One of the things I remember from my deceased father was his advice to not worry if people do not like you. He emphasized that if somebody should not like you, that was their problem. There was little you could do to make somebody like you if they did not want to.
I took this advice to heart. During my school years and even to today, I really don’t concern myself whether people like me or not. I know that it is impossible to control somebody else’s thoughts, so I don’t bother worrying about them. I don’t worry about my reputation and don’t worry about my social standing. It is very liberating.
But that does not mean I don’t care about other people. In my job as a Social Worker and in my spiritual life, I believe very strongly that it is important to care about others. The question is what is it we are to care for in others. I would say that we need to care about how they feel, not what they think.
I value feeling over thinking, because feeling is much more primal and is better remembered. I have experienced this in both business and in the care giving world that people remember how they were made to feel better than what is said to them.
If I care about another person’s feelings, I really don’t need to care about what they should think about me or even if they like me. As long as my actions are ethical, I take ownership for my mistakes, and treat others honestly and respectfully, I am taking care of other people’s feelings. If their feelings are positive and at ease then their thinking will also be positive and at ease.
It is very similar in spirit to Mark Twain’s quote: “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”; except that my quote would instead say: “If you make others feel good you don’t need to worry about what they think”.