Browsing Tag:

love

Facing up to the fear of rejection

the-fear-of-rejection

I realized a long time ago that I am an introvert and not just that, but I am the worst kind of introvert.

A shy one.

For me, navigating social situations is as violent and harrowing an experience as walking across a minefield.

 

I come away feeling exhausted. The kind of tired that seems to stretch through your bones making you limp and lifeless.

 

As a child I remember the world feeling big and garish. Going new places or having to make new friends arose the same feeling inside of me as losing my mum in the supermarket. A wild-eyed, pursed-lipped panic.

 

I thought as I grew older the feeling would fade but I’ve carried the same trouble with me into adulthood.  

 

The root of my shyness, as with most afflictions of the heart, is fear.

 

The fear that causes my voice to catch in my throat. The fear that suppresses my innate urge to love others. The fear that dulls the kaleidoscope of colours in this world.

 

The fear of rejection.

 

It has always plagued me. Sneakily crawling back into my life as it takes on new shapes and forms.


 

My fear of rejection causes me to shrink, inhibiting the hospitality that gives me life.

 

One of my greatest joys is welcoming people into our home.

 

I think that’s why I love food so much, because it brings us together. We gather around slices of pizza or steaming bowls of soup and we are united as one.

 

I’ve always hoped that someday I will be lucky enough to have a home with a gigantic kitchen and dining table so there will always be space to pull up one more chair.

 

But the desire to make people feel welcome, to talk to strangers and to make new friends is shadowed by this belief that they won’t like me.

 

So before they even tell me they have other plans or other friends I shut them out.


 

The fear of rejection has trampled all over romance in my life as well.

 

For as long as I can remember I’ve been infatuated with someone. Because loving feels as natural as breathing to me. I can hardly contain the swelling affection that sings within my heart.

 

But far too often I’ve found myself pining after someone for years because I’m so afraid that they won’t feel the same way about me.

 

Loving someone feels like far too much to ask. The risk of heartbreak seals my lips shut.

 

Rather than allow someone the chance to know and love me, I keep them at arm’s length and shy away from my feelings.


 

And in my day to day life, the fear of rejection makes conversations feel like an uphill battle.

 

I worry that my opinion won’t be heard or appreciated. I’m concerned that if I speak someone much more clever or witty will shut me down.

 

So I become disengaged. I smile and nod but do not venture to participate in the scene before me.  I save my breath and try to take up as little space as possible.

 

the fear of rejection, love, shame, disengagement, connection, community, facing rejection, overcoming hurt,

 

Over the past month I’ve been unemployed and wrestling with this nagging feeling of unworthiness.

I have found myself withdrawing from my friends and wanting to hide rather than go out and be sociable and last night I finally figured out why that is.

 

Everywhere I go people ask me questions. What do I do? Where am I going? What is my plan?

 

And somewhere deep down I have this belief that what I do defines me. Right now I don’t do anything and therefore I feel like I don’t belong.

 

Without a plan, without a purpose, I am not valuable. I am not interesting. I am not worthy.

 

With every job application I send, I attach a little piece of myself to it. Every time they reject me or ignore me altogether, I get a little bit smaller.

 

The fear of rejection gains its power from the simple fact that we put our sense of worthiness in the wrong places.

 

We define ourselves by our career, by who we date, by the people we are friends with, by the shininess of our car and by the size of our clothing.

 

We fall into this same old trap time and time again.

 

We become crippled by shame. Overwhelmed by self-loathing. Infected with a lack of self worth. We shrink down and we shrivel up. We are wounded easily and we snap without warning.


 

But you know what, I’m so tired of being afraid.

 

I want to live fully. I want to love with my whole heart. I want to be actively engaged with life.

 

I need a reminder of who I am because I’m not too sure anymore.

 

Perhaps because it is so unbelievable that we could have any worth just by existing.

Maybe because of the subliminal messages we have received our whole lives that tell us we there is no elevator to success, we have to take the stairs.

 

But here is the truth…I matter because I AM, not because I DO.

 

You matter simply because you have life running through your veins and breath flowing in and out of your lungs.

 

We need not fear rejection because we already belong. We are valuable. We are loved.

 

Regardless of what others may say. Regardless of whether we fail or succeed. Regardless of whether we are picked first or last.

 

We are worthy.

 

It makes me feel needy that I require so much reassurance. But then I am reminded that I was created by a God who has an infinite capacity to fulfill this need.

 

So what a beautiful reunion it is when I place my heart back in His never-failing hands.

 

“If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. If you look to God, you will find rest.” – Corrie ten Boom

Healing from the past: unraveling our stories and struggles

healing-from-the-past

I found a thread hanging loose from my shirt.

