Go Where You’re Wanted

If you’re not wanted, why stay?

Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people–the ones who really belong in your life–will come to you. And stay.” -Will Smith

I believe deeply in simplicity.

One of my biggest blogging goals is to take complex concepts about living a more positive life, and streamline them in hopes of making it easier for thousands (maybe millions, one day?) of people to finally put them into action.

Here are five of my favorite examples:

1) What you allow is what will continue.

2) Stop complaining.

3) Leave the world better than you found it.

4) You have nothing to prove to anyone.

5) Be your own hero.

Simple, right?

And now, it’s time for another positivity solution (see what I did there?) that can save you from a ton of unnecessary pain and misery if you choose to follow it consistently:

Only go where you are wanted.

Go Where You Are Wanted

This is a lesson that has taken me way too long to learn, but now that I finally get it, I can’t even begin to put into words how soul-nourishing it is to live in this way.

Here’s a recent example of it in action:

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached out of the blue by a meeting planner to speak at a big conference–which is something that I’ve done quite a few times now, and I absolutely love doing it.

When I replied back to her email and told her about my speaking topic (the importance of positivity in the workplace), I could tell that she thought my topic was hokey, lame, or both by her half-hearted response:

“Okay. Just send me your proposal and I’ll get back to you.”

Yep, I knew exactly what that meant. Another person who probably thinks that a speech about “positivity at work” is going to be 45-minutes of incoherent rambling about why dreaming of rainbows, butterflies and kittens are the only ways to improve the workplace (clearly, she doesn’t know me very well, huh?)

Even so, I sent her my proposal and then I forgot about it.

One of my buddies, who is also a conference speaker, asked me if I was going to follow-up with her.

My response?

“Nope. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. These days, I only go where I’m wanted.”

Then something interesting happened.

A few days later, I was coincidentally asked by a former guest blogger of mine to speak in front of a large audience of healthcare leaders on the exact same topic.

To make a long story short, I passionately gave my speech and immediately received a standing ovation from the entire audience–which I have to admit was one of the coolest things that I’ve experienced in a while.

Afterward, a large line of people formed to chat with me after the speech. One guy in particular came up to me with tears in his eyes, he thanked me for being someone who “gets it,” and then he bear-hugged me and told me that my speech had changed his life forever.


That’s what it feels like to go where you’re wanted.

That’s also why I’ll never fight to go somewhere where I’m not. Ever.

Fighting to be Wanted

We all want to be wanted–anyone who says that he/she doesn’t is lying. I know that I want to be wanted.

But here’s the thing: I am no longer willing to push, fight, or worst of all, beg anyone to want me.

I’ve been there before, and I can safely say that it is the most pitiful way to live. If you’re reading these words and you’re in that dark place right now, then I hope that I can convince you to make a better choice.

I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with letting a potential employer, or even a potential boyfriend/girlfriend, know all of the awesome things that you bring to the table. But as soon as you’ve done that once (or twice, at the absolute most), then you have to find the self-control–or really, the self-respect–to make like Elsa from Frozen, and let it go.

Is there really any other choice that makes sense?

Trying to force a square peg into a round hole by gritting your teeth and somehow forcing them to realize how much of a mistake it is to not choose you, isn’t a good look–believe me. Going down that road will only succeed in making you look pathetic, desperate, and more than a little stalker-ish.

If they don’t want you, then why in the hell should you want them?

If you applied for a job and made it to the final round of interviews, but after your last interview they didn’t respond to your last two follow-up emails–why are you considering sending them a third follow-up email? Seriously??? Don’t.

If you sent a Facebook friend request to someone and he didn’t respond to it after a month, are you really going to send multiple follow-up messages asking if he got your friend request? Trust me, he got your friend request and he’s not interested.

If you went on a date with someone and even though you had a great time, she hasn’t responded to your calls, texts and emails since that date, then it’s probably time for you to take the hint and move on.

This all may be hard to hear, and I’m good with that. I wish that someone hit me over the head with these truths when I did every single one of the things listed above.

Remember this, you are too good to fight and beg to be wanted by anyone.

Why Stay?

Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated.” -Unknown

It’s one thing if you’re pursuing a job or a potential significant other, but what if you’re currently in a relationship (professional or personal) where you’re not wanted?

If so, I need you to answer this question for me:

Why would you want to stay?

If you’re in a romantic relationship with someone who doesn’t appreciate you or treat you with respect–why stay?

If you’re working in a job where your boss, your coworkers, your company, or all of the above, couldn’t give a damn whether you lived or died–why stay?

