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Day 17. Time To Eject Self-Rejection

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One of my guiding principles of building your self-esteem is that you must eject self-rejection in order to have the space to treat and regard you with love, care, trust and respect but to also be open to receiving it.

There are two things that people desire and fear most in life; everybody wants to be accepted and everybody fears being rejected.

Rejection is what you perceive as being turned down, being seen as not up to standard and not being chosen for something that you feel is more of standard— that is “good enough”.

You have inferred from various experiences that you have been rejected or that you’re rejectionable and a gradual association has been made between receiving no, disappointment, and getting feedback and criticism, with being rejected. As your inner critic has been having a field day, you’ve rightly become very sensitive to rejection because you’re dealing with it all or most of the time.

Your inner critic running rampant is akin to having a rejection backing track playing all the time because your inner critic currently doesn’t have boundaries. What happens as you tune in to your inner voice by calming your inner critic is that once you set the standard within for how you want to be treated, you can decipher useful feedback from the inner critic where appropriate but it will no longer be a source of rejection because you have perspective and so see it for what it is - not you, not the boss of you and certainly not factually correct about you or anything that’s going on around you.

Each time comments from the inner critic are allowed to pass, allowed to govern who you are and what you do, and are treated as being your inner voice, you are rejecting you.

Because you’ve had a passive relationship with your inner critic, as opposed to an assertive one where you know what that voice about but are aware of and prioritise your inner voice, although you have certainly had experiences of rejection, the most amount of rejection that you experience (as is the case with all of us), is from inside your head. It’s what you infer and internalise as the message from the experience. It’s what you tell you about you. It’s what you shut down before something that reflects who you are has a chance to flourish. It’s suppressing and repressing your true feelings, beliefs, ideas, needs, expectations and desires because you’re self-censoring based on your inner critic.

How much rejection you’re going to experience is largely down to you – you can make the impact of rejection (or anything else in life) as big or as small as you want to. If you become consumed by rejection, disappointment, a criticism or conflict, it becomes about the story that you’re consciously telling yourself as well as the story that forms the backing track of your inner critic.

Perspective protects your self-esteem which lessens rejection. The amount of rejection you experience is relative to the amount of perspective you have. If you think that you’re experiencing a lot of rejection, it means you have little perspective. I can guarantee you that if you think about everything in relation to whether you’re being accepted or rejected, or keep thinking you’re on the outside, being left out, or ruminate about why you’re not liked by people you may not even like, you have an It’s All About Me perspective.

Everybody experiences rejection in small, medium and large-sized doses – nobody is exempt. All of us have been broken up with, experienced disinterest, not been picked for the team, not been successful at a job interview, grappled with mistakes and failure, or had some sort of run-in. The reality is though, yes you can call these rejection if you want to, but if you liked and loved you in the first place, you would not see these situations as equating to you being rejected as a person.

The person who says “You have been rejected as a person”… is you.

The overwhelming majority of the time, when people choose to opt out of something with you or don’t meet your expectations, which in turn you may take as rejection, it is about them choosing what they do or they don’t want to do, not about, Let me find one hundred and one ways to reject him/her. As you’ve already discovered through examining the types of inner critic, people are very caught up in themselves. It stands to reason that if you’re this caught up in what’s in your own head and past experiences and you’ve struggled with your sense of self, imagine how caught up some others might be? People are caught up in their own lives. Many of us strive to be conscientious, but yeah, some others don’t and when they make their decisions, we can get caught up in them. That’s not you being rejected as a person though.

Whoever inspired your inner critic, their own self-rejection was projected on to you.

Rejection from parents directly or indirectly, is hard, and I say this from personal experience, but it doesn’t have to define you, not least because when actual rejection happens, it says more about the person doing it than it does about the person being rejected. No child deserves rejection and in actual fact, child or not, it’s not about deserving rejection per se. Some people do not know how to love, to be supportive, to nurture etc., and it can give the impression that there’s something wrong with us – don’t make someone else’s inadequacies, especially your parents, mean that you have inadequacies. You are separate entities and you must not play out your parental issues in the world at large because you’re looking for people to meet expectations that really, only your parents could meet. Even people who have supportive parents struggle with rejection, so it’s our job as grown-ups to raise ourselves. Some parents have communication styles that are critical. They think that they’re showing care but the ratio of criticism to praise is too high. Parents are not infallible and when a parent communicates in this way, it reflects their own inner relationship which might also reflect the way in which they were raised.

If you take over the job of nurturing you then you will no longer be ‘parented’ by a critical force plus you will stop feeling so afraid.

Rejection from peers, such as bullying at school, or being abused by parents/caregivers or another adult, can leave a lifelong mark, but it is important to remove yourself from the grip of the bully and not to continue their work.

If you are self-rejecting, you have picked up their baton. You do not deserve that. There is a younger version of you who is still in deep pain because he/she remains unacknowledged, rejected, not taken care of.

People who bully take out their problems and aggression on others, often homing in on those who on some level they envy. They also discover, based on interactions pre-bullying or in how you respond, what they perceive as an Achilles heel of wanting approval and to be liked and they exploit this. Bullies have their cronies or ‘henchmen’ who help to do their dirty work, but they are not liked or loved; they are feared. They are also cowards who end up with their own lifelong problems until they are addressed. If you weren’t supported through your experience, it is all the more important that you support you now and have some compassion for you. You are not a ‘rejectionable’ person nor are you a failure. Stop punishing you for what you think you failed to be or do.

Treat you in the way that you expect others to treat you (i.e. with love, care, trust, and respect) and not only will you stop self-rejecting but you will stop making Other People’s Business about you, and own your own stuff.

You can spend your whole life feeling ‘rejectionable’, wishing for others to be different and even pitying you, or you can choose to hang up your rejection coat and stop looking at life through a rejection lens. You can choose. It is a choice and it’s a choice that you have to make every single day when you are faced with choosing between opting for your comfort zone of defaulting to blaming you and feeling rejection (your inner critic and your responses), or choosing to look at and think about things with a modicum of objectivity that takes account of other factors including the fact that an old backing track is not you nor the predictor of life.

The TAKEAWAY

  • Focusing on rejection causes you to sell yourself short because you have conscious negative self-talk as well as the inner critic and so you limit yourself in the process because you’re trying to minimise more rejection.
  • Isolation, rumination, and stagnation magnify rejection. You rejecting you is all of these things. You languishing on what you feel are the injustices of what ‘everyone’ is doing to you or ‘making’ you feel is rejection.
  • How much more rejected you feel is in your hands. You can change the narrative.
  • Part of your journey going forward is about no longer allowing your inner critic to invite itself in and to overstay its welcome while putting its feet up on the table, running its mouth and even wrecking your proverbial house. It is a lodger and the inner critic needs to know its place and abide by some house rules in future - only you can set these.

JOURNALING: What are the ways in which you have not been accepting you? Are there messages that you’ve internalised that you know are just flat-out untrue? What are the things that you say about you that if it were someone else, you would find it unacceptable? What are you still blaming you for? What does that younger part of you still feel wounded about and how can you let him/her feel acknowledged and taken care of?

 

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