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Who doesn’t love YOU?

By April 14, 2010How To

Once upon a time, I went to high school – and I loved it. Once upon a time, I went to camp in northern Minnesota – and I loved it even more. Once upon a time, I went to college – and I hated it. And, once upon a time, I began my life as a post-grad, 20 something – and I found that love again. Haven’t lost it yet.

So…one of these things is not like the other. Yes?

At first, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with college, I only knew that it felt like hell. And then I got it. No one there got me, no one loved me. It was like being in an ugly black hole where everything was backwards, wrong, upside down. It was like walking around in a sea of Calvin Klein skinny jeans while I rocked my Levi’s cords. (quite literally)

Now, let’s be clear: No one there had to love me, it’s not mandated in the Universal Handbook, (as far as I know) – so the real issue wasn’t with me and it wasn’t with them (and believe you me, I blamed us both for a loooooong time). The actual problem was that I was too young and unaware to LEAVE.

That’s it folks. I’m serious. This life is too short to be hanging around people that don’t love us. In our relationships and in our businesses – essentially, in our lives.

And so I’m wondering: who are you spending time with? Because if you’re spending time with people that don’t see you, don’t get you and, as a result, don’t totally fall in love with you…then I’m wondering what the hell is wrong with you.

Because you and I are magnificent, we’re delicious. The way we think, the things we say, how we write and create – the perfume of US-ness that trails behind us when we walk down the street – it’s captivating. And those that do not fall under its spell just aren’t all that worthy.

A bad habit.

In the past, I’ve had a bad habit. When I’ve come across someone that wasn’t spellbound by me, that said ‘no thanks’ to my company, my writing, my work, mySELF, I let it hurt my feelings. I wondered what was wrong with ME. And I spent (a lot of) time trying to convince them to hire me or take me to dinner or like my writing or pay attention to me or love me. In effect, I tried to FIX THEM. Because, let’s face it – something was broken. Right?

And now I’m finding that hilarious. If you’re a mosquito and a bat flies past you, do you stand up and make a scene? Do you flag her down with your buzzing? NO! That would be STUPID. Do you know why? Because the bat will NOT give you the love and attention you seek! The bat will cause you pain! The bat will EAT YOU!

I thought it was me that was broken. But, now I see that it wasn’t – even if they don’t love me, I’m just fine. Quite fine, as a matter of fact.

Think about how you feel when you’re around someone that really loves and gets you: lit up, like your best self, happy, confident, safe, fantastical.

And think about how you feel when you’re around someone that doesn’t: needy, unsure, insecure, pissed off, scared, sad, belligerent, wronged (unjustly!).

Imagine if you stopped letting them choose you. Imagine choosing your own experience. Because there’s little you can do about them. Imagine your life if you stopped trying…

Dependence and Ego

Before I get lambasted for depending on other people (the ones that do love us) for happiness and fulfillment – remember that we are the ones choosing! We are choosing to give our valuable time and energy to the ones that love us. It’s all up to us. This isn’t about dependence or weakness. This is about leadership, control, forging our own way, CHOICE and POWER.

And this isn’t about us being egotistical. Really, it isn’t. It’s about knowing that, realistically, some people will want us and some won’t. And then asking: What are we going to do about it?

Image credit: Daniel Pink

Join the discussion 38 Comments

  • Lindsey says:

    Oh, I am very very guilty of this as well – as usual you remind me of the really important stuff, clearly and powerfully … thank you, thank you!

  • Love this Julie!!! I can really connect with what you are saying here! It’s not about seeking validation from others but being surrounded by those who love us and we love in return…nothing wrong with that. As for those who don’t love us…their loss!

    We are perfect and wonderful just the way we are :)

    Hugs to you and all of your amazing readers!


  • Van says:

    Beautiful post! I’ve been doing the same thing in recent years. Removing the negative connections and friends and surrounding myself with positive energy.

    While reading this post I had The Jackson 5’s “Who’s Loving You” playing in my head. So appropriate.
    .-= Van´s last blog ..An Art Piece Between Best Friends =-.

  • Jenny says:

    I love this. I’ve spent the good part of my 25 years so far desperately trying to make everyone like me and it’s only been recently through social media that I really grasped the fact that this is implausible and silly. The more I think about it, the more the sentiment rings true that if you’re trying to be everything to everyone you’re probably being nothing to yourself. Has anyone ever said that before? If not, I want dibs on the quote. Unless it’s horrible and makes you people not like me anymore.

  • Edgy Mama says:

    I love you! This is right on. Hellzyea. Exactement.
    .-= Edgy Mama´s last blog ..Another day, another beer festival =-.

