The Sting of Rejection


Not a great feeling, right? I mean, it’s pretty it much the WORST feeling.

Like when that guy stops texting you back.

Or that girl tells you you’re too short/old/poor or whatever for her.

Or when you aren’t selected to present your art at a show.

Or when you audition and don’t get the part.

Or when someone you really like breaks up with you.

Or when you get a bad review.

No matter how you slice it, rejection is intensely painful.

It’s so painful, in fact, that it keeps many people from ever even trying.

It keeps them from dating or starting their businesses, or auditioning for that role, or making videos of themselves talking about something they care about.

And people will try to convince you not to feel it...rejection, that is. They’ll try to help you reframe it. And usually it’s because they are seeing you in pain and they care and I get that...

But how well does that work (at least when the initial sting hits)?

Not sure about you guys, but trying to positively think my way out of the pain of rejection hasn’t worked so well for me.

It’s a bit like trying to kink a high powered water hose with only your pinky fingers.

You’ll just end up getting wet, so stop it.

The thing is this; it is absolutely ok to allow yourself to fully experience your emotional responses, and even your thoughts around rejection, no matter how much someone is trying to talk you out of them.

And you can do this without fully buying into the ideas and meanings your inner children and self-loathing teenage parts are making out of the situation.

Before you do anything else, I say, let them speak.

When you are being rejected or perceive rejection, do not shut the door on your “inner critic” and attempt instead to plow ahead, mercilessly affirming that it’s ok and you don’t care what “they” think and their approval doesn’t matter to you.

Because it does.

I mean, can we just stop pretending? It fucking does.

And if you can’t feel that reality within yourself, it’s quite likely that you’ve simply disconnected from it. And you’ve coped that way with rejection, but at what cost?

Shutting the door on those screaming little children in order to identify solely with the part of you who has tough skin and a fierce heart does no one any good.

I say, let them speak.

Let them cry.

Let them fully express all of the terrible things they are believing.

That they are bad, wrong, not good enough, too much, unworthy, fat or ugly, or as my inner “critic” likes to say about me...”nothing.”

Because it’s ok to have those thoughts and feelings.

Those aspects of your being are not actually trying to hurt you, believe it or not...they are actually trying like hell to help you remain relationally safe.

And can you really make a child wrong for wanting to stay safe?

If you’re anything like me, and the sting of rejection makes you literally want to hurl chunks and hide in a cave for the rest of your life...’ve probably experienced a lot of rejection in the past by the people in this world who were “supposed” to accept you the most unconditionally...most likely your parents or caregivers.

And when this happens, it is logical to form beliefs about “not enough.”

I really want you to hear that.

It is LOGICAL. It doesn’t mean it’s factual, but it is logical.

That belief is a sane one for a child to adopt when they are being rejected by the closest people to them.

Moreover, even if you had great parents, you may have been rejected in school or in other contexts throughout your life, and guess what? Humans are programmed to preserve social safety at all costs.

The fact of the matter is that this is biologically wired in us, because of the extent to which human beings need one another in order to preserve their survival (this is especially true if you’re a kid, and can’t even drive yourself to the supermarket to buy a loaf of bread, or pour water for yourself for that matter).

Many of us are getting more in touch with this reality now, in fact. The reality of just how dependent we are upon one another for our survival.

What if all of the stores shut down? What if everything we know that’s kept us comfortable were to collapse?

How much would we need each other then?

How safe would it be if we were isolated on an island of one during a time and space in which there were no ready-made resources available at our fingertips?

So what is the most self-preserving, self-loving thing to do when you risk being ostracized from the tribe and your root chakra is buzzing with unsafe feelings upon receiving that rejection?

Reject yourself too.

If you had parents who at least in part secretly—or not so secretly—hated you, I would be absolutely shocked if a large portion of your personality structure didn’t contain massive amounts of self-loathing, and/or self-destructive tendencies.

It makes perfect sense. Why?

Because if the people on whom you depend for your survival turn against you, to refuse to swallow their judgments and side with them by agreeing with their projections would be to risk your own safety and survival.

We have almost no choice in these circumstances but to turn against ourselves.

I have sat with these feelings many times, myself.

As a former cutter, bulimic, family scapegoat/identified patient, and self-destructive addict, I have met many many aspects of my consciousness who’s survival was ensured by holding the belief that I am in fact a piece of shit.

