Rejection 101: Stop Grieving, Start Living!
No one likes to be rejected but it is an inevitable life experience we all have to face at one point or another. From our career to our relationships to family and friends, it can come from the place we least expected it to the very source where we had a faint idea it was possible, yet, we wanted to take a chance and see what will happen. Contrary to the caption on the image to your left, don’t get used to it. Go where you are celebrated not tolerated.
I started writing this post after watching The Revenge Of A Middle Aged Woman and it was a very interesting movie because it reminded me so much about our life experiences. Isn’t it funny how we feel when we realise someone is rejecting us or has rejected us. And let me go one better, when we are the ones doing the rejection. It is always so easy to point the finger but you have to understand there will come a time in life when you have to say to someone, I get off the bus at this junction. For me, the issue is not about you getting off the bus. It is how you handle getting off the bus? Do you become downright nasty, mean, cold and callous? Or do you find a way to bridge the gap and though it will hurt, the other party still has their dignity intact? Hello! Come on now, talk to me…
The story of the film was simply the fact that the ‘middle aged’ woman played by Christine Lahti found herself ‘marriage-less,’ after her husband of 25 years woke up one morning and told her, he had met someone else. To add insult to the stinky injury, he was leaving their marriage for her ‘assistant,’ who was much younger because with the bimbo, he felt alive again. But this is what I can’t get out of my head. I know it’s just a film and there is no truth to it. However, the lousy husband told her, he was leaving after a night of passionate lovemaking. It is interesting how someone can love us one minute and tell us they cannot do without us to hating us the next and don’t want to hear our voice, let alone see us. It must be agonising to have your husband love on you all night but wake up in the morning and tell you that is the last juice you are ever going to get from him. That’s the kind of stuff which drives a woman crazy and you wonder what broke her spirit.
The Revenge Of A Middle Aged Woman really got me thinking and I have to say, it is the same way in real life – whereby we are loved/liked one day and the next we are no longer the spare rib of the joker or the source of the power surge that makes their liver quiver. In the work place, someone younger may come along to take your place, and you find yourself in competition with a new graduate, fresh out of university and thinks they know everything or when your friend has a new ‘friend’ and all the things you used to do together is no more. You do wonder where you now fit in their life? But I guess that’s just life and you will get through if you don’t give up on yourself for there is nothing worse than self rejection. According to one of my favourite preachers, “The world and everyone around you can reject you but the minute you reject yourself, the battle is over.” Self-rejection is like performing multiple-sclerosis on yourself, you are fighting no one but yourself…who can help you when you are at war with yourself?
So, I was thinking based on some of my personal experiences and the pain I have felt each time I have been rejected by anyone; male, female or an employer. I must say the ones that hurt the most are those you trusted, the pain they bring cuts you real deep. But this is what I know for sure, anyone who decides to walk out of my life was not meant to be in it. No buts, no ifs, no erms…I know that may sound harsh but I’m a little grown now and I refuse to spend precious time grieving over anyone. I’m not denying their departure didn’t hurt nor am I saying I didn’t wonder where I went wrong. What I’m saying is, I will not remain in the mood of deep excavation trying to figure it out when they have moved on to the next stage of their life. If someone had told me that I would say that a year or six months ago, I would have said hell no for I’m the type of individual you physically have to take something out of my hands and kill it before I give it up. I always do all I can to save whatever it is or at least, try to make it work. The only time I don’t make an effort is when I have reached my point of no return. The stage where I know, I have given all I can give and its now at a junction where you or me, who goes? Or it could be a case where I would like to see you make an effort. And hell no, I will never pick anyone over myself. You are not that important baby! You best believe when I say I can do without you. In the words of my favourite prophetess, Madea (Google her) “I can do bad all by myself.”
In the clip below, one of the authors hits the nail on the head, when he said, “We are all afraid of rejection.” Who isn’t? What’s interesting, especially with us ladies is the fact that we can clearly see its over but we become passive trying to make it stick as we try to convince the person doing the rejecting that we can fix it. Talk to me, you know I am telling it like is. I think that comes from the fear of not wanting to be alone, we forget there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Let’s be honest, we are human beings and we need other people. However, we are created for inter-dependency not co-dependency and the minute you surrender your ability to spend time with yourself and feel the need to always be with someone, then you really need to check yourself because something is wrong child if you don’t understand ‘Me time’ – you know, ‘me, myself and I’ and before you get started that it is selfish, no baby, it is self care. You need to take care of yourself in order to take charge of your life’s affairs.