  • Dina Lyons says:

    Love this, and have struggled with this too!
    I thought you’d find it funny that my 5 year old told me just this morning, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a bat. But I promise not to eat you, or my brother, or Daddy.” LOL

  • Amy says:

    This is a constant struggle in my life, as well, although I feel like in the last year I’ve made incredible strides. Like I tell my daughter all the time, “There are billions of people in the world. Be polite and kind, but don’t waste time on the people who don’t want to be your friend.” It works in kindergarten, and it works for us. Great post!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Why Parenthood is My New Favorite Show =-.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    Julie, girlfriend, I was just thinking about this this morning BEFORE I READ YOUR POST. Not word for word, of course, but the basic idea. It’s all SO TRUE. But, for the record, I think the universal handbook of life really ought to have a rule that everyone should love and get Julie Roads.

    It’s not egotistical to surround yourself with real friends, real partners, real people who treat you like a real person. It’s just one thing: healthy.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Should you role play? =-.

  • Lori says:

    This is brilliant and something I REALLY needed to hear today. Thank you. Well said!
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Stella =-.

  • PicsieChick says:

    Ah! What a lovely read to start my day! Thank you!

    Our time and energy is our most precious currency. Spend it wisely, with people who love you.

    Because, yes, truly, we are amazing!

    Hugs and butterflies,
    .-= PicsieChick´s last blog .. =-.

  • ami says:

    Wow – this post was so eye-opening for me. We can *choose* to be loved, we can *choose* to leave or ignore a situation or person than doesn’t love us. Beautiful! I need to start ignoring some situations . . .

    .-= ami´s last blog ..The gift of humility =-.

  • Jesse says:

    My kids have been trying to get their dad to see them for who they are, to love them. (Yes, sadly, some dads don’t automatically love their kids in a way that the kids understand.)

    I just read your post to them and when I finished, they both started clapping.

    Perfect timing. Thank you.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Jesse – I just bowed. I love to be clapped at… I love, love, love that this has touched your kids…love it! Thanks for sharing that!

  • Siddhartha says:

    Yes, yes, yes. Wow, this is a powerful post. It hit me as I was reading your fourth paragraph. You’re so right. It’s not me and it’s not them, it’s just us.

    And that burst of insight, so obvious and yet for so many years elusive, made me feel so good I practically laughed the rest of the way through your post. It was so apparent I’d been going about my life all wrong.

    I kept thinking of all the times I’d tried to become what other people wanted, and then about all the times I tried to convince them they should like me the way I am.

    Life’s too short to spend it trying to make people like you.

  • Walker says:

    Great post.. it’s a lesson I’ve learned and then forgotten over and over. I left my most recent relationship after 3 years when I realized I was compromising myself to make another person happy… he professed to love me-for what I made him feel like. It could be viewed as a compliment until I realized I was stuck trying to keep him happy.
    Life now is much freer and I’m building my writing career in much the same way.. meeting MY needs and making choices that will serve me.
    .-= Walker´s last blog ..Wednesday Words =-.

  • Geordie says:

    Julie- When I read how sad college made you it kills me. I went from being the skinny geeky kid in high school to someone who felt loved and accepted by a number of different crowds. While we weren’t best friends in college, I enjoyed the time spent together. This is a good, but sad reminder for all of us to make sure our friends know how much we love them, and for us all to be open to receive the love that is out there, especially when we are feeling most alone.
    .-= Geordie´s last blog ..Cashmere Real Estate | Sold Homes March 2010 =-.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Geordie – it is too bad we didn’t connect more at Midd…but don’t let it kill you. It was hard when I was in it, but it has been a huge canyon of learning for me in my life. Wouldn’t trade it for anything…

  • Cassie Boorn says:

    Oh Julie, Thank you so much for writing this post!
    .-= Cassie Boorn´s last blog ..Let Me Inspire You… =-.

  • Oh, Julie. I love this. Very honest, heartfelt & inspiring. You hit it right on the head. If you’re not around people who bring out your best, who make you feel appreciated, move on. I had an experience in college — only one semester, but it was a doozy — where the people in my suite not only didn’t love me. They wanted me out. I was devastated. Couldn’t figure out why they didn’t like me. I’d tried my best. (And I took a hit on my GPA from the stress.) But as I was making plans to move to another suite, they changed their minds and wanted me back. I was not the queen of self esteem back then, but I knew enough to say I’d had enough. Thank God. In my new suite, they thought I was fun and funny and wonderful. And I hadn’t changed a thing. Bonus: My GPA went way up again. And some of those folks have become lifelong friends.

