For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fear of rejection.
I have given many people the power to make me feel bad about myself.
I chose to believe that their opinions of me dictated who I was, so I spent many years building up a persona that I thought others would like.
I figured that if I had a tough exterior, didn’t let people in too quickly, made them work to be in my life and always kept a bit of distance, I would be respected and people would love me. I would choose not to let anyone in until they spent a certain amount of time earning my friendship.
I did this very unconsciously.
I based my self-worth on what others thought of me so I feared being authentic.
If I was authentically me and people didn’t like that, how could I feel good about myself. If they only knew me partially, I could get away with believing that if they knew me better, they would love me. They just didn’t love me right now because they didn’t truly know me. It sounds a bit backwards, however in my mind it was a great way of protecting myself from really being seen.
I was living in a place of fear — one where I could protect myself so I wouldn’t truly be rejected or ultimately left alone. If someone didn’t like me, I was still within my shell and they couldn’t penetrate that. I was safe.
The Tower I Built
I didn’t take the rejection as hard because I never really let them in. In my opinion, they had no power over me and I could keep my own power. Obviously, this was a delusion because I had given all my power away already.
In choosing to base my opinion of myself on what they thought, I had walled myself in a tall tower and they had the power to knock it down. Because I was so high and the tower was so tall, they could never do this completely. If I chose to stay up there they couldn’t get me, but I remained alone and trapped.
If I took down my walls, came down from my tower and let them in they could reject me. I believed that would hurt too much, so keeping people at a distance until they proved themselves by climbing the tower seemed like the best thing to do. I later realized how selfish this was.
I subconsciously created tests for them — if they passed each one they might be let into my life and heart. Some of my tests involved watching them put in a certain amount of effort. Others were how fast they got back to me via phone or text. Some tests involved observing how much they were committed to me by their words and actions. I basically had a friendship litmus test that each action or word went through to see if they deserved to be in my life.
Would they climb the tower and rescue me or would they pass by? Only THEY could choose and that gave them all the power.
It was a lot of mental and emotional effort on my part to end up giving all my power away. The interesting thing was that I didn’t even consciously know I was doing it.
It caused so much unnecessary stress in my life. I was putting so much pressure on myself to be a certain way and pressure on them to prove themselves over and over again. It was a lot of energy given to something that could’ve been a lot easier if I just felt better about myself.
If I truly loved myself, I wouldn’t need to make them pass tests because I would be whole already, needing nothing from them to feel complete.
If I loved myself and someone hurt me, I would be able to see clearly that it was not actually about me, but how they perceived something or reacted to me. It could also be about them not feeling great about themselves and responding to their own feelings and thoughts about life.
The problem was, I ALWAYS made it about me not being good enough.
When You Can’t See the Love
If someone rejected me in any way, I would think about what I could’ve done differently or better to make them love me more. What a sad way to live. I put so much pressure on myself to be this person that I thought would be loved.
People did love me and often I couldn’t even see it because I was so busy protecting myself.
I often took the negative and amplified it because that’s what I thought of myself. When people actually loved me, treated me with respect and gave their time and energy, I wouldn’t really absorb their feelings because I didn’t feel that way about myself.
I believe that the capacity at which we love ourselves is the capacity with which we can receive love and give it to others.
If I was always feeling bad about myself and looking for others to love me so I felt filled up, I wasn’t filling my own bucket. What I learned is that nobody can really make me feel loved if I can’t do it for myself. They can try, however I will always see their love through my filter of ‘not feeling good enough’ so it becomes tainted in my mind and heart.
Moving forward, I have learned that having that layer of protection around me so I don’t get hurt is actually not serving me at all. It is a form of suffering so that I don’t have to suffer. What good does that do? Either way I’m not truly happy and the love that is coming my way just passes me by.
I believe that the way to happiness and contentment is letting go of the need to please others and act a certain way so they love me.
To live life in a shell of protection so we don’t get hurt is just a way to avoid really feeling love — both in receiving it and giving it.
I believe the ultimate goal for me is to be vulnerable, open, honest and authentic. I can only be that woman if I’m willing to let people in and let them see my heart. If I let them see who I really am at the core — all the joy, struggles and pain — I have the opportunity to learn and grow. If I stay walled in, I remain stagnant and spend my time decaying.
Truth: If they reject me it is about them — not me.
I know that now because I have learned to love myself so much more and let go of what others think to a high degree. It is not a perfect science, however it has grown from me determining my worth with 80% their thoughts and 20% my thoughts to the opposite. Now I give my own thoughts and feelings about myself 80% of the power and 20% to others.
I still get to work on this and get to 100% and I know I’ll continue to grow more and more in the direction of complete self-love.
Many months ago, I wouldn’t have chosen to be this open and vulnerable with you. I would’ve been hiding and acting as if I had it all together, thinking that would make you love me.
I might’ve written a blog about all my wins and how great I was for overcoming so much in my life. I doubt I would’ve told you that I still struggle — because that would mean that I wasn’t all together.
I would never leave myself open to someone seeing my weaknesses and not loving me. That would hurt too much.
Now, I have shifted into a woman who knows her worth (most days ;) and shares her heart, knowing that the right people will stay. I also know that the ones I don’t need in my life will go.
Either way, I am whole and complete.
As much as I love being loved, I don’t need that from everyone. I’ve received a solid core group of people in my life and that is an amazing gift. I am open and others who choose to join are welcome. If not, they will move on to someone else who makes them feel a certain way that serves them.
I have found happiness in being me.
How This Might Help You
When you need nothing from others to feel whole and complete, you often find that people are drawn to you. When you are content, people love you more.
When you love yourself, everything goes through a filter of love.
This also allows you to give more to others and I believe we all want to contribute more love to this world.
You don’t need to act a certain way for people to love you.
An act doesn’t really work in the long run because people will eventually see through it. As they get to know you, they will find out that isn’t really you at all and could choose to leave. If you chose to be authentic from the beginning, you’ll know that those people are going to love you for the long haul because they chose in from the beginning, knowing who you really were.
What I love about bringing these walls down and being the real me is that I feel free.
In my experience, an amazing sense of freedom comes from self-love, self-validation and self-acknowledgement.
Now I get to be me every day — walls down and vulnerability present (80% of the time). The other 20% is an area of opportunity to keep growing. Yay for opportunity!! :)
As we each spring-board from a fear of rejection to self-love, my greatest gift to you is this:
Love yourself, know your worth and look inside your heart for validation.
When you are living a life of love and integrity, you WILL feel good about who you are.
Love YOU first and let go of what others think. You’ll have so many people wanting to be in your space — they’ll know you’re different and will want to understand you more.
You will be an influencer, creating the space for them to love themselves too.
And you’ll be able to better love others.
What a great way to contribute to yourself AND the rest of humanity!