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A Perspective on Rejection

Honour Yourself

“Fear of Rejection” – is the most alive and real emotion that I’ve come to understand. Like most people, I’ve spent most of my adult life running away from it. If a relationship (love, friendship or even family) failed, I threw myself a pity party, wept, listened to sad love songs, and convinced myself how I was just plain “unlucky” and that there must be something wrong with me. When I was angry at the situation, I focused on the other person’s faults and blamed them for failing the relationship (or friendship).

In my 30s I’ve come to realize how exhausting this exercise has been and how it’s prevented me from having meaningful relationships with friends, family, and love interests. There are two ways people deal with the fear of rejection:

  1. Bend over backwards: considerable time and effort is spent on having someone accept and like you. This tactic assumes that the more you put into a relationship, the fewer reasons someone has to push you away. In doing that, not only have you devalued your own self-worth, but you’ve also given someone else the license to treat you based on his/her convenience instead of how you deserve to be treated. You’ve just deferred “rejection” to a later time, instead of preventing it.
  2. Build a fort: put your guards up to prevent exposing your vulnerability. This tactic assumes if you keep pushing someone away, it won’t bring them close enough to hurt or reject you. In doing this, you’re preventing the other person from seeing your true self.

Then there’s me who alternates between the two tactics, albeit, my natural tendency is to cross oceans for those who won’t even jump puddles for me (BTW – this is an expectation management issue that requires a whole other blog post but it’s driven by the same fear of rejection ;)). Both tactics are aimed at achieving one unfounded need for self-actualization – Rejection Prevention.

This “fear of rejection” or “the need to prevent rejection” is unbeknownst to most of us because we are so consumed in applying strategies and tactics to prevent it that we fail to recognize we’ve been rejecting ourselves all along. It’s a pretty simple concept if we can wrap our head around it –

If I don’t accept me then why would anyone else? If I reject myself, why wouldn’t anyone else?

The first step to overcoming this fear of rejection is to acknowledge it and recognize why we do what we do for the people we are fond of. Sure, the underlying emotion is love and care. But when the same emotion isn’t being reciprocated or even acknowledged and we no longer feel good and happy doing all that we do for them, chances are, we’re trying to protect ourselves from rejection. If building up walls makes us sad instead of making us feel in control, chances are, we’re protecting ourselves from rejection.

Once you’ve recognized this, don’t criticize yourself; the fear of rejection is very normal, it humanizes you. Embrace it! Know that your heart is open enough to feel – JUST FEEL IT! You’ll soon see the beauty of your emotions – positive or negative, doesn’t matter. Embracing this fear of rejection gives you all the ammunition you need to then overcome it.

I’m still trying to crack the code for overcoming this fear (here’s a good start – Reframing Rejection)  but I’m happy I’ve identified certain patterns in my behaviour so I can alter my mindset. If someone rejects me or my friendship, quite frankly, it’s their prerogative (and their loss 😛 ). No amount of bending over backwards or holding my guard up is going to prevent that – if anything, it’s going to make it easier for them to reject me. At the end of the day we need to honour ourselves first and being fearful of something that we don’t have any control over anyways is, well, futile. Time is fleeting so be kind to yourself, love yourself and most importantly, don’t reject yourself.

P.S. It’s taken several conversations with some amazing people in my life who love and accept me with all my flaws to understand this perspective. Sometimes the most innocent of conversations help you understand yourself better. Don’t feel afraid to open your heart up to those close to you. 

Keeping Calm in an Unsafe World

QuoteNo matter your age, race, religion, nationality, gender, sexuality, skin colour, language – when it comes to the indiscriminate killing of children, even the coldest of hearts weep. It seems like the entire world is shocked and enraged about the killings in Peshawar. It’s appalling! Disgraceful! Makes me sick to the stomach even trying to imagine what the parents of these children are going through. The trauma that the little souls who have survived is unimaginable. But what of it? My Twitter and Facebook feeds were filled with condemnation of these barbaric and inhumane acts. Social media is a great platform to generate awareness, share your feelings/opinions and unite (albeit, virtually) against such atrocities. But again, what of it? I’ve struggled all day. I was so enraged that simply venting my frustration and vocalizing my rage just wasn’t going to cut it.

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Pause. Take a Break. It’s Okay!

pause and just be happy

It was two years and nine days ago that I wrote my last blog post. It has been an interesting, introspective, and enriching two years. You know the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” That’s exactly what I attempted to do. And I’m excited to share some of these inspirations with the hope that it inspires at least one of you beautiful souls to give yourselves a break 🙂 Each one of these inspirations has a story behind it and I’ll be sharing my journey in subsequent posts.

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32 Things I’ve Learned – Part 4 of 4

Life has snuck up on me again preventing me from paying attention to the quality of my mind. It is a constant struggle to wean ourselves off of the habits that we’ve cultivated. In any case, I’m here now reminiscing the next eight lessons I’ve learned during the two-month long hiatus.

  1. I’ve learned that women have superpowers: Four kids, a business partner, no dishwasher, a part-time business and no help – these are only some of the characteristics that describe a good friend of mine. How she manages it all without losing her sanity and with a smile is beyond me. She says she just takes life as it comes; fighting it doesn’t help but standing tall amid adversities does. That’s a superpower, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry

32 Things I’ve Learned – Part 3 of 4

Even though I haven’t written for the last two weeks, I’ve seen a flurry of activity on my website with new readers liking my posts and new followers subscribing to the blog. Thank you for all the support and kind words – it truly keeps me going :).

Two weeks after observing my mind and emotions, it became easier to feel inspired. The next eight days were marked with celebrations, rejoicing in others’ happiness, and a commitment to give back. So here’s the third edition of 32 Things I’ve Learned:

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32 Things I’ve Learned – Part 2 of 4

Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals For Changing The World
Source: Casper Odendaal, Author of Random Acts of Kindness

Continuing from the previous list of 32 things I’ve learned while being aware of my state of mind, here is the second instalment:

  1. I’ve learned that people are more than willing to lend a helping hand if you ask for it. Our ego prevents us from building trusting relationships with one another. But in reality, it is our mind’s ignorance that makes us believe that asking for help or advice belittles our capability. Read the rest of this entry

32 Things I’ve Learned – Part 1 of 4

It was 32 days ago that I wrote my last blog post. And not a single day went by that I didn’t think about updating my blog. Let’s just say I struggled terribly in practicing my last “Mindful Monday” resolution: Be Kind To Yourself. In my pursuit of mindful living, compassion and maintaining a kind heart, I realized I wasn’t paying attention to myself and my emotions.

So I took the past 32 days to let life get in the way and develop “inner strength” that Kate’s post on Mindful Living: Inner Strength motivated me to develop.

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