Monday, 25 January 2016

Rejection .. let's talk about it

Image courtesy of Flickr
There doesn't seem to be much talk about this subject in the self-help or spiritual communities. Perhaps because (a) People are told to 'man up' and get over their fears, by others who have not been through the same thing or (b) Rejected people go into victim mode and don't do anything to improve their lives.

Neither outlook is helpful, but rejection is not a subject that should be ignored. Some people are badly affected by rejection, and it's not something that you can just get over. To an extent, the fear of rejection affects most people, but in some cases, it can be completely paralysing and prevent people from living a fulfilling and successful life.

It is essential to be accepted by your peers and loved by your family during childhood. To be rejected in childhood is emotionally devastating, and I don't think you realise just how much until you get a fair bit older. For those who don't know, I was very, shall we say 'different' as a child, and something of an outsider. I hardly spoke to anyone, and was not very popular. Subconscious beliefs that I was unlovable and a reject formed in my mind, and left me with a fear of rejection which has dogged me most of my life.

An obvious example of this fear is in a romantic relationship context - rejection in romance became absolutely devastating to my ego, so much so that I would not tell someone how I felt. But fear of rejection is seldom limited to one area of life. The prospect of being rejected by a book publisher, for example, might be hard for me to deal with.

If you've ever dealt with a really deep, paralysing fear of being rejected - I mean a fair bit worse than the average person - you'll know it's not easy to shift it. As much as you might want to overcome it, the subconscious fears lurk in the background and prevent you from taking action.

It's not worth trying too hard to man up and get over your fears, and sometimes it's better not to open yourself up too much, because if things don't go how you want, it can mean even more hurt which can take a while to deal with. Slow steps are best, in my book.
Instead of trying to change how you feel, or deny how you feel, allow yourself to experience the thoughts of rejection, without judgement, such as:
- No-one loves me, I will always be rejected, I am not good enough, What's the point in trying.

This is the ego speaking. Having these thoughts does not make you a failure. Resisting the thoughts, being overcome by negative emotions and fighting your fears will mess things up. Even experiencing and 'ranting out' the intense emotions you may feel can be a good thing, as long as you allow them to happen without judging them, as best you can.

If our only goal is to change how we feel, that is a road to failure. As the excellent Jeff Foster puts it 'Your emotions are not here to be healed, they're here to be held' - meaning that we should treat as friends, those thoughts and feelings that we perceive to be negative.

Pretending that 'rejection is not real' does not work either. The pain lodged in your subconscious is very real, and to deny it only gives it more fuel.

Of course, being rejected by others can lead you to have low self esteem. Whilst it can be slightly uncomfortable to look at ourselves rather than blame others, it's important to start with yourself. If you don't like or accept yourself, you will want other people to fill the void within you, but this actually pushes people away.

Before looking to fall in love with another person, do your best to love and accept yourself, even the parts of you that are difficult to accept. This is the starting point.

There is more I could say on this subject but I'll leave it at this for now.
Until later ...

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