Paper faces on parade! Hide your face so the world will never find you.” – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera
I was rejected recently. I chose someone and I wasn’t chosen back. Then I decided to play dress up.
A year ago I called my mom about a guy and I never call my mother about boys. My sister received a text that read ‘it’s him’ and I spent way too long on the phone one afternoon with my best-friend debating whether or not to purchase the $1,500 Beholden wedding gown I had fallen in love with while browsing online. In my defense, the dress was on sale and it was the very last one in my size. Also in my defense, while it is not entirely uncommon for me to sporadically browse wedding dresses online, it’s never been done while I was dating someone.
A month after he declared that he wanted to die with my hands covering his eyes (yes those were his exact words), he called to tell me that he just didn’t think he had met his wife yet.
After the phone call, I had conversation after conversation with mentor, friend (and coffee shop girl) and we whittled the situation down to a much more manageable dagger to pull out from my heart. The dude had a classic case: fear of commitment coupled with mommy issues that have caused a stunt in his growth and maturity. There. That should have made me feel better, right?
While these things seemed to be true about him, I uncovered something more unsettling about myself. It was easier to call him out on the reasons he was incapable of seeing how awesome I was rather than face myself and my own struggle: I didn’t really believe I was awesome. BURN.
The truth is, when we are rejected by another we tend to use phrases like, “I guess he’s just not mature enough” or, “it’s cool, we aren’t really that compatible anyway” and these can certainly be valid. However, when used in the context of pain they are like masks we pull over ourselves to hide from the insecurities we have about ourselves.
Rejection is a great solvent to uncover what you really think about yourself.
We all take a step closer to the mirror after we’re rejected don’t we? We wonder what we did or said that was reason enough for the other person to end things with us. It can be as ridiculous as “It’s my bangs. He’s not a bangs kind of guy…I shouldn’t have cut them” or as profound as “I need to really conquer this people-pleasing obsession I have, I see how this was destructive to the relationship”. The latter makes us better. The former is where we get muddied because the reality is, we wouldn’t even bother going to the mirror if we really believed what we tell ourselves when things do end. We wouldn’t wonder what we did or said if the reason things ended really were due to his immaturity or her lack of compatibility and not an absence of our own self-confidence.
And the masks are quite useful. They work just like they’re supposed to: saving face; keeping us from looking foolish for having had faith in the possibility that this human was our forever just before we were put into the “sister”/”brother” zone. They’ve also got a great numbing property against the inevitable notion that creeps into all of our brains after rejection occurs; we aren’t good enough and we have nothing to offer someone. But numbing is just a form of coping and coping is just another way of getting by. As purposed bodies on this planet we should not merely be living to get by, we should be flourishing. A plant will not grow if, through the dirt, it cannot catch sunlight just as we will not grow if, through our own dirt, we cannot.
You need to hear this and you need to begin to believe it:
You are e n o u g h.
Regardless of your dirt, you are enough. Regardless of your past and the battle wounds you wear, YOU ARE ENOUGH. Let this be your sunlight. If someone does not choose you, let it have nothing to do with you unless it propels positivity in becoming a better human. Though painful, rejection should not have the adverse affect and if it does, question your choice not yourself.
The reality is that every time we pull on one of these masks we bury our pain and build up walls. Walls are much harder to climb than keeping an open doorway so that it can be entered by the right person.
I submit to you and encourage you, take off your mask. Let authenticity be your guide through not only the rejections of life, but also the ratifications. Acknowledge the power that your heart creates in making a (wise) decision whether it is reciprocated or not. If it is not reciprocated (nor wise) learn something about that decision- what does your choice say about you?
Know that you are worth it, believe that you are enough and allow yourself to learn things that can better help you navigate that next road with someone.