritual.

If you feel upset because people don't like you, look inside yourself. Weigh your actions against what you believe to be right. If you find that your actions have strayed too far from what you believe is right, change them. However, if you find that your actions are correct according to you, then do not worry that you do not make friends. To make people your friends, who do not care about you as a good person, you would have to lower yourself.

It is better to be good and hated by the world, than to be bad and loved by it. Rejoice that those who are bad dislike you; it means that you are good.

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