I used to be afraid of rejection.
Very early on I stopped letting people in. I was always prepared for them to leave my life tomorrow. I never fully opened up and showed myself. There was a part of me that I would never reveal. A secret I was hiding. A great secret of who I was.
Holding that secret created a deep and strong desire to be seen. A desire to be found and uncovered by someone. To come out of my cave and to shine in the light of the moon.
If our greatest desire is to be seen for all of who we are, it can only mean that we are hiding part of ourselves.
The biggest paradox of all is that if we fear rejection, we are actually rejecting ourselves by NOT showing authentically who we truly are.
So actually we will never be rejected for who we are, but rather for who we are NOT!
I used to think that if people reject me for who I am not, it will cause me less pain. The opposite is actually true. Not showing who we are, for many people, is a safer place where rejection is not related to our true identity. We often create new identities or wear masks to hide behind.
I asked myself one day: What is more uncomfortable, hiding or being afraid of rejection?
I realised that my greatest pain didn’t come from rejection itself, but from being rejected for who I was NOT.
There is nothing more beautiful than being with someone who shows their authenticity and their vulnerability. A man revealing to a woman how stressed, worried or insecure he may be in her presence. A woman sharing with a man how nervous she is before their first date. How many relationships have been missed out on, or have parted company, because we were NOT who we are, unable to communicate and express our vulnerabilities, our fears and our truth. How many friendships were sacrificed because we were too afraid to speak with each other honestly?
If we show up as who we truly are and people reject us, at least they reject us for our truth in the moment, and we retain our integrity to ourselves and the other.
How many relationships have you lost, not because of showing who you truly are, but because of NOT showing it?
You will save so much time by being unapologetically YOU. Now and in every moment. Communicate what you think and feel. Be truthful to others but most importantly to yourself. Express yourself fully, with all the uniqueness that you are. You might think that it is going to separate you, but the truth is, that it will re-unite you with yourself. And when you are re-united with yourself, only then can you truly re-unite with another. When I started to show who I am, my fear of rejection dissolved. I understood that it was not the rejection of others I was most afraid of, but rejection of myself.
Only true self-love and acceptance will set you free from the fear of other’s people judgement.
Everything we see in the other person is a reflection of ourselves. Michel Odoul in his book Dis-moi où tu as mal, je te dirai pourquoi (“What Your Aches and Pains Are Telling You”) writes that if we like a particular feature in someone, it is probably our own trait we, for some reason, are not able to notice or express. On the other hand, if there is something that irritates us in another person, it is probably our flaw we cannot stand. We do not want to notice, recognize or accept it. So, whenever we spot it in others, we experience negative emotions for it presents the picture of ourselves we are not able to acknowledge. The only part of ourselves we cannot see is our face. It represents our identity. The only way to see one’s face is in the mirror. In life, the other person is such a mirror. How we perceive that person and what we see in him/her depends on our attitude to ourselves. Every person is perceived differently by different people and may evoke various emotions and feelings. There are as many opinions on us as many people we know, for they will see different aspects of themselves in us. We can only see our own face in the faces of others. Like Carl Gustav Jung said: We can see a thousand different images in other people. He also beautifully asked: And what if the poorest beggars and the cheekiest criminals hide in me. It is me who needs the alms of my own kindness. I am the enemy who must be loved, what then?
Are you afraid of rejection? If yes, ask yourself: Are you showing who you truly are?
During my Tedx talk for the first time I shared my personal story, never shared publicly before, where I spoke about what our own rejection can cost us.
You can watch it here