    This is such a great fit with what I did last week on “Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea” ( that I’m going to add a link to your post here. Beautifully said and lived, Julie!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Kat! They do fit…like tea and sugar, I might add. Thank you so much for sharing this!!! What a mantra when things don’t click, eh? Love it!
    Go read her post, people!

  • Trece says:

    You rock my world. Just one sentence and I’m reduced to tears:This life is too short to be hanging around people that don’t love us. OMG.
    .-= Trece´s last blog ..Top Ten Reasons Why I Am Enough =-.

  • Kelby says:

    This is all so true! Great post, and I’m so glad you’re saying it. I am a little weird because mostly I don’t have time for people who don’t love me… but then I do think I rock. LOL.

    But it took me a longer time to figure it out professionally… to say no to working with people who don’t get it or me. I stopped worrying about shoving myself into their mold. I am what I am, and I think what I do is very valuable and I am very experienced and savvy at it. I know it’s hard when you need to pay the bills, but I want to LOVE what I do and who I do it with.

    A brilliant post, as usual, Julie.
    .-= Kelby´s last blog ..Announcing Type-A Mom Conference 2010 =-.

  • Lea says:

    Julie, love this! I am a born people-pleaser, and at the ripe *young* age of 40 I am finally learning these lessons myself. About damn time, huh? We have to listen to our gut, and heed what it tells us about who and what lights us afire… well done, friend. (hug)

  • LD says:

    I’m torn between a fist pump and a box of tissues here. This post speaks to that inner struggle so many of us can relate to. I need read and re-read this, eat it, live it, soak it up and let it sink in. I know I rock too.. maybe not a Kelby rock but hey we can’t all be Mic right? And even though he’s a little nutso Keith can bring it too! GREAT POST!!!

  • Kelly says:

    This is totally me! (Except that I felt that way about high school and not college–loved that!). Its still very hard for me to not put everything on myself and to just go with the flow, so to speak. Wonderful post!

  • Ron Miller says:

    I get what you’re saying. I really do, but even people who love us shouldn’t always shower us with love and always make us feel good. The people that really love us shouldn’t be afraid to tell us when we screwed up or didn’t do our best. Sure, they should accept us in spite of foibles, but our true friends and loved ones are not there to just make us feel good (although they should do that too of course). The people who know us best though, should be able to look us in the eye and tell us the truth even when we don’t want to hear it.

    You are right of course that some people will want us and some wont’ (like the guy who called me a moron today in a comment; don’t have any need for him), but the guy who gave a clear argument why he thought I was wrong without name calling; that’s fantastic. I know that not everyone will love me or what I wrote even though I so wish they would, but I also know that even the people who love me won’t always agree with me. That’s OK though, to me, that’s what friends are for.

    .-= Ron Miller´s last blog ..Time for Apple and Adobe to Bury the Hatchet on Flash =-.

  • Andi says:

    I have to echo what Alisa said. It’s not egoistical to be picky about who you spend your time with. Or chose to invest into a relationship with. If it is, I am the most egoistical person I know. I do not suffer fools, drama queens or divas. Don’t have the time or inclination! Strangely enough, I HATED college too. After being loved for so long in small schools, being special for being the new kid all the time and the world traveler, I became just a number, hated it. Wasn’t interested in taking classes I thought were lame and left!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..A new dress =-.

  • Stephanie says:


  • The other day I was at Nordstrom trying to buy a couple new pair of work pants because I’ve put on 20 pounds since October and none of my spring pants fit. The saleslady came in to find out how I was doing, and I said nothing was fitting me well, and and I was in between sizes and it was frustrating. And she told me I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Which is when I said, “Oh, it’s not about my body, my body is fine. It’s the clothes that have the problem.”

    So I went to Banana Republic, whose clothes have always fit me better anyway, and found two pairs of pants ON SALE that look great and feel great. And the sales person was just as nice. And I got a coupon.

    And as I was paying, I thought that my current job is like Nordstrom. Great reputation but it is not meeting my needs, and I keep going back with the hope that maybe one day the merchandise will change and I can have one of those great Nordstrom moments you hear about, where the worlds of product and service converge and the angels sing (but at work). Instead, I need to look for my workplace version of Banana Republic.
    .-= lynn @ human, being´s last blog ..Working the steps =-.

  • How I love this
    SO glad I found your blog through Arvind Devalia
    .-= K Floortime lite mama´s last blog ..Childhood expressions: Blog Carnival =-.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Hey! I’m so glad you found me too…thanks for taking a second to let me know you’re here…have a fantastic day!

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