Inspiration This Week: Rejection

If I could pick one thing that I see most stops people from taking risks, making a move, being vulnerable, taking that next leap in their life...it would be the fear of rejection. Research shows that rejection is interpreted in the brain as physical pain, so no wonder why we try to avoid it! No one likes being rejected...whether it's a creative project they've just got denied approval, not being chosen for a job, left out of a friend group activity, or of course being told someone else does not feel the same about you romantically. 

I see two responses to rejection, or the possibility of it, and they sadden me. The first is avoidance altogether. People will go to great lengths to avoid rejection. And I get it...it's the fear of not being invited to the inner circle. And there is nothing more painful than that. But as Brene Brown says, and I'm paraphrasing, when we shield ourselves from pain and rejection, we are also blocking out great love and joy, because the only way to see both is with vulnerability. 

The other response, whether premature or in response to rejection, is to turn inward and say, "what is wrong with me." Deep breath...here's the answer...NOTHING. We tie wayyyy too much personal value into rejection and it can unleash a dangerous and deep self-deprecating spiral. So here are a few words and perspectives that can hopefully help you change your response to rejection and learn not to shield yourself from the great joys of life for fear of it.

Theme of The Week: Recovering from Rejection

Rejection is linked to belonging, and as social beings, we strive for belonging. In my opinion, Brene Brown's book Braving The Wilderness does an excellent job of doing a deep dive into this concept. We are longing for belonging, but we also must not confuse that with fitting in. Fitting in requires us to change who we are or something about ourselves in order to match the group mentality. Belonging is about finding a place where we can be free to be exactly who we are and be accepted and loved...and sometimes that place is just with ourselves. A lovely quote from Brene Brown states, "True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are."

So one way to face rejection without fear is to understand the facts. What are we being rejected from? Would acceptance into that group or situation require us to change something about ourselves? If so, then we are hustling for worthiness and trying to fit our square peg into a round hole. 

I like to think of it as a compatibility issue. If I am rejected from a job, a group, a person...it means that it wasn't the right match. And more importantly, there is a better match out there! If someone chose not to date me despite my feelings for them, it was because they noticed something incompatible about me. And that's okay...that does not take away from me. It just means we don't quite match up right, and I'd rather know that now than try to spend my energy trying to fit wrong puzzle pieces together.

Facing rejection is also about turning inward and being kind to yourself. No more "what is wrong with you" because I just explained, it's a compatibility issue, not a you issue. Rejection has absolutely no reflection on your value as a person. Say that again, and to yourself over and over again until it sticks. Another Brene Brown quote coming your way: "Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is." You are worthy no matter who you are with, where you are, or what you've accomplished. You are worthy simply because you are a living breathing human being. 

Challenge This Week: Know Your Worth

I want you to write down a list of your best attributes, skills, features, and values as a person. I want you to think of at least 5, but I hope the list is ongoing. Then go ahead and frame it, save it as your phone screensaver, post it to your bathroom wall. Be able to recognize your value now and know that those things like "I'm humorous, I'm a great cook, I am loyal, etc" are things that no one can ever take away from you. So don't let them. And the next time you decide to stop avoiding and take that leap of faith, have that growing list ready, and if you find that you've come face to face with rejection, rehearse that to yourself. Before your demons of shame and self-doubt and insecurity start pouring in. Get ahead of the game. You are human and that means we are flawed, but you are always worthy.

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