I tugged it gently thinking I could stop it from running.

But the slightest touch made it come undone.  

Before I could stop it the seam had unraveled.

Long, looping strands pulling away from neat stitches.

I tried so hard to keep it together.

I knotted the ends as tight as I could.

I meticulously sewed myself up so nothing could get in.

And yet a single strand sent the whole thing unraveling.

A tiny flaw in an integral stitch and everything fell apart.


 

I never thought I would need to see a counselor. I never thought my problems were worthy of such an extreme measure. I never felt like I was broken enough to need help putting the pieces back together again.

 

But I was wrong.

 

Strong people still feel weak. Happy people still cry. Sensible people still snap.

 

I didn’t cry. Not at first anyway. I was so proud of myself for that. At least I was still in control. At least I could still be contained.

 

But if you pull on a thread, it hardly ever snaps off a single piece. More often than not you’ll find that the thread you pulled keeps unraveling.

 

So that’s what happened.

 

One story looped through into another. On and on the pain I’d bottled up came flooding out.

 

Funnily enough, my biggest fear before I began was that I would have nothing to say. That we would sit for an hour in awkward silence, watching the clock hands inching around, eyes flickering from abstract art pieces to the flower vase on the coffee table.

 

You can imagine my surprise then that I found I could not keep the words from spilling out. I was a kitchen timer. Tick, tick, tick. I twisted around and around, a constant stream of stories, a tireless monologue.

 

I found myself smiling at things that weren’t funny. I laughed to mask the sadness.

 

And after every session I was always surprised that I felt nauseous. Physically ill from sharing such deep parts of myself. Like I had taken my internal organs and laid them out on the table in front of me. Inside parts always object to being outside.


 

This kind of vulnerability, this kind of healing is always painful. The deeper the wounds, the longer the healing process.

 

I wish I had sought after the healing sooner. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time wallowing in the mess and brokenness. I wish I hadn’t tried to keep myself sewn up neat and tidy.

 

Because the unraveling of our stories is beautiful. The unwinding, the coming undone, the letting go…it’s exhilarating. We find the source of our sorrows. We discover the roots of our fear. We realize the truths that will set us free.


 

The unraveling made me aware of threads that had run through my entire life. Lies that had shaped me. Burdens that had strained me. Core beliefs that had hindered and blinded me for far too long.

 

Shame was one of these threads. Deep and sometimes indistinct. Winding itself around every good and lovely memory, choking the very life out of them.

 

It taught me to hate my body. It led me to hate myself. It taunted me until I had no choice but to hide my full self from the rest of the world. I put up walls around my heart, a sturdy shield of armour to avoid getting hurt.

 

Shame swallowed up my voice, never allowing me to give an opinion or share my real thoughts. It distorted my vision, making me believe I was never good enough. It whispered constantly in my ear that my body was a distraction to others and a burden to myself.

 

And at the end of the thread, where the knot meets the fabric, I found shame whispering to me that I would never be enough.

 

Week by week as I sat on that scratchy, white couch with its chevron cushions, I shared all of the ways shame had entangled me. Slowly but surely, in the releasing of words and the surrendering of tears, I felt the weight begin to lift off me.

 

healing from the past, moving on, letting go, counseling, therapy, shame, love, extending grace, self love,

 

I learnt that love and shame can never inhabit the same space. Shame needs darkness, dampness and very little oxygen to thrive.

But to love is to be free from shame.

 

Love is authentic, all-consuming. With nothing to hide. Nowhere to run.

 

To fight shame we must expose it to the light. We must drown it in truth. We must recognize its many faces and challenge each one of them.

 

That’s what counseling did for me. It caused me to notice all my loose threads that needed to be pulled.

 

It taught me to extend grace towards myself and others. To be kinder, gentler and more vulnerable. To wear my heart proudly on my sleeve once again.

To knock down the walls I had constructed as a defense for my fragile heart. To recognize the ways I was intuitively protecting and doing what is best for myself. 


 

I thought counselling would be like taking a sledgehammer to my foundations. That I would tear everything down and start all over again. But for me it was more about recognizing the parts of myself that needed redecorating. Attitudes that needed shifting. Negative thoughts that needed replacing.

It turns out that I didn’t need to be completely rebuilt…just reminded of the beauty I already possessed.

 

I was afraid that counseling would be a waste of time. But perhaps the biggest waste of time is denying yourself the opportunity to heal.

 

At the end of the day, that’s what we all need more of. Healing. Honesty. Hope. A gentle tug on our loose threads that begins the beautiful unraveling.

 

“I am nothing but a ripped fabric stitched together by God’s grace.” J.A. Anum