A Book Review – The Courage to be Disliked

We all want to be liked, and more so loved. We crave to be accepted into society, whether that’s through the highest positioned job or the amount of following we have online. After facing some hate on Twitter, I searched Amazon on a whim for books on getting over being disliked – dramatic I know! I came across ‘The Courage to be Disliked’ by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga, the reviews were excellent and it claimed to be a best-seller.

Throughout the book, using the theories of Alfred Adler, a twentieth-century psychologist, a youth and a philosopher discuss change and the ability to ignore limitations by changing our attitude. The most accurate word I could use to describe this book is controversial. Philosopher Ichiro Kishimi terms the world as a simple place where people have the power to change and everyone can attain happiness. If I am being completely honest, I am still processing the meaning behind the book and it’s sections that touch on trauma, interpersonal relationships, the separation of tasks, individual psychology, and living in the here and now.

Perhaps it’s the anxious voice fighting to be heard that is confused at the notion that the world is actually a simple place. Yet, the more I skim through the book again and make notes, the more it’s starting to make sense. Simplified to some extent by Kishimi and Koga, Adlerian psychology is mostly known for his concepts of the inferiority feeling and inferiority complex which he believed to play a large role in forming an individual’s personality. Kishimi touches on the power of horizontal relationships in which one “neither praises nor rebukes” rather than vertical relationships which impact feelings of inferiority.

What’s interesting about this concept is how vertical relationships will always leave us feeling inferior and seeking approval or acceptance from our community, and these kinds of relationships are a lot more common than you realise.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I know I will come back to it a couple times more to fully grasp everything discussed in the book. My only advice is to ensure you stay open-minded when reading through this novel. There were parts in which I strongly disagreed with and almost felt frustrated at but I was determined to plough through. This book DOES have the power to change your attitude and therefore your life, but you must ensure you are in a balanced mindset to do so.

Ciao for now x

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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