Have you always known that you were not really wanted? Or, did you feel that you were not CHOSEN? That you were a mistake of some kind, wrong in some way, or just not of much importance to those around you?
Maybe you felt that you were a disappointment; that you didn’t come quite up to scratch or make the grade?
How do you know you’ve been rejected? Does it make a difference as to how invested you are in the outcome or is there no difference?
What does rejection feel like? An annihilation of being? A threat to your very survival? A denial of your intrinsic value?
That is how it used to feel to me. It was an awful feeling; I felt like I “disappeared”, I was a non-entity. I would do all I could to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.
“All I could”, included choosing a victim mentality, underachieving, avoiding awareness, allowing myself to be dominated by others’ preferences and not speaking up for myself.
It seemed safer to me that way. If that is what it took to not be rejected, annihilated, denied and threatened – it made total sense!
Until it didn’t. As a young adult of 19, I began to consciously heal the traumas attached to my childhood before the age of 8 – being adopted at birth, experiencing childhood sexual abuse, my father dying suddenly of a brain tumour when I was 7 years old and being threatened with terrorist attacks – I gradually recognised that I was not as dependent as I had decided I was. So, who was I, if I was not helpless? Who was I, if rejection did not actually kill me?
Have you had any of these life experiences? Or, something different? It doesn’t always have to be a deeply traumatic moment to create a fear of rejection. It could be anything from an off-the-cuff remark, a negative response from a busy person, or a clumsy refusal from a confused adolescent.
What if, by being refused by someone else,
you get to choose you?
The point is that it doesn’t have to be a definition of YOU as defined by the other person of not being worthy of their time or consideration – unless you have already decided that is the case, and they are confirming that to you through their rejection of you.
The most useful awareness I finally gleaned, was that for me to feel rejected, I first had had to have rejected myself. The decisions I had made as a very young child; that I was unwanted, not chosen, and a mistake; were incorrect as they were based on assumptions. My determination to hold on to and reinforce this interpretation through the actions I took (underachieving, victimising myself, not speaking up for myself) was actually a way to reject myself first. In denying my own intrinsic value I ensured that it was quite difficult for me to not be rejected, so determined was I to prove that I was!
This didn’t give me any space to say “no”, either. Hampered by my wounds of rejection, I really didn’t want to cause any one else any pain of rejection, so saying “no”, was extremely difficult. I felt weighed down by the responsibility of being so caring to everyone else’s pain and resentful that I didn’t seem to warrant the same level of care.
Holding on to my fear of rejection was seriously hampering my life, growth and self-expression. The cost was beginning to outweigh the initial reasons. If this is your experience, and you are wondering if it is even possible to change it, I can assure you that it is.
What if being rejected is a good or positive event? What if, by being refused by someone else, you get to choose you? What if, in being rejected, you get to see a different path that you had not been aware of until that point? What if not all rejection is bad?
Would you be willing to experiment?
I began to set myself outrageous goals: be rejected by publishers (easy). Be rejected by men (easy). Be rejected by my cat (tricky) . Be rejected for jobs. Be rejected for marriage proposals. I began to have fun with it. I began to apply for jobs I had no attachment to and talk to people I wouldn’t usually speak with. I began looking for ways in which to introduce my topic for rejection, as I had a target to reach. I began to see that rejection had absolutely nothing to do with me. I began to be more honest and open in my speech and my writing. I began to see that whatever anyone said to me, my view of myself was stable. I didn’t have to try and change their mind or change myself. They had their opinion and I was just having fun.
So, if you are rejected on this Valentine’s Day, or any day, I wonder if you could see it in a different context. I wonder if it could be an opening to a different direction. Or, what if that person, job, are just not “yours” to have? Imagine if you had no reference points for WHY you should be rejected? What if you had amnesia? When you became aware that you knew nothing of your former life would you still choose the people in it? Would you still choose the clothes in your wardrobe? Imagine seeing everything with eyes that had no emotional attachment to what once had been? Imagine if your past life was like a museum display or a film; something that may have resonance of some kind, but you were free to get up and leave at any time.
If you are willing to lose the comfortably painful identity of being rejected, being passed over, being unchosen, then you are in a position of being able to choose what you really want. You are not your past. You are not your future. You are free to choose something different for yourself at any time.
What would you like?
Marina McQueen ~ Holistic Mental Health Mentor. She has worked in many settings, including education. Marina is passionate about supporting people and helping them to reach their fullest wellbeing potential. You can contact Marina via email here