This brings me to my line of work as a journalist, I have to deal with rejection in the job market, from the rejection of my ideas to many other things but over time, I have learnt the rejection of my idea does not mean I’m a substandard journalist. I was bold enough to pitch and though that editor didn’t like the idea, it does not mean another editor won’t like or want it. After all, forgive the cliché; one man’s meat is another man’s poison. If there is one thing journalism has taught/given me, which I am most grateful for, it is the gift of good bye. I do not say this with arrogance or a proud heart. I say it with the understanding that I must preserve my mind before I end up in a mental institution trying to figure everything out. I say good bye knowing, I did no wrong and if there was a misunderstanding, I try to resolve it but if I cannot do that, then I walk away knowing I did the best I could. In life, we must define our “own value” or others will gladly define it for us.
This brings me back to the issue of rejection which has weighed upon me heavily recently, I have been writing this post for the last three weeks, uncertain where it was heading but this I can tell you, rejection hurts. The pain it brings…I cannot describe because you have so many questions that you want to ask but the person with the answers has decided long ago, they want nothing to do with you anymore. In the words of Steve Harvey, ‘you have just got to let it go.’ Stop trying to figure it out because sometimes, it won’t even make sense. And when we cannot figure it out, we continue to grieve over a dead thing which then eats into other areas of our lives and leaves us depressed. I refuse to be depressed over anyone. You and the situation may make me unhappy for a while but believe me when I say I will not take Prozac because of you. You must be ‘outta’ your mind if you think, I’m going to start singing ‘Rock-a-bye Baby,’ or any other lullaby because I have forgotten the day, month and year we are in. Na! The person who will make me lose my mind is yet to be born.
Let’s get one thing straight, sometimes, we contribute to the drama in our lives. If we are really honest with ourselves, the red flags were there but we ignore them as usual, thinking, ‘here I go again, being all protective and not living in the moment.’ Please, don’t get me wrong, sometimes we have to take a chance and yes, take a risk. After all, the greater the risk, the greater the return but you should also listen to your intuition/gut instinct when it nudges at you. They are there for a reason, to guide and protect you. Hence, it is best not blame everyone else for your actions in the process of all that has happened. It takes two and I know it is much easier to blame others but we really do play a role in the things that are dysfunctional around us. Like Mary J Blige, we have to say, ‘No More Drama, No More Pain.’
I remember reading Marriable by Hayley and Greg Di Marco, a while back and one thing I have never forgotten is the fact that they wrote it was okay to acknowledge you had been rejected because that is the first step to your healing. Now, if you are like me, stubborn as hell and refuse to admit to the person who hurt you that they putting a hurting on your soul, you don’t have to tell them but you must admit to yourself in your own private space that you have been rejected and there is no shame in that. You don’t have to tell the world but hear me out, you are not the first and you won’t be the last. But let me add, I have come to discover that you do experience a deep sense of relief and release when you confront the source of your pain. In the past, I was not great at confrontations. When I confronted, it was with my fists but when I started growing up, I realised I got rather emotional during a confrontation and that is perceived as a sign of weakness. So rather than confront, I walk away and in walking away, that relationship dies. I mean ‘finito, over and out.’ It has taken time and a conscious effort not to do that anymore. Fair to say, I still have some work to do but in the last year and few months, I have a done a few confronting, where I let the other party know…this is what you did that I didn’t like and I found it very helpful. But this is the trick, don’t ever confront anyone expecting an apology, you may never get that from some people, they are just wired wrong like that. The point I am making is this…you have to be honest with yourself that the employer, boyfriend, husband, wife, friend, whoever and whatever does not want you anymore…the very same way others have to admit you may not want them anymore one day in the future…truth be told, life is funny like that.