If you have a “friend” who all of a sudden is screening out your calls and has been purposely ignoring your communication attempts for weeks on end–why stay?

Or better yet, here’s a much more important question that’s a little harsh, but it needs to be asked:

What is so broken inside of you that you are willing to accept these crumbs as the best life has to offer you?

One of my best friends asked me that exact question after I crawled back to my ex-girlfriend and begged her to stay with me after I caught her cheating on me.

You read that right.

Pathetic, I know. But something was broken in me then, and it was that question that made me realize it.

If something is broken inside of you where you mistakenly believe that you have to accept the scraps of what life has to offer, and that you have fight and beg to be wanted by anyone–I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. Dead wrong.

Honor yourself enough to only go where you are wanted, and ideally celebrated.

Life is too short to do anything else.

Your Turn

Have you ever fought to stay somewhere where you weren’t wanted? Have you ever found the courage to walk away from a situation where you weren’t being fully honored? If so, jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!



Founder of The Positivity Solution
Author, keynote speaker, and kindness extremist who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work with more positivity.

Latest posts by Shola (see all)


  1. Susie Binkley says:

    I’ve needed to learn this lesson all my life- and I am currently at a crossroads of this lesson- a crossroads with big neon lights screaming “you’re not wanted here”. I just realized it this week, so your message is incredibly timely. Thank you for the validation, encouragement, and for sharing your story. It helps others feel understood with genuine empathy & compassion, and inspires them to do better and choose better. I am worth more than crumbs… time to truly realize that and move on.

    • That’s right, Susie–you deserve to be celebrated. I’ve seen those neon lights too, and for years I tried to ignore them or pretend that the lights didn’t say “you’re not wanted here.” Needless to say, my cluelessness/stubborness caused me a lot of unnecessary pain. Congrats to you for realizing that it’s time to move on and claim what you’re truly worth!

  2. I dealt with this not too long ago in my last romantic relationship…actually I commented on it in the GUEST POST: Cultivating Optimism thread. After rereading what I wrote, reflecting and praying I decided that I no longer wanted to be in a relationship where I am doing all the work because if he REALLY wanted me I wouldn’t be doing all the work while he fed me crumbs. RECIPROCITY ( I always think of Lauryn Hill when I use that word lol) became my new word after that relationship and I realized that without reciprocity on a consistent basis there is no “real” relationship just the made up one in my mind because I chose to be delusional or as you put it there was something “broken”…Through this personal growth journey I’ve realized that if I truly love myself I wouldn’t allow myself to be in situations that constantly cause me emotional distress or be in spaces where I am not wanted. I’m loving this post Shola! Thank you 🙂

    • Perfectly said, PhillyL! Without reciprocity, there really is no relationship. I cannot even begin to express how many times I needed to experience that lesson before it finally sunk in. Like you said, when we love ourselves, we will not allow ourselves to remain in situations that cause us consistent pain and distress. Everyday is a journey to consistently honor myself, and I’m so glad that you’re going along on that journey too!

  3. I have a multi – generational dysfunctional family – laced with alcoholism and mental illness. My father was my biggest cheerleader and when he died – the rest of the family turned on me like vipers. I have begged manipulated- reasoned – but together family reunions- fantasized- raged at- called names – and now we are at the place where we collectively have expressed the worst things we’ve ever said to each other——-me against them. Me and My brother against THEM. I am in recovery and my brother are in recovery – the rest of the family is not. Vehemently against it any recovery – and ridicule – make sarcastic remarks and humiliate me because I have sought therapy and 12-step recovery and meditation and a Buddhist way of living………but all of those things have allowed me to survive this viperous older sister – who is an active alcoholic and her husband who seemingly control all of the nieces and nephews with money and a place to stay. They are in a central place in a University town that all of our family has attended. I live in California. Here is my dilemma- I am OBSESSED with getting them to LOVE me…..as crazy as that sounds…………and I cannot reconcile 50 years of cruelty from them — and why in the world I would continue to return to these destructive relationships time and time again. I am in my mid 50’s now and it is time to call UNCLE and pull the plug- drop the rock and just finally walk away. I am detached from them – and I hope it is forever. I am not wanted- loved or even cared about…….and as much as that hurts from “family” — I am starting from scratch……….so this is a very poignant blog for me today. I almost killed myself over this – and today…………I am alive and walking down a different road. Thank you

    • Barb, thanks so much for sharing, and I definitely get what you’re saying. One of the messages that I say often is that “some people need to be loved from a distance.” When people are truly toxic, you are only serving to slowly kill yourself by fighting to keep them in your life. Unfortunately, they are incapable of giving you the love and acceptance that you deserve. When I had to deal with a particularly toxic person in my life, I finally cut the cord and accepted that I would have to give myself the apologies that she should have given to me. Strangely enough, that thought gave me a lot of peace, and more importantly, it gave me my power back. Best of luck to you Barb, and like I said earlier, love them from a distance.

