People are often encouraged not to care what people think about them. There's some truth to that, but this advice isn't always practical. It does matter what certain people think of you when you're applying for a job, trying to do a job, or even just get by in society. The thing with my condition is that it often makes people dislike us. People talk. They LOVE it, but most people aren't really saying anything of value. Gossip is poisonous and can make it feel impossible for someone who's being talked about to see a way out. The only thing more distressing for me than being mistreated is to witness someone else get mistreated and feeling helpless about it. I've come to the conclusion that it's socially acceptable to treat someone badly when they aren't liked on a large scale, no matter the reasons. I still feel uncomfortable in large groups at times because I've experienced some of the worst in people.
One of the curses of being autistic is that we inherently want to be liked, more-so than neurotypicals. As a kid, I remember wanting to be everyone's friend. I was in for a rude awakening when I learned that nobody wanted to be my friend. It's no secret that I was bullied my whole life, like most autistics. Think Lord Of The Flies. My default way of thinking is very black and white. In the past, when people did something a certain way, I'd see this as the only way. Same goes for certain experiences. If someone held an opinion about me, I'd go forward thinking that this thought was an absolute rule.
"You're only friends with Margo because that's the only friend you can get."
"Nobody likes you."
"What a loser."
"I'll make sure that your school years are a living hell."
"You're a nice girl and all but can you please stop sitting next to me. People are actually starting to think we're friends."
*always picked last in gym class*
*ganged up on and beaten a few times*
After elementary school, I had an understanding that no one liked me and that that's how it'd always be. In grade 8, a girl in my gym class locker room asked "who here doesn't like Margo?". Everyone put their hand up. I changed schools the following year. My best friend went on and on about how I abandoned her. She finally switched with me saying I was the only reason that our previous school was tolerable. I was confused. I thought everyone hated me and this statement contradicted my learned beliefs. We were close friends, but deep down I believed that she didn't really like me. I was still disliked by a lot of people at my new school, but it wasn't as bad.
"Nobody likes you".
"Don't invite that loser to your party."
"Why is this loser commenting on your status?"
*still picked last in gym class*
*being the (talked about) joke at parties*
*being booed on stage at graduation while receiving my high-school diploma*
I started thinking: well, there's 7 billion people in the world. I haven't met them all yet for them to dislike me. I guess I'm pissing off the entire planet one person at a time. The truth is, a lot of people liked me. Those who really got to know me liked me. If it weren't for social challenges, most people would like autistics. Most autistics who learn social skills are very well-liked. I used to not understand why I didn't fit in. It turns out that the algorithm to being liked doesn't usually involve being kind and jovial. Someone once told me "Margo, they don't like you because you're a very positive person and that's not considered cool." I used to think something was wrong with me. When I'm feeling insecure, I still feel this way.
The assumption that some people are better than others is a man-made illusion. That's a strong statement coming from someone who was rarely invited to birthday parties growing up to being on VIP guest-lists for A-list celebrity parties. Social hierarchies are necessary to make society function but has no bearing on someone's value. Some things I had to learn for myself no matter how many times I heard it. One of these things is this:
"Don't worry if someone does not like you. Most people are struggling to like themselves."
Even though I act like I don't care, deep down, inside my cold dead heart................................ I still don't care.
I'm kidding. ..I'll always be slightly bothered that not everyone will like me but I will never let that affect my life again. Nobody likes a people-pleaser.