Thursday, December 14, 2017

What’s “like” got to do with it?

October 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured Posts, Observe

like or dislikeThe agony of the US presidential election, which has captivated North America, and, perhaps much of the world, is at last coming to a close. The voices of the undecided play to a refrain in my mind of Tina Turner singing “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and I wonder, “What’s like got to do with it?”

Much of what I hear from the undecided is, “I don’t like her”, or “I don’t like either candidate.” When pressed, there’s a doubling down into “I just don’t like her”, or “I just don’t like either candidate”, as if “just” is the only justification needed. Rarely do I hear reasons – informed, fact-based positions, logically thought-through. Oh no … it’s just, “I don’t like.” And so the undecided remain undecided, because emotion will likely not take them to the point of making a firm decision.

Liking or not liking someone is an emotion, an instinctive response that is telling us something. We shouldn’t ignore the feeling of liking/not liking, but just leaving it there keeps us stuck and impotent. What will help us is to find out what’s behind those feelings.

Here are 2 things to do that will move you out of the feeling fog to clarity (and maybe even a decision):

  1. Acknowledge the feeling, without judgment. Don’t beat up on yourself or on the other person for the emotion you are feeling. You are just feeling it. That’s all. Saying you don’t like someone or something acknowledges that you have a negative emotion or reaction to that person or thing. Nothing at all wrong with that. Whatever emotion you have, acknowledge it.
  2. Ask yourself why. What is it that you don’t like about the person? Try to get to the point where what you don’t like is something observable and objective, e.g.: “I did not like the way the boss yelled at me yesterday”, or “I don’t like his policy on women.” And why don’t you like “his policy on women”? Did you inform yourself about his policy, or have you just listened to sound bites and tweets that others have opined? You could use the “5-Why” technique – ask a further “why” each time you answer your “why.” After doing this 5 times, you should get to the real, underlying reason you don’t like the person or the situation

This “like” thing works the other way as well – when other people don’t like you, or you believe that they don’t. For example:

  • “My boss doesn’t like me.” It’s so easy to leave it there. But if you think your boss doesn’t like you then you see everything that your boss says and does as proof that he/she doesn’t like you. And that leads you to thinking that nothing you do will get him/her to like you. So, you don’t do anything. You just sit and stew in frustration, and an ever-deeper cycle of feeling your boss does not like you and then of course, you don’t like him either!
  • In a workshop I facilitated a few months ago, a participant muttered that “Marguerite doesn’t like me”, because I wasn’t calling on him every time he had his hand up to speak. He wasn’t too happy and complained to other participants. I can assure him that it’s not that I did not like him – I simply had to allow equal space for as many of the 40 people in the room to contribute as possible. He had already spoken multiple times, but seeing the hands of 2 or 3 people who had not yet spoken, I made a call that I should allow them to speak. It had nothing to do with liking or not liking.

If the shoe is on the other foot, you have a choice:

  1. Ignore the disliker – at least for awhile, until you get your own emotions of disbelief (“How can somebody not like wonderful me?”) in check. “What people think of me is none of my business” was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. It’s my armour against people who don’t “like” me.
  2. Or you may ask yourself how you may have contributed to the situation. If the boss had yelled at you before yesterday, did you ever have a quiet talk with him/her to ask him not to do it? Or did you get quiet and just suck it up, thus reinforcing his/her behaviour? In the case of my workshop participant, perhaps a more empowering thought for him might have been “Hmmm … I notice that Marguerite is not calling on me. Wonder if I am speaking too much?” Instead, he stewed, and every time I did not call on him, it proved (to him) that I just did not like him.

Here’s a clip of the great Tina Turner performing “What’s Love Got to Do With It”

Hopefully the next time you find yourself saying, “I just don’t like …” this song will be a trigger to find out why, and maybe even to get you out of the nowhere-land of “IJUSTDONTLIKE”.


8 Responses to “What’s “like” got to do with it?”
  1. Emma Lewis says:

    Yes – the five “why”s! A good idea. I so agree… Saying “I just don’t like…” is certainly not a platform for positive action, let alone voting! Besides, a political candidate, to my mind, doesn’t even have to be “likable” – so long as you believe they are competent, smart and trustworthy!

  2. Marguerite Orane says:

    Thanks for your comment Emma – spot on – competence, smarts and trustworthiness – that’s what matters. Everything else, like “likeability” is brawta (as we say in Jamaica).



  3. Emma Lewis says:

    Yes – fortunately President Obama had tons and tons of likeability! (wish he could stay!)

  4. Marguerite Orane says:

    I can’t wait to see the wonderful things he and Michelle are going to do, unshackled by Congress in a world that really loves them (if many in the US don’t). When we see what Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Al Gore have done on the international stage post-presidency (or in Al’s case, post-presidency-run) it’s mindboggling what Barack can do – and he’s only 55!



  5. Marie Iton says:

    Another reason we go with emotion, rather than logic is that it is easier and more comfortable – sort of fits us nicely, It is sometimes hard to admit that we are the issue, not the other person.

  6. Julie Meeks says:

    Spot on. What’s like got to do with political choices? This is not primary school. This mindset also popular in the Caribbean, where candidates need likeability. 5 Whys – good advice! Thank you for this blog, always thought-provoking.

  7. Marguerite Orane says:

    Thanks Julie. I LOVE “this is not primary school” – sometimes it seems like we never leave primary school!!!



  8. Marguerite Orane says:

    Thanks Marie. Oh yes – easier and more comfortable – even when it’s really, really uncomfortable. Reminds me of sometimes when I run and there’s a pebble in my shoe and I just can’t bother to stop, take off shoes, remove pebble, put on and retie shoes. Then i wonder why I have a blister later …. We are the issue – good place to start.