In this current phase of my life, I struggle with a fear of rejection. I don't produce what I create as often as I'd like because I am scared people won't like it. I was never the type of girl who would "shoot my shot" with a guy, and while Christian culture gave me the excuse of romantic pursuit and traditional courtship, the real reason was that I didn't think the guys I wanted would want me back. Jobs I passed on because of the fear of hearing no. Friendships I didn't pursue. So much life lived in fear of being told "no."
I'm not alone though. We all fear rejection. We vet every opportunity to the umpteenth degree before we give our full selves. Obviously, our fear of rejection is most apparent when we encounter romantic relationships because the truth is we aren't afraid of the "no." We are more afraid of what that "no" means in defining us. If I am denied an opportunity that I applied for, that "no" means I'm unqualified at best, disliked at worst. If my love interest turns me down, it must mean something is wrong with me. So much of our identity is tied to how other people perceive and engage us. However, I'm teaching myself to think in a new way. It seems common sense, but it must be said:
Their rejection of me is not a testament to my worthiness.
When someone rejects us, it is never an indictment of our character. Every human on this earth has flaws. All of us have skeletons. All of us have toxic patterns we are working to overcome. I believe with my whole self that we all deserve to be fully loved and enjoyed as we are.
One of my toxic traits is detachment and dissociation. There are people on the internet who brag about cutting people off, then there are people like me, who never have to brag about it. We just do it. Quietly, yet painfully. We keep ourselves at a "safe" distance because of our own fears, causing our friends, partners, and jobs to never fully experience all we have to offer. At the slightest sign of distress, we run. I run. I've run from friendships, relationships, family. I don't want to talk. I don't want to trust. I don't want to share. It makes the people who love me feel disposable and unappreciated. My ability to nonchalantly walk away without warning. It may seem like I don't care about people, that I lack compassion and empathy. Those who are closest to me know that this is not the case, but even they have had to evaluate my place in their lives as a result of my behaviors. Yet somehow, they still love me. They lift me up when I'm down. They encourage me. They remind me of all the good I am. They make room for me, and they give themselves to me. The love of God, my family, and my friends prove to me over and over that I am worth loving. I am worth being enjoyed.
So when I face rejection, I have to ask myself, "Why did they say no to me?" They may have a legitimate reason, but it all boils down to the fact that I'm not everyone's cup of tea. AND THAT IS OKAY! Their preferences are theirs and mine are mine. And even when we talk about the bad a person does, we each have our own limits. There are some things I might be able to tolerate that others disdain. Hell, there are things I ENJOY that others abhor. When I reject something or someone, I am never thinking that the opportunity in itself is unworthy. I simply understand that it won't fit my needs. I try to extend that same mindset to others.
With that said, I am trying to train my brain to embrace rejection. To embrace fear. Whether it is in my career or relationships, I want to walk in the victory I have, sure of my identity. Confident in my abilities. I want to approach each situation with my full self. I want to give everything I have to the people I love. I think this is how God loves. We reject Him daily, yet He never throws us away. He keeps blessing us, not because we deserve it, but because of who He is. I am made in His image. My identity is in Him. So I don't have to worry about rejection because the source of my worthiness is in Him alone. He made me to love and to be loved. To enjoy and to be enjoyed. He made you for the same reason. So do something today that you are afraid of. Ask them out on a date. Apply for that job. Submit that manuscript. Walk in the faith that says, "I am worthy because I am."