    • Thank you for re-posting this, it is so important. I also was in my 40’s before I ‘got it’ that I no longer needed (or wanted) to participate in relationships in which I felt merely tolerated (my brothers); their apathy finally became more than I could bear. In stepping away, I had sadness and it took a while to get used to not trying and participating and being up for yet another family holiday gathering – but I also felt this huge freedom and my self-esteem grew and grew. I wish them the best and I will be there if they need me but otherwise I am free and happy with only people who care genuinely in my life.

  4. Great thanks, Shola! Your lessons are very important for me and I really enjoy improving them into my own life. A few weeks ago I lost my mobile phone… contacts, messages and photos… and that was so beautiful gift of freedom! I had nearly 200 contacts. Now I have a new one with 7 contacts and I really don’t need more. I just realize that two hundreds of people simply don’t want to stay with me on the life road. And , to be honest, I don’t need them, too!
    So, my experience is in agreement with your words:)

    • Olenka, that is a gift! You actually inspired me to do the same (no, not lose my phone, just delete many of never-used contacts :)). It all about giving your best to the relationships that deeply matter to you. Well done!

  5. Shola I could not agree more with this post. I was well into my 40’s before I grasped this. To be perfectly honest, I did not have a breakthrough of understanding. Actually, I was emotionally exhausted. Exhausted with trying to be wanted at my job, by a bunch of asshole fake friends, by mean-spirited family members. Out of sheer exhaustion, and to save my sanity, I just let it all go. I thought after I did that, I’d feel terrible and defeated. Quite the opposite happened. I felt the “weight of the world” lift off my shoulders. I feel great! It’s been over ten years since I gave up wasting my time, energy, and life on people who just don’t “get it”. (or get me). And just as you say, once I let go of all that, there was so much room left for those who do celebrate me, who want me, and who make sure I know it. Shola, you really need to figure out how to send your posts back in time, to my younger self, so I can make up all those wasted years =)

    • Donna, that is the power of letting it all go! It does feel like the weight of the world is lifted off of your shoulders when you release the negativity of being around people who don’t want you and will never celebrate you. Props to you for figuring it out when you did! Trust me, many people go to their graves never even sniffing the lessons that you’ve already figured out. And if I’m ever able to figure out the time travel stuff, I’ll have to stop by my college dorm room to deliver this blog post to my 21 year old self first and then I’ll head over to your place, ok? 🙂

  6. Excellent post, Shola. I agree 100%! It took me a long time to learn and appreciate this rule. For years, I would long to be included in a particular group, and would beat myself up that I never fit in. Years… sadly, the group is my own family. The good news is I have moved on. I can love my family from afar, but because of the way they make me feel (unwelcome) I choose not to try to fit in any more.

    I am so glad your message is here to bless us all, every Monday. Thank you for the hard work and passion. You are very, very welcome in my life!


    • Thanks Kathy! And good for you for moving on. Walking away from family members is one of the hardest things in the world to do, but if being around them is causing you more harm than good, then it’s really the only choice that’s left. You have always been a model of inner strength to me, and this is another one of your countless examples. When you are wanted and welcome, the days of needing to fit are over–that is the #1 reason why I only go where I’m wanted. The game of trying to fit in and be accepted is too damn exhausting for this old man :).

      Needless to say, you are always welcome and wanted here, my friend–never forget it!

  7. I feel like this was written just for me. I recently had the realization that I wasn’t wanted in several places I had been frequenting and despite the realization, I kept up attempts to change that, to try and make myself more desirable as a friend, lover, and employee. This has hit me just where I needed to be hit to understand that I don’t need to go where I am not wanted because there are plenty of places where I am. Thank you for the honesty and positive kick in the arse that I needed!!

    • So true, Cara–there are plenty of places where you are wanted just the way you are. Once we start changing our personalities to become more wanted by others, that’s a key sign to raise the red flag of concern in a hurry. You are so welcome for the arse kick, and if you ever need another one (lovingly, of course), you know where to find me!

  8. Finally Getting a Clue says:

    This is a timely post for me as well. I’ve had “friendships” for 30 years or more in which I am ALWAYS the one who initiates contact. I always make the plans, and I always do the long distance driving to get together. I’ve finally decided I am sick of chasing after these relationships. True, I don’t have many friends and if I cut these off I will have even fewer, but at least maybe I’ll have some self-respect.

