On rejection

I usually look at this card as a very bright and optimistic one. Of birthing new ideas, welcoming new dawns. Of tending to the inner child. Of returning to a place of innocence and trust in how I operate.

But today, the same card brought up rejection as experienced by an innocent child. And I am always so fascinated by how the same cards provide differing anchor points, a story-board of sorts, depending on where I am, what I am experiencing or how I am feeling. The cards have become a powerful way to engage with whatever I am experiencing, in a visual way.

Since a large part of my recent work has been to do with autonomy and power, it has been really interesting to observe and witness how this is playing out in various relationships. One of the strangely-timed recent events has been reconnecting with an aunt of mine after a decade-long period of estrangement. She is one of my absolute favourite aunts from when I was growing up, and a true kindred spirit in many ways. As a child, she was my everything. I emulated her, imitated her, strived to be like her and in the process, aligned myself with her completely, probably in mind and heart too. With that background in mind, reconnecting with her, after this long gap, and at such a significant juncture in my life as I am navigating reconnections as a new me, has been super interesting to say the least.

As with any process of individuating, in peeling away and separating myself from many of the ways of being — that I might have cleaved to from blind loyalty, kindness, politeness, wanting acceptance and validation — and finding my feet in my own power, I have seen some really stark differences in the way we have connected this time around.

It’s different. And I feel the difference the most in that I may be that same doting niece, but I feel far less vulnerable and gullible in wanting approval. I am the same doting niece and I have felt an incredible amount of love and respect since reconnecting, but I also feel so grown up in how I no longer desperately want to be just like her at any costs. And yet, there have been a couple of instances, particularly in the face of a heavy projection of opinions, when I have chosen either 1) complete silence, 2) over-explanation of my stance on said thing — both typical tell-tale signs for when I am seeking approval, or avoiding rejection.

This morning, it came up in a big way for me — this dance of avoidance of rejection. It instantly took me back to specific times in my childhood when I have behaved in much the same way, and when I struggled to quickly try and formulate an opinion of my own that would be acceptable. That would make me continue to be worthy of approval and love. I know now, that this has been the unsaid, unconscious code for our relationship.

And it got me to thinking about what love does. Love can be the wellspring of nurturance and care. But for children, it can also sometimes be the channel for heavy projections and oppressive helpings of adult hopes and desires for what they want of and for their children. Every part of this happens unconsciously, and completely devoid of malice or ill-intention. And yet, this very lofty placing of the best hopes and dreams on to a child — it does so much.

It dictates to a child what is required of them in order to belong.

And it lays down early experiences and memories — sometimes violent ones — of rejection.

Today, as I sat with that flitter of a hint of rejection at having an opposing view — my own (seemingly questionable?) view — I had a rush of memories and visuals of that old self, that child I once was. Who has experienced this rejection in full force at times. And I realised this is such a primal human emotion, an evolutionary building block, as it were. For if we didn’t experience rejection, we wouldn’t learn the codes of how to belong and stick together which was so crucial for our survival.

Literally every one of us knows this rejection. It is the very basis of what keeps families together. A watertight unwritten, but experienced, knowing of what is right and wrong. What is acceptable and what is not. What is good and what is bad. What is allowed and what isn’t. And if we were to dial any of those experiences and really feel in to them, at the very core it is usually a rejection of the very essence of who we are, through the eyes of a member who really needed us to be a different way.

So we comply. In order to avoid rejection. And when we comply, it is often at the cost of dishonouring our own instincts and inner needs. Oddly enough, it is at the cost of rejecting, or sacrificing, ourselves.

Today, when I touched that old place of rejection, it wasn’t long before I realised where in my present I am rejecting a part of myself. But that is the stuff of an entirely different post, for when I have processed this some.

It’s an old and heavy wound for most of us, this one. Not one we can shrug off easily. It cam come up again and again, even when we have touched the place and healed some parts of it many times before. And so, of course I shuffled my deck of cards and pulled The Sun, which immediately took on a new meaning this morning.

It so happened that I had a therapy session today, and even though I have had a world of things to talk about since our last session, pulling a few cards this morning gave me immediate clarity on the one thing I wanted to bring up and dive right into. That old wound of rejection.

One year ago: On crying
Two years ago: Tell me what you really like

One thought on “On rejection

  1. Pingback: The body keeps the score – haathi time

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