Michelle McKinney Hammond said something in a recent broadcast, which made a lot of sense to me, ‘the grieving/mourning process is not because they left.’ After all, you cannot make them stay once they decide they are leaving, the very same way, they cannot make you stay if the situation is vice versa. ‘The grieving process is really because you shared a part of yourself which you can never get back’ and that makes you mad. It hurts because you feel deflated that you gave away that which is very precious to you and this could be anything but it means a lot to you. Maybe, a few ladies can relate to this, if it was a love relationship and please, don’t tell a lie, we didn’t get here by osmosis. The man can always move on and find another woman, same way you will eventually move on and meet someone else. However, relationships are usually more emotional for women than it is men (well some) and so, you grieve over that part of yourself you lost to him, the one you know you will never get back and the fact that you have mental images to remind you does not help matters either. There is a big chance you may even feel ashamed about it all but child, get a grip and get yourself back in line and move on. It is the same with friends we love and let into our lives and home, gave them triple ‘A’ access and told them our life story. When the friendship ends, you become so self conscious because they know all there is to know about you, your secrets…in fact, you feel naked and kick yourself silly that you didn’t keep a few things to your chest.
The key is finding your mojo again and that takes a lot of repositioning and reawakening. Why stay down because a friend, a man, a woman or an employer changed their mind about you? They are allowed to. The very same way you can change your mind about people. Yes, you didn’t see it coming but has anyone ever announced they were going to flip the script in spite of the fact that you just agreed a few hours before the direction you are both going to take. Roles change, directors/directions change but that is no licence to kill yourself. Find out where it all went wrong or where you went wrong and correct yourself, not for them but for you because there are experiences in life which should only happen once, yet, they have the power to instil a lifetime lesson in you. That one time experience should bring us to a place where we make a promise and resolute decision to keep our word to ourselves and be unmovable even when your emotions are moving.
Different people come into our lives for various reasons; some are for a season, while others are for a lifetime. The seasonal ones are there to teach us lessons we need to learn in order not to mess up next time. Sometimes, they come to show us that we may not be as strong in one area like we think we are or they are there to point out your weaknesses and the holes we may have in our lives which we are not aware. I personaly think those who come in and help you realise that when you compromise that which you stand for, its time to go back to the drawing board and rethink what you believe and why you believe in it, they are the best teachers you can have. I say that because next time, you will not have an excuse for doing that which you do not believe in or champion. You cannot say, oh, it just happened. Nothing just happens baby, it starts with a thought which festers and after a while that thought becomes an action and when the realisation hits home, its too late and you end up hating on yourself because you have let yourself down. I like and appreciate those kind of people though at first, I may just hate them passionately but after they are gone, you must sit yourself down and be honest. Besides, it is a great opportunity to work on yourself. I once heard someone say, ‘We live and we learn.’ That is truly what life is about, living and learning. It is not about shutting yourself off from the rest of the world and never being friends with anyone again but rejection helps you to be better prepared rather than get carried away when we first meet people like we often do. If anyone captures all that I have said and written so far in a way that seals the deal, it would be Prophetess Madea. Now, don’t mess with the lady because she is telling the truth like it should be told and I could not agree more. This video is a must watch: Madea Gives Relationship Advice
I end on this note, reconciliation is sometimes possible but first, the two parties involved have to be grown up to handle and want it or you will find yourselves at the bottom of the ladder all over. Emotional maturity is key to the process of that reconciliation. Can you handle it? Are you now at a place where you know, come what may, you are ready to face what you have been afraid of? If you are not, don’t waste your time trying to force the process into existence. And yes, the dreaded ‘F’ word, have you forgiven yourself and the other party? There is no need having all of that anger locked up inside you while talking about reconciliation? Finally, are you now more aware and discerning because the same way you guard your heart is the very same way you guard the door to your life and who you let in. Why? Because when they or your very self decide to leave, it may take a painful process to get rid of the memories, scars or residue either party leaves behind. You best test that joker before you say, come on in!
Departure is necessary for Discovery. Stop mourning, stop grieving because as my Uncle Thomas Dexter Jakes would say, “Your best days are ahead of you not behind you. Don’t sacrifice your destiny for a temporary situation.” I would like to believe that our best relationships are ahead of us not behind us. Get on with It! Start living! 2011 is a month and a few days away, get rid of every dead weight you have been carrying around. So what, he or she didn’t want you? So what that employer did not accept you for a job role? So what some of your friends have moved on? So what you are alone? Make yourself interesting and you will see your joy come back.
And while you are at it, let the world know you are coming out, have a party to celebrate yourself and in the words of Diana Ross, I’m Coming Out!
Rejection and Candlelight images from Google. No infringement intended. Thanks!!!