Sadly, in this life, not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to love you either, or be ready to love you.
Timing may have been off. Or upon gaining knowledge of your behaviors, a person might not feel at home in your spontaneity (or conversely, shyness), or whatever combination of traits you currently embody that make you, you.
But this is okay; it’s actually a good thing. And I want to tell you why, and remind you to love yourself.
We’ve heard this story before. Justin Bieber sang it to us in his album Purpose, cheesy Elite Daily articles command the same. But I mean it. Loving ourselves and fully accepting ourselves as perfectly imperfect human beings is a mindset for life that is easier on the self and will reduce unnecessary future self-destruction.
Rejection is a part of life, and so is the pain that comes with it. I myself have recently experienced, and will probably experience again in the future, romantic rejection. And it’s a good thing. Why?
Well, if we didn’t experience rejection, we may not have decided to go on that lonely walk where we “found ourselves.” If not for rejection, we may not have decided that once we had nothing else to lose—or fear for that matter—out we went to conquer our “fears.”
This is the manifestation of the true uninhibited self. And dare I say, a gift.
Tara Brach, PhD and author of “Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha” writes that the pain and suffering that comes with rejection has the potential to open our hearts to compassion.
Whenever we feel closed down, hurt or unforgiving, by simply breathing in and gently touching the rawness of our pain, we can begin to transform our suffering into compassion. Keeping our gaze on the bandaged place, as Rumi says, allows the light to enter. As we breathe out, we can feel our longing to connect and let go into the immensity of the light. We can surrender into the radiant love we year for. Breathing in and breathing out, we hold our pain and let our pain be held in a boundless heart of compassion.
Heartbreak leaves room for opportunity, if we allow.
…To relate to the mutual suffering of a friend, or possibly acknowledge a deficit in our current personality (subject to change) that prevents our fullest, self-actualized, potential.
But! Back to rejection…
When rejection occurs, our brains are often wired to begin playing the “I’m Unworthy of Love” record. This simply is not true, and an illusion.
What we as social animals desire most in the world is a sense of belonging. When this notion is taken away from us this creates the emotion of fear, which can trigger a myriad of anxieties in our brain and lead to behaviors we may not be proud of later on (sup, Shame!).
Brach’s book, “Radical Acceptance” asks us to take a step back from these “fight or flight” emotions and process them through meditation. What is the source of our hurt, and why? Is it fear of abandonment? Former shame? How can we address and radically accept those emotions, desires, and previous life events for what they are, and let them be?
Once we accept and forgive ourselves for being human, as we would when we unconditionally love a friend, we move forward.
In this sense, we are “the holder and the held” as Brach says.
And really though, why would you want to be with someone who discounts the things you love most about yourself?
That cat would be pretty hard for you to spend the rest of your days with. Take it as a gift. Love yourself.
There’s room for opportunity and growth no matter what side of the break-up you’re on. When you make the radical acceptance to unconditionally love and be kind to the self—mind you, this is separate from narcissism—you heal into a more evolved self.