    • Amen to that! There is no real reason to have to chase after anyone, and truthfully, those “friends” who you’re cutting off aren’t really even your friends to begin with if you’re the one putting in all of the effort in the relationship. And you can’t lose what you never had, right? Congrats on finally getting that clue! 🙂

    • My son’s grandpa once said to me. If you have one true friend during your life, you’re doing all right.

  9. Shola – the most wonderful and impressive things that you do for us in your blogs, is not simply speaking on issues in a “generalized” terms, but you share your own personal experiences – without shame. You are a true inspiration, and a wonderful leader geared toward healing the “total” man/woman. Most people speak upon topics that may interest others, but they are either too ashamed, or fear ridicule, and thereby don’t share their own personal woes with their audiences. However, what they don’t realize is that – It is impossible to lead me, if you’ve never been where I’m going.
    Thanks for sharing your path to my journey Shola – you are truly one of a kind. Peace & Blessings!

    • Wow Renee, THANK YOU! That is such an amazing compliment and that truly means a lot to me. Yes, I honestly don’t have any shame whatsoever about sharing my struggles (now, if you asked me to do that 5 years ago, it would have been a very different story.) I’ve said it before, but I honestly believe that it’s our struggles that connect us. Some people may laugh at my mistakes or the numerous stupid things that I’ve done in my life that I openly share on this blog, and that’s cool with me–I’m not writing for them anyway. It’s for people like us who have been through struggles, heartbreaks, disappointments, and sadness…and have found a way to turn that pain into positivity. So far, so good because I somehow attracted fabulous people like you to this blog! Thanks again for the super kind words Renee, you just made my day 🙂

  10. Phuong Huynh says:

    Thanks so much, dear. 🙂

  11. My boyfriend broke up with me 6 months ago (and I’m still coping with that), 2 of my closest friends left for home (I’m in Asia), and I can’t leave because I’m still working on my citizenship (long story). In other words, I’m very stuck and very broken. I finally started dating a new guy and it’s starting to become clear that I’m initiating most of the time. Today, I told myself to stop chasing. Anyone. This article came just in time.

    Still, these are concepts I understand LOGICALLY but for some reason I can’t seem to apply in real life.

    I feel very very lost and very very stuck right now. I would greatly appreciate any tips and suggestions. Thank you.

    • Jenny, that’s a tough situation to be in, and I feel you. The good news is that since you logically understand what to do, that already puts you ahead of the game, big time. Most importantly, remember this–the minute that you become aware of a habit, it ceases to be a habit, and it becomes something else…a choice. My plea to you is consciously choose more for yourself. Next time you see yourself giving all of your effort, time, and love to someone who is not willing to do the same–say to yourself, “I choose more than this.” Or better yet, “I deserve more than this.” Words influence behavior, and once you’ve said those words, then you need to take action and start acting like it. You deserve so much more than what you’re getting, and make today the day that you start believing that fact. Good luck Jenny, I’m rooting for you!

  12. I really like this, Shola. This has a great deal of meaning for me from a personal standpoint. My ex wife never appreciated me nor did she care all that much about what mattered most to me. It was a hard journey with her and ultimately one of the things that broke us up.

    In contrast, the woman I am with now is the polar opposite. She is my biggest supporter and is behind me 100%. When she saw how important my blog was to me, she jumped right in and started learning as much as she could about the online world.

    I don’t chase her or beg her to support me, she just does. It’s an amazing feeling for sure!

    • Right on, Steve! Isn’t that such a huge difference? That’s why I tell people to stop chasing people, because while you’re chasing someone who isn’t into you, you could be missing out on someone who truly is into you 100%. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on finding the type of relationship that all of us deserve to have!

  13. Great blog Shola and so applicable to my current professional situation. I just need to get past my fears and take positive action to get back on the path to a positive, healthy place. In pursuit of professional happiness.

    • Go for it, Gloria! It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal situation or a professional situation, it is too soul-destroying to stay in a situation where you are not wanted or appreciated. Props to you for getting back on the path toward being in a positive and healthy place!

  14. HAHA… that’s hilarious yet really sad at the same time. I was that way when I was younger. You can feel the difference inside when you’re around accepting people or people you are trying to impress and want to hangout with. Now that I’m 50… I don’t really care what people think. I’m not intimidated by the people that are high up in a company. Maybe it’s from reading all the positive thinking, meditations, visualization practices I’ve been doing these past years. I’ve grown out of being needy. If only I knew this when I was 15. 😀

  15. grace malapane says:

    hi shola
    i thank you for opening my eyes , i was blind now i can see. friends used to use me alot .