The thing to realize is this (and many of you have believed the opposite)...

Those pieces of me LOVE me more than I can ever even express in words.

They have sacrificed themselves to keep me safe from a pain they perceive as worse—the pain of relational disconnection and physical death.

Just this morning I sat with two inner teenagers inside me. (I’ve suffered a very triggering experience of rejection recently, hence this post.)

I’ve not suppressed what’s coming up, but rather allowed myself to fully drop into those perspectives, yesterday and this morning.

I’ve let these parts of me cry, rage, talk about how much they want to hurt themselves.

I let them twist around in the sheets and kick the blankets and snarl and yell and speak about their value and worth in ways that would break your heart.

I sat for hours with a fifteen year old girl inside of me who had gashes on her arms. She felt so unsafe with women, because of the rejection she perceived from my mother, that I eventually visualized calling in my high school boyfriend and my current partner Antoine to hold her and be with her until she could stabilize.

I met a seventeen year old who was so filled with rage, I let her loose in one of the rooms of my childhood home with a baseball bat and allowed her to smash everything she could see, until she finally collapsed in a heap on the floor.

I held her with compassion and told her I understood.

Told her I loved her.

I will NOT ABANDON these parts of me, or any others who may arise in the future who feel similarly.

I don’t need to validate their perspectives as factual.

But I will always validate their emotions and experiences as REAL. Because they are, for them.

And I am not going to leave them.

I don’t care how many personal development gurus tell me that I need to quiet those voices, or how many spiritual people tell me it’s just the Mind or the Ego, and I should ignore it.

I don’t care if people think I’m wrong or don’t understand.

I don’t care how much people are telling me to see it from another perspective at the cost of not being present with these beautiful parts of me.

I won’t do it.

These precious parts of me have been too alone for too damn long.

I am going to love them until they learn that they are safe now.

And until they can see a new belief that is possible or attainable for them in this reality, in this timeline.

I can hold those more positive, and indeed more accurate beliefs within my core self, access them and express them...but only after I have sat with the ones who are self-hating AS LONG AS THEY NEED, and allowed the imprints they carry to discharge.

(Because no amount of pep-talking, re-framing or positive focus makes solid sense to me until I have acknowledged what is most alive within me...anything else is just running.)

And that is what I did today, and that is my commitment to myself always.

I’m not sharing this with you for sympathy or shock value.

I’m telling you this because it demonstrates one of my most primary teachings and learnings in this life...

There is no part of you that does not love you.

There. Is. No. Part of you. That. Doesn’t. Love. You.

We adapt based upon circumstances.

You’ve adapted based upon your circumstances and the feedback you were given throughout your life.

You’ve adapted so that you’d survive.

You’ve adapted to keep safe from isolation and powerlessness, because these things are registered in your body as a literal threat to your life.

There is nothing wrong with you for struggling with rejection.

There is nothing wrong with you for struggling with self-blame or self-hatred.

And in the dating world, if you’ve had a childhood like mine, it will definitely come up.

Same thing in your professional life, in your friendships, or any other area. There will be moments in which rejection or perceived rejection will hurt. A lot.

They key is to be with it fully BEFORE re-scripting it.

I experienced many powerful instances of rejection and abandonment with love interests prior to meeting my sweetheart.

Prior to meeting my soul family and aligning with my community.

Part of what shifted for me is that I stopped running from these triggers.

Instead I used them.

I used them to plunge deeper into myself, into my own subconscious imprinting, and I used them to rescue many hidden parts of me, many screaming little girls inside who just...

Wanted love.

I didn’t make those little girls wrong for wanting love.

Instead, I told them “I will not abandon you. I will not reject you. No matter how you feel.”

And this is why people have come out of the woodworks throughout the last several years who’ve shown me that they have the same commitment.

They won’t abandon me no matter how I feel.

So please...

If you are struggling with rejection, abandonment, self-hatred, or any other “negative” emotion for that matter.

Do not minimize it. Do not run from it.

Use it to bring those pieces of your soul back home to you. Where true nourishment is. Where they have yearned to be ever since the day they were created. Allow it tenderly until it can give way to something that holds a deeper truth.

If you do this, your life and relationships will change.

Send me a message if you need help. I love you.

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copyright © 2020 Julia Phoenix Eleven.

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*Disclaimer: I am not a licensed psychotherapist or psychiatrist, and cannot offer medical or psychiatric advice.