Alfred Adler is one of the leading psychologists that despite Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, is not well known in the West, and this book, the courage to be disliked, is all about Adlerian psychology. Even though his ideas are now over a century old, but they are still very applicable. If you ever asked yourself what is the point of life and how to live with more freedom from others, then this is a good book to start. Adlerian psychology is about how to change your mindset, to have a simple and happier life. Let's look at the three key lessons that I learned from this book.
Key Lesson #1: the world is simple and life is simple, too.
If you think the world is complicated, it is because you are making it so. We all live in a subjective world and if you want to change your subjective world, all you need to do is to change yourself. Despite the Freudian psychology that says our past determines our present, in Adlerian psychology, we acknowledge the past traumas, but the past doesn't control our present and you are able to change and your future is not decided by things that happened in the past. And if you change, everything in your life will change. Adler says that we determine our lives according to the meaning we give to past experiences. Life is decided here and now and not in our past experiences. And once you understand this, life is suddenly not complicated anymore.
Key Lesson #2: All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.
Most of us live life being afraid of how other people might judge us. So we try to satisfy their expectations to prevent being judged. But this comes at a huge cost. We throw away who we really are and live other people's lives. Adler suggests that we need to separate our tasks from others. All you can do with your life is to choose the best path you believe in. And what other people will judge you is their task and not yours. If they dislike you, let them dislike you. You can't do anything about it. In general, all problems come from interpersonal relationship problems when people try to intrude in other's tasks. So, find out what your tasks are in life and focus on them and let others do their own.
Key Lesson 3: Build horizontal relationships
If you see others as being beneath or above you, this will always cause problems in life because people will try to intervene in each other's life. Instead, look at other people, no matter who they are, as your equal. By doing so, you can start building horizontal relationships instead of vertical ones. In horizontal relationships, you don't try to rebuke others. You don't even praise them because, in both praise and rebuke, you want to manipulate them. For example, when you say something like “good job,” you are creating a hierarchy. Instead of praise, you can simply say “thank you,” which is a clear expression of gratitude and hearing It makes us feel good because it shows that we have made a contribution to other people's lives.
So to summarize:
1- the world is simple and life is simple.
2- All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.
3- And focus on building horizontal relationships.
Adler wants us to have the courage to be normal and lived here and now and know that no matter what has happened to us in the past, we are able to change and do something that is meaningful to us. Good luck putting his wisdom into action.