Failure, a.k.a… Rejection is just information
I’ve had the great opportunity to really dive deep in my self-awareness in the past couple of years. I’ve studied Strategic Intervention training and attended a life changing Tony Robbins event or two. Currently, I am studying in a nine month life coach training program developed by Martha Beck who is probably one of the smartest and funniest women ever.
This past week, I hit a serious rough patch. I felt like all my forward progress in breaking down my limiting beliefs and the ways I trip myself up mentally kind of bit the dust and I slid headlong in to a few days of suffering.
My therapist, Joy, has some sage advice about this phenomenon… “It’s not that you’re never going to slip backward ever again and feel emotional pain. It’s about can you recover faster” as you gain strength and skills through your work on yourself. Now THAT’S a new way of looking at it for sure!
Through my training, I have had the good fortune to connect with a couple of fellow “cadets” as they call those of us in training to be life coaches under Martha’s program. We talk on the phone each week and practice what we’re learning on one another. It’s not role playing – it’s real stuff. We discuss what each of us is going through, what feels like crap, what could be better for us right now, and they we coach one another through this junk that we all go through every single day. It’s really powerful.
This past week, with my ride on the “crazy train” in full motion at the time of our practice call, I had the opportunity to be coached by my two fellow cadets.
They asked me to talk about what was going on for me and I gave them the highlights of my emotional roller coaster ride from the preceding few days. I had felt a great sense of being rejected. This is not a new feeling for me. It’s a feeling that seems to really cause me to run like crazy to avoid it. I hear myself sugar-coat things verbally with others so that I don’t upset them, hurt them or be rejected by them in some way. I just want them to like me!!!
Intellectually, I know that a big fear of rejection is a good indicator of what is going on inside the person who fears it. I actually reject MYSELF and so I go to great lengths to avoid being rejected by other people. It’s a crazy eight to be sure. I reject myself, then try to avoid being rejected by others and in the process of trying to be what other people want me to be so they won’t reject me… I reject myself. Ugh. Why does this sound a bit like a junior high sitcom?
My cadet practice partners (who are AWESOME!) asked me some great questions of how I feel about some people in my life. I just blurted out my answers, trying not to over-think it, just see what came up when I answered. My feeling of rejection was completely based on how someone had reacted to me. I perceived that the reaction I received was rejection, distancing.
I explained that I had recently read some info from psychologist, PhD. Margret Paul about how we humans abandon ourselves and forget how to love ourselves. She lists four of the main ways we all abandon ourselves as:
Then I read an article by psychologist & PhD. Gay Hendricks that mentioned that it is estimated that 60 to 65% of pregnancies are either unplanned or unwanted. The author said that through his many years of practice, he has come to respect the impact that the mindset of the parents at the time of conception has on the unborn baby.
This all got me to thinking…
Oh my, I totally can say yes to all four of Dr. Paul’s main ways of abandoning myself. I’m really good at all of those! And that ain’t good.
To Dr. Hendricks theory, my mom was 40 years old when she found out she was pregnant with me. My dad was age 50 – I was without a doubt unexpected and I would guess at least initially unwanted.
My parents expecting a child at a later age brought them a lot of attention in the tiny town where they lived. They were “special” and by association… so was I. I can into the world and was always treated as if I were incredibly important, special, and capable of anything I would set my mind to and they were patient with me! Due to being more mature, and perhaps wiser parents at that age, I was put on a fairly high, large pedestal.
Initially, possibly the thought of me was rejected by them, but then I felt loved by being treated as special in life.
When I think about what scared me most in life these days and the fears that keep me stuck, rejection is a biggie. I have twisted myself inside out sometimes in many of my relationships (especially with men) to insure that I was “liked”, enough, accepted, special.
In the process of avoiding the rejection of others – I lost myself, big time. I became what I thought my partners in my life wanted me to be rather than being true to myself, trusting that I was enough if I would be me.
So for me, the formula looks like: FAILURE=REJECTION.
The re-frame on this is the same as the quote at the start of this blog… rejection isn’t real, rejection is just information.
Interestingly enough, it’s not really information about ME!!! It’s information about the person doing the “rejecting”.
The only way any of us can learn from our experience with others is to get curious about what those experiences are trying to teach us about OURSELVES.
We mirror out into the world the relationship and beliefs we have about ourselves in our relationships with others. Your relationship with yourself is the same relationship you will play out with every other person in your life.
So, I have spent many years abandoning, rejecting myself. Guess what has happened to me over and over again in romantic relationships?? I’ve been rejected! I almost seem to select partners that will in some way reject me like it’s some sort of program I can’t over write!!
I would gravitate to people who found me to be “special”. That’s what I thought love looked like from my upbringing. I never had to figure out how to give that feeling to myself, I could always find someone to give it to me.
Thank God, that I finally landed in a position where there was no one to give it to me!!! Yes, thank God! You read that right. Because if I had never had this series of events in my life that left me in a place where I have to either stand on my own two feet and love myself without abandoning me – I’d have been asleep in my life till it ended.
As Abraham-Hicks says, NO ONE can make you the center of their attention! It’s just not possible for anyone else to keep you as the only thing they care about 24/7, 365. Nor should they! We each must learn to be responsible for our own happiness because if you depend on others for it – they are guaranteed to let you down. Plan on it.
Let everyone else off the hook for your happiness, your worthiness, and your feelings. Empower yourself to create your OWN experience. No matter what anyone else has to say about it and remember that you can’t really fail – failure is not real. It’s just information.
(I made myself this quote to remind me of this learning from the past week)
Sandy Edie Hansen
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