Re-examining Rejection

Via on Dec 8, 2010

“I think all great innovations are built on rejections.” -Louis Ferdinand-Celine

I was so excited to have a preliminary interview on the Oprah radio network for my trip to Chicago. This chance to share my new book in a place where so many people could learn about it seemed too good to be true. It turned out that it was too good to be true.  They rejected me- and I remembered again just how much rejection stings. It is a sticky experience too, like the super glue of negativity that has a cutting edge of self-doubt. It seeps into all the places where the residual scars of painful endings and disappointing events linger. It makes you question all of the goodness and assurance that seemed so strong in you just moments before.

I have learned that this tenacious residual of rejection is the primary reason that many people quit in both life and love. I remember writing a piece a couple of years ago about a whole rash of young adults I knew who were opting out of the relationship game entirely. I wrote that the point of the game of love is not discovered in the winning or losing, rather it is found in the play itself. Human hearts are resilient, and going through rejection and emerging whole on the other side is how we grow strong.

Although I still believe that, I also realize that it had been a long time since I had experienced a rejection that made me question so deeply. Finding the courage to go back into the game is the right idea, even as I sit on the sidelines now, wondering if I have what it takes to put myself out there again. The pain of this rejection reminded me of the last time I fell down hard and scraped up both my knees and palms badly.

For years I had bandaged up my kids’ scrapes with barely a nod to their discomfort, so routine were the events. But then when it happened to me and every day for weeks that I got into a bath and felt them stinging again, I learned something deep about how long it takes to heal, how quickly we forget and how much compassion life requires and deserves.

Rejection, it seems to me today is like a skinned heart. We all have a trace of that scarred place that is the weakest link in our human psyche. It is the place where we are required to learn and re-learn self love and acceptance. The human struggle with self-love is universal. This question of our own self worth acts as the fulcrum that is constantly balancing how we live in the world. Finding the grace to love ourselves again when someone we love rejects us, or when our best is not good enough, is the last great frontier of emotional maturity.

Love starts inside of each of us, and having the guts to hang onto ourselves when the people and events of life reject us is the foundation for building any relationship that lasts. Believing in our own goodness even with evidence to the contrary is a path that is sometimes hard to find, but one that is etched into us when we take our first breath. No one said it would be easy though.

About Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family. In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy, she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice. It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." The book is available on ebook, as well as in paperback online. Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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3 Responses to “Re-examining Rejection”

  1. Your wisdom is too bright for Oprah's radio network. :) Thanks so much for your candidness in sharing about your feelings. Thanks also for these insightful reflections. We all experience rejection at one time or another and when we are caught in the ickiness of it, it is hard to remember how much it happens. We all have incredibly powerful basic goodness, which can not be diminished by the judgments of others.

  2. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    And feel free to dig into/share this…it was spawned from various types of “rejections” over the years…

    “Tell Me”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foORC5cwEXU

  3. [...] I live in with four other people, it quickly lost it’s humor. As it turns out, battling against rejection only seems adventurous and heroic, and even on occasion funny, when I’m not the one actually [...]

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