Almost everyone has times when they feel like people just don’t like them. It can feel like it’s a few people, but it can also feel like no one likes us. Sometimes we feel rejected out in the world because of our beliefs. Sometimes it happens at Church, where we should feel safe. Sometimes we know of our shortcomings that seem to repel or irritate others, and we’re working on them. Sometimes we can’t figure out what we’re doing wrong.
We say we don’t care what others think of us. We try to mend our weaknesses. We try to focus on service or work, and that helps. But hey, it still hurts a little. Sometimes our minds or hearts keep going back to it. So here are some inspirational thoughts, stories, and counsel from Church leaders to help us all through those times when we’re struggling socially, and we feel like no one likes us.
Church doctrines and practices will always draw some degree of ridicule and hatred from the world.
‘Despised and rejected by the world’
“[O]ne of mortality’s great tests comes when our beliefs are questioned or criticized. In such moments, we may want to respond aggressively—to ‘put up our dukes.’ But these are important opportunities to step back, pray, and follow the Savior’s example. Remember that Jesus Himself was despised and rejected by the world. And in Lehi’s dream, those coming to the Savior also endured ‘mocking and pointing … fingers’ (1 Nephi 8:27). ‘The world hath hated [my disciples],’ Jesus said, ‘because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world’ (John 17:14). But when we respond to our accusers as the Savior did, we not only become more Christlike, we invite others to feel His love and follow Him as well.” —Robert D. Hales, Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship
Shyness, severe acne, and raising pigs
“Neal Maxwell grew up in Salt Lake City with a boy’s usual fears and aspirations. He loved athletics and developed early skill as a basketball player. But by the time Neal entered Granite High School, his friends had suddenly grown enough taller that he failed to make the basketball team. By then he had also developed a serious case of acne, the scars of which he still carries. By nature shy and sensitive, Neal experienced additional social discomfort during his high school years. His family home was very modest and he raised pigs as a 4-H project. His work with the pigs occasionally made him the object of stinging remarks from his friends. These minor bruises to his feelings as a young man would later help bless him with a keen sense of empathy for others.” —Bruce C. Hafen, Elder Neal A. Maxwell: An Understanding Heart
“Just as God rejoices when we persevere, He is disappointed if we do not recognize that others are trying too. Our dear friend Thoba shared how she learned this lesson from her mother, Julia. Julia and Thoba were among the early black converts in South Africa. After the apartheid regime ended, black and white members of the Church were permitted to attend church together. For many, the equality of interaction between the races was new and challenging. One time, as Julia and Thoba attended church, they felt they were treated less than kindly by some white members. As they left, Thoba complained bitterly to her mother. Julia listened calmly until Thoba had vented her frustration. Then Julia said, ‘Oh, Thoba, the Church is like a big hospital, and we are all sick in our own way. We come to church to be helped.’
“Julia’s comment reflects a valuable insight. We must not only be tolerant while others work on their individual illnesses; we must also be kind, patient, supportive, and understanding. As God encourages us to keep on trying, He expects us to also allow others the space to do the same, at their own pace. The Atonement will come into our lives in even greater measure. We will then recognize that regardless of perceived differences, all of us are in need of the same infinite Atonement.” —Dale G. Renlund, Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying
‘He is not waiting to love you’
“Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
“He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Living the Gospel Joyful
Images from My Best LDS.
Our Father in Heaven wants us to be happy. And yet, we all have times of trouble. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland writes, "One of the unfailing facts of mortal life is the recurring presence of trouble...When these difficult days (and nights!) come—and they will—it will help us to remember that 'it must needs be,' that in the grand councils of heaven before the world was, we agreed to such a time of challenge and refinement. We were taught then that facing, resolving, and enduring troublesome times was the price we would pay for progress. And we were committed to progress eternally."
In this tender book, Elder Holland explores dozens of scriptural passages from the psalms, offering personal ideas and insights and sharing his testimony that "no matter what the trouble and trial of the day may be, we start and finish with the eternal truth that God is for us."