A few months back when I began to come to terms with the fallout with my father after my wedding, someone told me that raking over and reliving a rejection again and again is like repeatedly going back to look at your own vomit. Yuck! – this is exactly what Miss Nia my three-year old would say, probably while cutting her eyes or putting her hands on her hips. The crude image stuck with me and when I felt wounded, that image popping into my mind helped bring me back to base and to remind me to say something kinder to me or to ‘object’ with something realistic.
Yesterday while writing about why we feel so wounded by rejection, I came up with the most common that I come across which included stuff like:
- Because you felt very deeply for this person and it wasn’t reciprocated or appreciated.
- Because you put up with what you would normally regard as unacceptable behaviour and it still didn’t get you the relationship you wanted.
- Because you feel that you were very much yourself with this person and that it wasn’t ‘acceptable’.
- Because you weren’t yourself with this person and it still wasn’t “good enough”.
- Because you changed to be what you think this person wanted or needed you to be and that still wasn’t good enough.
- Because you silenced your needs, expectations, and wishes, even when your soul ached and you felt like you were being suffocated and you still didn’t get the love and the relationship you wanted.
- Because you knew that this person wasn’t a healthy choice in relationship partner and you in fact knew that you were compromising your values and this person wasn’t even worthy of your time and yet… they’re treating you like you’re not worthy of their time.
- Because it feels like this person gave a better relationship in the past to someone else or that they’re now being the person or giving the relationship that you wanted to someone new.
- Because you’re convinced that you did something to ‘make’ them behave a certain way or for the relationship that you thought was on offer to be retracted and that you’ve not been given enough of a chance to make amends.
- Because you’re hurt and disappointed and you associate and equate these feelings to rejection.
- Because you don’t like and love you (self-rejection) so if they don’t, it’s a double-whammy.
As I stared at the full list of twenty, something struck me: none of these reasons are fundamentally about you, as in, I get it about being hurt and disappointed, but they’re not rejection of you.
If you feeling rejected is about the other person’s behaviour / feelings which belong to them, they’re not rejecting you.
If you feeling rejected is about this person not being or doing what you expected, wanted, or needed in spite of you engaging in people pleasing behaviour, they’re still not rejecting you because you weren’t being you anyway. How can somebody reject who you are and were, if you weren’t being this anyway? It’s like being angry at someone for not accepting a misrepresentation of you.
If you feeling rejected is about you deciding that this person has the power to determine your worth or giving away power to get them to love you or because you don’t want to basically own your own and step up, they’re still not rejecting you. You’re giving this person the power and it is you who has decided that the meaning of whatever they’ve been and done is a negative indicator of your worth, but self-worth like self-esteem has the word ‘self’ in it for a reason – because it comes from you so you actually have a choice about how you choose to value you and you don’t have to give people power that they don’t have a right to. Have you noticed that you can’t go around telling people what their worth is? And that’s not because of your own worth; it’s because it’s not your place and you don’t have that power and neither does this person who you’ve granted this level of authority to.
If you feeling rejected is based on a foundation of false beliefs, they’re still not rejecting you because if you were being more realistic and truthful, that rejection would change, shrink, and possibly even disappear. Even what you might feel is a ‘small’ element of distortion can cause rejection to hang around for a long time. If there’s high self-blame, you’re not being truthful. Fact. If you were, you’d own your own and let them own theirs.
The impact of rejection is wholly and solely driven by what happens between the event or a person’s behaviour / what they say and your interpretation and any judgment(s) that you make about you.
What makes rejection take on a life of its own is feeding it with our judgment of ourselves. We could kill a rejection stone cold if only we’d pour some reality and self-compassion on it.
Give yourself a gift this year and stop judging you and start judging the situation – they are not one and the same thing. You and whoever they are, are also two separate entities – love is not a merger or even loss of identities.
Observe the situation, observe another person’s behaviour, observe how you feel, what you think and what you do without judgment.
Ease up on you. Love you. Take care of you.