The Pain and Wisdom of Rejection

Everyone practices rejection. Thereby, everyone at some point is rejected. The word rejection brings about imagery of emotional pain. Associated with inadequacy and exclusion, rejection embodies fearfulness in someone experiencing it. It is true that some rejection is this way. It is also true that the rejection seeming this way has been attached to expectation. We expect the person on the other end of the equation to perform in a certain manner, the result of which would benefit us positively. Rejection becomes an inherently negative situation. In rejection we are disappointed in someone else, and in ourselves.

Yet we do not feel disappointed when we practice the other kind of rejection which is subtle. Shopping for food products, we will choose one brand name over another. Do we peril when we find one toothpaste works better than another? Depending on the toothpaste, the suffering may be momentary at best. When things don’t fit, when they are not as we want them to be, we mostly can accept it. Being a creative problem-solving being, we look for the next option and try again. We find what best fits what we need and we choose it. This is no different from emotional levels of rejection. Because this kind of rejection involves an evaluation of the self, the ego gets involved. There is where the pain lies.

Wisdom about rejection comes from understanding a few things. First, rejection is not personal. Much like in the decision made for the best fitting toothpaste, so to are decisions made about where we fit best. Despite all our desire to fit in a certain somewhere, it still may not be the greatest place for us to be. Second, rejection is not a one way street. Imagine if the practice of empathy and compassion could be applied to the rejector. What pain did they endure having to make a rejection? Could there be suffering of their own hiding behind their decision? Third, the pain of rejection is impermanent. So is the joy of acceptance. Like water off of a duck’s back, we can let rejection go.

Refuge Recovery combines the clinical practices of substance abuse treatment with mindfulness and Buddhist psychologies. We show our patients the way to a sense of peacefulness in life by holistically approaching their substance abuse and dual-diagnosis issues. For more information on our treatment programs, call (323) 207-0276

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