To Reject or Not to Reject

Rejection is never easy. I spend a lot of time thinking about rejection. Focusing on past rejections and trying to figure out what I did wrong. Sometimes I may have done something wrong, and there are times when it was just the wrong time or place.

I spent a lot of my childhood rejected by people I was trying to please and love. It taught me a skill that I am not very sure of in terms of usefulness. It taught me how to preemptively reject myself.

Rejecting myself is a weird skill to have. To start with, I assume, based on past experiences, that you are going to reject me. I, therefore, protect myself by acting as though I have already been rejected. An example, I went to a family member’s funeral. I talked to people, and when it was over, I went home. I felt lost and hurt. I missed this family member, and connecting more with people after the funeral would have helped with that. In the past, I experienced some rejection by some of my extended family and assumed that it would happen again. To avoid that, I left.

What I missed was an opportunity to get to know some people I truly wanted to see again. This type of thing has happened at other times in my life. Is it healthy? Not really. Am I aware that I am doing it? Sometimes. These are fall back reactions that I have had for a very long time. It covers the gamut of things from sharing that I am going through a hard time to happy experiences.

Being aware of it and that I am doing it helps me to understand myself better. There are always things that show up in my life as habits or actions that confuse me. Why am I doing these things if they are sabotaging my well being? I only know that I am finding them slowly and making moves to self-correct or understand.

Once I see that this is a behavior I am exhibiting, I usually fall into shame. How can I be a nice rational person if this is how I act? How can anyone like me or take me seriously? As I said, a shame spiral. Seeing and understanding myself as a person who is trying to heal from pervasive childhood trauma helps. It gives me a chance to see things as coping skills that I no longer need and to learn and replace them with new skills.

I am trying to replace the default response of pre-rejecting myself with learning to trust. Trust myself and understand that what I think I need and what I am doing is okay. And to accept that not everyone is going to like me. Understanding and navigating the concept that I am not a hero in everyone’s story is sometimes hard, and that is okay. And that I am okay.

If something isn’t working out, there are reasons. I just may not understand them at that time. And to live a full life, I need to interact with the world and try to fix the things that are fixable and accept the things that are not, like whether someone likes me or not. I am learning to enjoy myself, and that is enough.

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