Quote: “I’m convinced that the human journey, in its entirety, is an educational adventure that attempts to teach us the ways of love.”
“Can I be honest with you?” That’s the real question, isn’t it? I find myself returning to this question again and again, whether in a conversation with a friend, a loved one, or something as silly as writing a newsletter.
This question arises from a tension that feels like I have to be someone I’m not, to pretend, to protect myself and others, and to avoid the pain of being the rejected or the rejecter.
The Rejected / Rejecter
“The pain of being the rejected or the rejecter.” Does this resonate with you as much as it does with me? My goodness. It’s so obvious that the fear of being honest and being myself is rooted in the fear of rejection – either being rejected or causing someone else to feel rejected. And when someone else feels rejected, I blame myself for their pain, which is, in essence, a form of rejecting myself.
As human as this is, to fear rejection and to desperately want to be accepted, the more I examine “what’s really going on,” I see a beautiful opportunity.
What is the mechanism of being or feeling rejected? It is a declaration that suggests that “the sincerity of who I am is somehow wrong or unworthy of being what it is?” The “sincerity” refers to what is real, true, present, and alive, beyond any pretense.
Sincerity is the most raw and naked aspect of my humanity. It is infinitely closer to the reality of who I am than the person I pretend to be or the image of myself I present to the world.
The declaration is the rejection of what I am, proclaiming what I am is not deserving of the love I crave.
As I sit with this declaration of rejection, it makes perfect sense why we would avoid that experience at all costs. It also makes sense why I would avoid sharing my sincerity if it made someone else feel that way. Moreover, it makes brilliant sense why I wouldn’t want someone else to share their sincerity if it would result in me feeling rejected.
3 Profound Realizations
The exploration continues…
- Rejecting Others: If I do not want someone else to be honest and sincere because I fear feeling rejected, then I automatically reject them. I am communicating to them that their raw, vulnerable, and authentic self is not deserving of love, and that they should continue to pretend to be someone they are not.
- Rejecting Myself: If I won’t allow myself to be honest, to be myself because I fear someone else rejecting me, then I am the one who is already rejecting myself. There is an internal dialog that says the truth of what I am is unworthy of love. Effectively, I’m saying, “Dear self, I don’t love you.”
- The Greatest Gift: In my personal exploration and in the countless hours I’ve spent holding space for others, I’ve come to realize that our rooted fear of rejection, or constant self-rejection, is the foundation for much of our human difficulty. It affects both how we deal with ourselves and how we manage our relationships. Therefore, I’ve concluded that the greatest gift I can give someone else (and myself) is the space to be 100% raw, vulnerable, and real. This space allows us to come home and connect with a deep acceptance of our most raw and sacred humanity, and is where true healing can occur.
The Real Problem / Solution
As much as I might think the problems I experience are about myself, others, or life not being how I want, there’s a deeper sincerity. I recognize the problem is my fear of being rejected, which translates into a preemptive self-rejection.
The “surface problem” of life not being how I want it to be – leads me on an impossible journey of trying to control myself, others, and life. In reality, I’m trying to avoid being rejected in the future. I’m endeavoring to make everything how I want it to be so there is no possibility of being rejected.
It’s the classic “if only” statement that says, “If only I could be this way or that way, if only more people liked me, if only my partner truly loved me, if only XYZ… then, and only then, could I relax and be myself.”
On this journey, I try to become what the world and other people want me to be, rejecting what I am, hoping that one day I will be accepted and wanted.
The real problem points toward the real solution. In a manner of speaking, the real problem is that I don’t see myself clearly, which results in self-abandonment. I look to the world and other people to rescue me. Another way of saying it is that I’m innocently confused about what’s truly happening, and in my confusion, I’m creating more and more pain.
The Solution? I must find a way back to myself. And I must find the courage to give other people back to themselves; not only for their sake and the opportunity to heal, but also for the sake of my own sanity.
Naturally, the solution begins with being deeply honest with ourselves, as we explore the issues discussed in this writing. Can we be honest with ourselves about the real issues? Can we be honest about our fears, and where we don’t allow others to be honest and sincere? Are there areas where we try to control others because we’re afraid of rejection or not getting what we want in the future?
Learning to Love Well
Perhaps you can see here that clarifying these confusions and misunderstandings about self, others, and life – ultimately leads us back to the ability to love well, or at least better than we did yesterday. Our fears restrict/constrict the flow of love. They are innocent misunderstandings that create imaginary monsters, such as the one that says it’s not safe to be yourself.
I’m convinced that the human journey, in its entirety, is an educational adventure that attempts to teach us the ways of love. There is this beautiful unfolding that, if we are willing to open up to it, points us home to what we crave the most.
This, of course, is what compels me to do the work I do: holding space for others in such a way that helps clarify their innocent confusions and more rapidly learn the lessons we are here to learn.
As you know, I do this work in a few different ways…
- I share my thoughts and reflections on these matters freely on the internet with all those who resonate. (newsletter, podcast, social media, etc.)
- I work with people one and one and in small groups, creating a focused container where I can support them more directly. This direct support is where I partner with people on their journey for a period of time, and we gently unravel the confusion and put into practice these profound lessons in love.
Tomorrow’s Live Video Broadcast, on the “Holding Space for Love to Be Seen” Podcast, will dive more deeply into this topic of Learning to Love Well. (more info below)
On a closing note, I want to express my gratitude. Thank you for reading these words and being there for me to share my thoughts. Your interest in these matters inspires me to continue the work I do. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who seeks a deeper connection, beyond the superficial, and closer to our sacred hearts.