Two roads diverged… so I stopped lying.
Two roads diverged in a wood… and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.Robert Frost
I have a confession to make. Though I do not consider myself an easily intimidated person, I am – gulp – well, truth is, I am afraid of being rejected. There, I’ve said it. I’ve admitted that being rejected ranks up there among my biggest fears.
And this is a problem. You see, if I base my interactions with people upon whether or not I will be rejected… then I am not being honest. I am not being my truest self. I am being who I think they will accept. I am molding myself around what I think they would want me to be, say, act, believe… and this makes me a LIAR.
And who wants to be a liar? or with a liar?
No, me neither.
I understand that I came to the mindset early on in my life that my job was to make sure the people around me were pleased with me, that I didn’t rock the boat or start a line of questioning that would upset the apple cart. And so, I learned that to be loved and to be perceived as lovable, I had to be someone other than myself. I had to act however was necessary for those around me to feel comfortable, satisfied, in control.
So I lied.
Authenticity is when you say and do the things you actually believe.Simon Sinek
Fast forward a few decades… and I am learning about who I am and am not, and daring to be brave, set boundaries, and be true to myself. Even when this truth is uncomfortable or upsetting to those around me.
And it hasn’t been an easy path to take. Why? Well, if you’ve ever been rejected – and we all have – you know that rejection hurts.
Rejection is more than skin deep. It activates the same areas of our brain as physical pain. To be rejected is to feel physical pain. Rejection causes emotional pain too: hurts our self-esteem, causes anger or sadness, and knocks us off course from feeling stability in our lives.
When rejected, we have choices. At least two, maybe more. But we have choices. We do not have to retreat into ourselves or pull back from the group. We can stay, continue to stand our ground, hold our opinion. We can choose to continue to post on social media, converse with others, believe in ourselves.
Or we can believe that being rejected means there’s something wrong with us. That we have to change. And while it may be the case that our behavior needs changing, those who lovingly correct us, bring us to our knees, are going to stick around and gently encourage us to our feet. They’ll hold space for us while we ponder. They’ll be open to conversation with us while we question. They’ll cheer for us while we process feelings and emotions and come through on the other side of transformation. They will be our biggest fans. Throughout this whole choosing the road-less-traveled of authenticity, they will be the ones whispering, shouting, reminding us, “You are perfect! You are divine! You are light and love and everything wonderful! Wake the frick up and remember who you are!”
Rejection isn’t failure. Failure is giving up. Everyone gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.Richard Castle
There’s a tiny voice inside my head that says, “hey, you better not post on social media or share your story or be seen… because what if they don’t like you? what if you get a thumbs down or a mean comment or just plain ignored? what if you get rejected?” I know now that it’s trying to protect me from getting hurt. And I appreciate that. But I don’t need protection in that way anymore. There was a time when not being seen kept me safe… but I don’t live in that space anymore. It is safe for me to come out and play. 🙂
Rejection is redirection.Phil Good
And when I do “get rejected,” I can choose to embrace this message as one of redirection. I am still the same worthy and lovable soul, but there’s opportunity upon me to head in a little different direction. Take yet another road-less-traveled. With an open heart and open mind, I can choose to stand, to look up, be curious, and remain compassionate towards all of us on the journey. I can allow the fear of rejection to be there until its time to dissolve. It’s a former protector turned messenger. I can choose to keep on the experience of remembering who I am and always have been, to keep on loving myself, to keep on loving others, and to keep on remaining amazed at this gift of life.
Authenticity is about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.Brene Brown
I love you. Welcome home.
Be fearlessly authentic. Bravely be you.
How about you? Can you recall a time when you felt rejected? How did you react? What were your thoughts? How would you do things differently now?
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