  16. Thanks, I really needed this today. “What you allow is what will continue” really struck home. It kind of goes hand in hand with the old saying, “One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.” I need to make changes in my life, but I think that if I change my attitude about things, I’ll be able to change the things discontinue the negative things that I have been allowing for so many years.

  17. Kristen Quinn says:

    Wow.. such a powerful entry and thought I posted to it, when I read it the first time! The hardest lesson for me yet! Maintaining a mentality to go where I am wanted.. even though I am in a position that I cannot escape yet.. with my job. I cannot go where I am wanted; until that new doorway to opportunity opens for me! For now.. I am trying hard to be where I am needed, in my current predicament.. with my case load that is. They need me and I need them. Social work is my passion, it is who I am. So be it that I have coworkers that will forever dis-like who I am now.. so be it. Easier said than done.. the nicer I am, the more snooty they are.. their problem, not mine. I have learned a WHOLE lot about who I am over this past year. For now, I am needed by my clients.. that makes my heart and soul feel so very blessed. I like what one inspiring woman told me.. from the hours I am in my office, it is like being in ‘jail’ except I am getting paid for it! Good advice.. when I leave to go out in the ‘field’ for meetings, visits.. etc.. I feel like a bird being set free from putting on that ‘happy smile and attitude’ even though I hurt inside by their coldness towards me. When I leave my ‘cage’ I truly have a blast out and about; being with those unconditionally loving clients of mine! So spot on for me! As long as you allow it.. It will continue! YEP.. me.. in my head I think they are mean.. but I know a lot of it is my perception. I know that.. but being bullied most of my life.. deep rooted pain is there and will always be there.. If I ALLOW it! So, working on that one, Hard! I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself! YEP! Spot on again.. my daily affirmation! I am my own hero.. got that one! I do succeed for me.. for ME! Leaving the world better than it was? When I see successes in my clientele and they thrive.. worth all of the ‘garbage’ I have in my head about my EDP’s or what they out-rightly do towards me to try and bring me down! So worth it!

  18. Thank you so much for this post. I guess my challenge is that I feel that my husband and I are not wanted in a religious organization, but I am going to support him. He has a good friend there and despite his friend’s failure to come through on many occasions, my husband holds his friendship dear. I truly believe the quote you shared earlier, Go where you’re celebrated. I have left many of these same types of places over the years, but now, 3 or 4 of them down the road, I am learning that because I love my husband and I marriage, I have to endure not being wanted in some situations. I actually found this article by searching “how to survive not being wanted in a place.” I’d rather be elsewhere, and I am learning that just because I attend or support my husband doesn’t mean I have to maintain an expectation that the people or place will want us. I choose to live! I choose to thrive! So, while I support my husband, I’m learning that my going is one of the ways I show I love him. BUT it is essential I have my own place and support system for encouragement and growth. Again, thank you. It’s not always as simple as walk away, especially if someone you love is committed. He has walked away from several at my request, but now, it’s my turn to support him. As I lower my expectations or learn to relinquish expectation, it has become easier.

  19. Dear Shola

    They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear – and you did! Your post reassures me that it’s ok to let go of relationships that are unhealthy and to rest in the faith that my true community is out there ready to fill the space. With love and thanks.

  20. Josephine Ludwig says:

    HI —
    This is so important.
    Where can I read more about how to make this change in my own life?
    Much Thanks
    Josephine Ludwig

  21. Hi
    I have only just logged onto your site…. I am a 55 year old woman with great husband and daughters…. just before my mum passed she said she worried about my need to be liked by everyone…. she was right… I have lots of friends however like you said… I get bogged down by the 2% who are negative and talk about people…. I have recently given up work due to chronic health issues and self esteem has taken a nose dive and have found that I take to heart negative people etc on facebook… so have decided to step away…. I agree totally that you should only be where you are wanted however find dwell and get overly upset when someone turns away and try to understand …. I will try to take on board what you are saying and appreciate the support and honesty from you and group.. thank you.

  22. Ruchelle Hilton says:

    I left my job for this reason..it feels awesome🎉

  23. Sandile Lloyd Vilakazi says:

    Excellent post Shola, you read my mind. These overwhelming/humiliating lessons can be a lot to take in especially after you have moved on to greener pastures. I think if we would incorporate such positive initiatives and insightful information society and people in general would be happier. To Ruchelle Hilton above I’m doing the same soon, flying solo. Life is indeed too short to sell yourself short!!

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