Choosing to Connect or Reject

Every time there is a reason to push away there is an opportunity to move in.

We have all experienced moments of rejection. A moment when we have felt outed from a group. Pushed away from a loved one. Patronized by a friend. In these moments it’s easy to play into our own stories of being unworthy, an outcast, or an outsider. When you’re pushed, one way to take control of that situation is to push back. Pushing back extends our internal walls and serves to shelter where we feel weak. We often act in this way to protect our inner self from being further wounded.

The consequence is that we also reinforce the rejection story and by protecting ourselves we continue to give power to the idea that others can wound us emotionally without our consent. When you thicken your armour you also build a barrier to true closeness.

Every time that this vulnerable area is touched there is an opportunity to, instead of creating a bubble around yourself, to extend your bubble to include someone else. Sure you have to be choosy about who you extend yourself to, but its essential that you realize this as an option.

Instead of pushing back: “They obviously don’t want me here.” See if you can up your emotional intelligence by stating, sharing and inquiring “I feel pushed away. Was that your intention?” Trusting others with our vulnerability is a powerful and connective force. When presented with this type of honest presentation others are drawn to share of themselves as well. If they did indeed intend to push you away, far better to know it explicitly. This allows you to ask more questions “Why do you want to push me away?”, “Is there a better way to achieve your goal?” It also gives the other person an opportunity to see you as you are and to become closer to you rather than farther: “That was not my intention, I’m sorry you felt that way — how can I help you?”

Next time you feel rejected, take a moment to examine your own story and see if there is an opportunity to grow instead of recede.