Regaining Confidence When Rejected
Rejection is probably the most common emotional wound that we experience in our lives. When our spouse leaves us, or we get passed up on a promotion, or excluded from a social gathering, we experience the sting of rejection. The emotional pain that we feel can be absolutely paralyzing.
Our bodies may also experience physical pain. fMRI studies indicate that the area of the brain that activates physical pain is also triggered when we experience emotional rejection.
Rejection is also a cause of mental illness. According to a report by the Surgeon General of the United States, rejection increases the potential for violence in a teenager even more than drugs, poverty, and gang affiliation. School shootings and violence against women are also strongly linked to rejection.
But for most people, the devastating effects of rejection are limited to emotional instability. We may become self-critical, depressed, disgusted with ourselves, and even self-destructive. Our IQ is lowered as the rejection prevents us from thinking clearly. Our body language and social behavior are also affected. We revert into a shell and may spend less time with friends and family. Even when we are forced to be around people, we struggle with eye-contact, smiling, and often look down rather than keeping our head held high.
Rejection is ultimately rooted in shame. We feel like we are not enough to be loved and accepted. There’s something wrong with us, and the debilitating emotions surface as a way to punish ourselves. When the pain becomes unbearable to carry on our own, we may resort to exerting punishment on the ones who contributed to our pain. The ego wants them to suffer like we are suffering. Whether it’s through a cold shoulder to the offender, or something as drastic as violence, the ego projects its own self-hatred for not being worthy enough of the other’s love.
The good news is that something extraordinary and beautiful happens when you awaken to love within. Your confidence is no longer based on what people do to and for you. Love is not an external gift that you earn or deserve, but is instead the inward awareness of divine love flowing through you.
So when you are with people, you are able to extend love to them even if they reject you. You are able to offer them a smile, a hug, direct eye-contact, and complete attention. Their response to the love that you offer is immaterial because your security and confidence is an internal state of being one with divine love.
What you will most often find is that the love that is emanating from your heart will attract people to you. They will inevitably be less likely to reject you. And even if they turn against you, you will not take their rejection as a personal insult. Instead, you will strangely enough experience empathy and compassion for them because you recognize in them the pain that fear has produced.
This is why being conscious of love will inevitably result in a genuinely confident mind. Your confidence will, however, not be based on the ego’s sense of worth through your success (which is actually insecurity with a self-assured mask on). Instead, your confidence will derive from that deepest part of you that is one with divine love.
Adapted from David Youngren, Awakening To I Am Love: How Finding Your True Self Transforms Your Wellbeing, Relationships, and What You Do. (page 163 – 165)
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