Loneliness and rejection are two feelings that most of us try to avoid in life.
On their own, they’re enough to give you that constant punched in the gut feeling, that confused mental state of trying to find your way down a wooded road to your friend’s house on a foggy night. Put them together, and our mind, gut, and body feel as though they’ve been put in a vice, violently squeezed, and battered about, while being surrounded by a murky fog that clogs our noses and makes it impossible to see what’s coming ahead.
They’re not very pleasant feelings, to say the least. It makes sense that we don’t want to feel them or experience them in any way.
So, how can we shift our understanding of these two terrifying feelings? How can we reframe them to benefit us, rather than hurt us?
When I think of loneliness, it brings up feelings of being alone, exhausted, and isolated, even when I’m surrounded by other people. With rejection, it’s that feeling of being unwanted, either overtly or subtly, by others or by yourself.
I think about constantly being mocked by certain friends, about being the butt of their jokes, never being taken seriously when it came to my interests or what I had to say, all leading to constantly feeling rejected for who I was, and, as a result, feeling utterly alone, even in my group of friends.
All of these feelings and thoughts lead to us being terrified of loneliness and rejection. We’re afraid that when these feelings surface, it means that we really are truly alone in this world. And if we’re alone, it must be because we’re not understood, we’re not seen, we’re not accepted.
Try to take note of one of those moments when you were feeling lonely or rejected – can you think of what the underlying cause, or causes, of those feelings were?
What was the situation that was causing you to feel these feelings more acutely? Try to relive that moment and as you sit in that situation, this memory, allow those emotions to fully resurface. This is not easy, and you’ll most likely feel some resistance to every bit of this exercise. Go with it the best you can.
What you want to do here is to try to uncover the underlying scenarios of that situation.
Ask yourself, in this overarching memory, are you being asked to be someone, or behave in a certain way, that causes you discomfort? Are you feeling like you have to play a role that leads to you not wanting to participate in the situation?
But even though you try to change to fit what you believe is needed for this situation, you find that you still aren’t finding that belonging. So, you stop trying to be someone that you’re not.
As a result, you now feel isolated from the person or people around you. You’re feeling loneliness and rejection. But is it truly loneliness or rejection? Or something else?
What comes to mind for you as you read through this, as you think of your own situation or memory? Were you truly being rejected? Were you truly pushed out, alone? We’d love to hear your thoughts over in our community
, or here in the comments.