Dealing with Rejection
Rejection - both real and imagined - has been a lifetime experience for me. Some of this arises from the fact that I am often perceived as too intense by others, and some comes from the fact that I often purposely withdraw from others in order to shield them from my intensity. However, this predisposition toward experiencing rejection is also quite strange.
I - like others classified as "Type FOUR" or "The Romantic" on the Enneagram - can go into a coffee shop and have a wonderfully meaningful interaction with three or four people. Yet the ONE interaction I will focus on internally - and obsess over - is the one which elicits in me the experience of rejection, or in which I become acutely aware that I am not the other person's "cup of tea." For us relational types, none of the prescriptions of pop spirituality which rightfully remind us to "never succumb to the opinions of others; be validated from within" can reach very deep, even when we WANT them to.
Fortunately, I've learned to use these occasions of rejection - even those fabricated by my own craziness - to find a higher definition of my "self." In essence, what I've discovered is this: I - like each of us - is simply a unique and particular VIEW or PERSPECTIVE on the cosmos. Or, to speak more adequately, I am one way that the universe - or The Divine Beloved - has of gazing upon, appreciating, and celebrating Itself, Herself and Himself. It is almost as though each of us is a water droplet that momentarily leaps out of the Stream of Life, gazes back on this Stream in admiration, makes and becomes a work of art from the raw materials of the water, and then drops back into the stream.
Thus, when others seem to reject me, I really don't need to take it personally. What they are really rejecting is simply one particular perspective that THE UNIVERSE takes on itself. And, to be honest, I think that The Universe is more than strong enough to take such rejection with a grain of salt :)
In any case, the Transcendentalist perspective on all of this never fails to speak to me:
"Man is but the PLACE where I stand, and the prospect hence is INFINITE. It is not a chamber of mirrors which reflect me. When I reflect, I find that there is other than me."
Henry David Thoreau
"Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
May each of us find the grace to take our negative experiences - whatever they may be - and transmute them into a wider definition of the self as a part of a Cosmos of which it is simply one unique and particular expression :)
Photo: The Cache la Poudre River and Bellvue Dome on a snowy day, near Bellvue, CO, February 2, 2016
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.