I Don’t Like You
by Jim McDonald, LIMC

Who Would I Be Without is the story of a man who asks how rather than why. Specifically, he asks, how am I right now — how am I feeling, thinking, and being in my body—because asking how, rather than why, takes us out of thinking. It frees us to be in our experience rather than avoiding it through thinking. The man in the story is a Student of Experience™ every time he pauses, reflects on his experience, and allows it to show him who, or better yet, what he truly is in any given moment. The practice can lead to many discoveries about self and the suffering that comes with judgment.

Take a moment now and think of someone or something you don’t like. It doesn’t have to be full blown hate, just anybody who comes to mind when I say think of someone you don’t like. You probably already have a person who came to mind, that’s the one. Now, notice how you feel, how you experience yourself when you think of that person or when you think of being around them. Notice how you experience yourself when you review the encounter(s) that led to your not liking them. Stop reading for a moment and go inside and notice.

When we believe we dislike someone or something it is because of judgment, and not because of the person, thing, or situation. Because we have judged, we suffer in our projected dislike. When we experience the sensation of not liking someone, however it manifests, we are actually telling ourselves through unconscious thinking, “I don’t like how I experience myself in the presence of this person.” Since we are typically unaware of this hidden message, and because we are taught to look outward rather than inward, we project the unpleasant feeling we are aware of outward and onto the other. We do this in an effort to lessen, and explain away our unsettling experience—to get rid of it.

The thought and the associated feelings that led up to the projection are very subtle and often go unobserved unless we somehow realize we are suffering, and that blaming the other has done very little to relieve that suffering. Ego screams to us its message that we will feel better by projecting the cause of our uneasy feeling outward. What ego does not tell us—and this is the part ego does not want us to know—is that projecting our feelings onto another as their cause, actually sustains and often increases our less-than-peaceful experience.

If we can find the willingness to look deeper, to pause and be a Student of Experience™ and let the experience show us about us, we meet ourselves. More importantly, our experience brings a wonderful gift in its offering of truth as it reveals for us that we are responsible for our suffering, and that it is always about me, and never about the other.

We are often taught to believe the ‘other’ is the cause of our discomfort and if only they would change, or be different, we would be peaceful. Many people experience this and believe it as truth. It takes only a moment of honest looking to see the lack of validity in such perception. For one thing, there are people who do like this person; some may even claim to love him/her. That alone tells us they are not responsible for our sense of dislike. In essence, we believe a thought that says, “they should be different”, or, “she/he shouldn’t be like that”. At this point we are aligned with the ego thought system; entrapped in a web of thinking that says, “I’m right, they are wrong.” And from the perspective of ego, who doesn’t like to be right! But being right and being peaceful are two completely different experiences.

The trouble is, that while it is very common and considered normal by many, this behavior surrenders the responsibility for our peace into the hands of another, and as long as the other holds the keys to our peace, we suffer in our judgment. A Course in Miracles addresses this point quite succinctly with its statement, “When you condemn another, you impression yourself and make a jailer of the other.”

The picture becomes clearer if we consider the same idea but direct it onto something neutral. Let’s take a car for example. It is quite common to say, “I like this car” or “I don’t like that car”. And yet the notion of liking or disliking a car begins to lose its foundation when we consider the points above and ask, “Can it really be the car that is responsible for my feelings, my experience of me? Or is it my expectations, my thoughts and my beliefs that result in my judgment about what makes a car ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that is responsible for my liking or disliking?” The car is completely neutral; it is as it is.

In both cases, we allow our unconscious thoughts and judgments to determine our experience and we are in a reactionary state; the thoughts are now in control as we swim along, trying to feel better, and projecting out, all over the place. We are reacting in the only way we know to the simple fact that we don’t like the way we feel and we want to feel better.

It is impossible to accept the gift our experience offers if we are unwilling to take the time and do the work necessary to honestly look at who we are right now, in this moment, when we are in a state of “disliking”. We must be willing to see ourselves in ways we may have never allowed before. Our experience; our feelings, emotions, thoughts and physical sensations, gives us everything we need. By learning to notice those, we become willing to own who we really are. And, in those moments of awareness we can say without self-judgment, “right now, in this moment, I am someone who is judging the other as wrong, blaming them for obscuring my peace, and as a result, I feel angry, sad, frustrated, etc.—I am not at peace”.

The next step is not to judge ourselves when we finally do realize that who we are in this particular moment is someone who is judging or condemning another through projection so we can have the illusion of feeling better. We can apply the very same practice to discover, and suspend, our self-judgment as well.


Here is a simple practice we can put into action today. Whenever you have the awareness that you don’t like someone or something, be it a situation or maybe a song, or a movie, rather than saying, “I don’t like that _________”, replace the statement with, “I don’t like how I feel when I listen to that song” or “I don’t like the way I am when I’m around that person”. Begin to take responsibility for your experience of yourself, and your experiences of others (people, places, things) becomes more peaceful. It really is that simple.

Special thanks to Jill for sharing her awareness with me.

Author's Bio: 

Jim McDonald is the author of Who Would I Be Without, an empowering story or an ordinary man’s rediscovery of inner peace and the healing powers of self-love.
Jim acquired a BA in Interpersonal Communication and Group Leadership. He spent sixteen years honing his skills as a training & development professional and his continuing education includes emphasis on the Gestalt appreciative inquiry approach to human interaction. Jim has realized freedom from codependency and addictions through the active synthesis of honesty, spirituality and self awareness into his daily living. A profound awakening process began for Jim in the early 2000’s and today his developing practice of suspending judgment is the key to his rediscovery of inner peace teaching.

His education, training, and life influences have shaped Jim into a dynamic and inspirational "Student of Experience™". He is a guiding force, sharing his powerful message of self-awareness and inner peace through printed materials, presentations, workshops and coaching sessions.

Visit the Student of Experience™ web site at www.studentofexperience.com to learn more about Jim and his message.