Darling One– Let’s talk about rejection.
That awful burn. That corrosive oxidation of your spirit– that gnawing, eating away of your heart.
We all deal with rejection. We all fear putting ourselves out there, being vulnerable, sticking our necks out and risking hurt. Being shut down. Getting denied. Wading through the stickiness of being misunderstood.
What could be worse than being rejected by someone– whether that someone is a lover, friend, boss, coworker, or stranger? What could sting more and cut deeper than the stone cold refusal we sometimes get, when what we really wanted and hoped for was gentle acceptance?
Well… The only thing worse than being rejected by someone is being rejected by yourself.
Denying certain aspects of yourself, criticizing yourself, and refusing to accept the complete package of Who You Are inflicts way more damage on you than anyone else ever could.
Think for a moment, dear Starlit One, about all the ways you reject yourself–
the physical attributes you complain about and wish you could change,
the annoying habits you have,
those old patterns you can’t seem to change,
or the way that everyone else seems to have their lives all put together and figured out– shiny and successful– when you’re still floundering around in an ocean of confusion and stuck-ness.
The way you compare yourself to others but always come up short: ‘Not good enough’. ‘Never good enough’. ‘Bad’. ‘Wrong’. ‘Dismissed’.
Of course this won’t feel good, but take some time and really think about all of the ways that you reject and say ‘No’ to yourself on a regular, nearly automatic basis.
Feel into this process. Gently. Softly. Filled with curiosity. Let your mind become aware– slowly but surely– of the full extent of your self-rejection. Let it dawn on you how easy, natural, and almost expected it is to deny your Self. (Then hold yourself in a firm but loving hug, because all of that self-rejection burns! Rock yourself. Cradle yourself. Sit with yourself. Be with yourself in a quiet, honoring way.)
Even this is only skimming the surface, though.
The real rejection– the deep rejection– the slippery, insidious, non-sensical rejection is another beast altogether. This brand of self-rejection is hidden in plain sight. All of us reject ourselves in ways that we can’t even necessarily name or see! This sort of self-rejection wouldn’t make sense if you articulated it to someone else (or to yourself), and we can’t acknowledge the damage we’re inflicting on ourselves– or do anything to change it– if we don’t even recognize rejection for what it is.
Let’s play a game, shall we? Pretend that we are talking, you and I. I’d like to get to know you, so tell me…
- Where are you from?
- Who are your parents?
- What’s your family like?
- Tell me about growing up– how did you enjoy school? What subjects were you good at? Who was your first crush?
- When were you proud of yourself as a kid? As an adult? What happened?
- When were you embarrassed or ashamed of yourself as a kid? As an adult? What happened?
- Where do you work now?
- Where do you live now? Tell me about your city and your home.
- Are you seeing anyone? In a relationship? Tell me about that.
- Name one of your goals or dreams. How are you working towards that? When do you think you’ll reach your target? When might your dream come true?
Do you see it now? Can you feel how some of these questions– however banal or benign they might be– trigger something deep and uncomfortable inside of you?
The answers to any of these questions might not seem obviously shameful to anyone– for example, ‘I’m from Alberta’ can be a neutral response for some people and a highly charged issue for others. But whenever you notice yourself apologizing, explaining yourself, justifying, or building a strong case for or against something… you might easily be bumping up against your own self-rejection.
If you’re anticipating someone else’s reactions or finding yourself cringing about admitting to some truth… then it’s very likely that you’ve uncovered something about or within you that needs to be re-claimed, accepted, and integrated back.
I wish I had all of the answers to rejection.
I’d love to offer you quick fixes and ‘simple tips’ to help you put an end to self-rejection forever.
But I don’t believe that rejection is something we can instantly ‘snap out of’ or permanently overcome, no matter how hard we try and no matter how aware, advanced, or self-reflective we are.
Rejection is a part of being human– an uncomfortable but unavoidable reality.
So how can we at least soften the blows or soothe the sting of rejection? It starts by noticing. By being curious and open. By paying attention to ourselves and genuinely wondering about those parts of us that shrink back reflexively– those parts of us that burn, hide, or try to blend in. We might never be free of rejection entirely, but we also don’t need to be ruined by it, either. If we can start by doling out less rejection to ourselves, then we’re well on our way to healing.
If you’re tired of saccharine lists and tips to make your life perfect in only 7 easy steps, then you’re in the right place. I want to keep it real here, and I get even more raw in my newsletters, which I send out every 2 weeks (or so). Join the discussion and connect with me by entering your name and e-mail address below. Thank you for being here, and I look forward to going deep with you. xx