The Opposite Of Rejection Is NOT Acceptance

Rejection and the fear of rejection has been a big driver of human behavior in the past and today.

Not all rejection is equal. Some rejecting is natural as when you reject wearing a raincoat on a sunny day. Some rejections come from social hierarchies and pecking orders that advantage some over others. We need to understand more about it to master the energy dynamics they create.

The Power Of Social Rejection

We learn about ourselves through our interactions with others. Feedback tells us a lot about what is acceptable and what is not. It is these interactions when we are young that provide a foundation, for better or worse, for our self-perception. What is encouraged in us is what is allowed or encouraged in our culture or social group. One of the reasons it is hard to change is because stepping outside accepted ideas about who and what we can be, often mean we have to give up our belonging. Being ourselves, then, can come with a lot of rejection.

We need social support to survive. That reality will never go away. And what is supportable is not fixed. Early human societies could support little of what we take for granted today. If you lived in a hunter-gatherer society, you would have been rejected for proposing building a skyscraper. There is a reality basis for that. Early human societies had men assigned protection and hunting work, while women had foraging and childcare tasks. People did not live long, and there were innumerable dangers, so women having children was a top priority.

That was then, and this is now, but these values from older human societies still have a lot of weight in the modern psyche. Because we had little in the way of resources, skills, and protections as a species in our early history, humans felt their dependency and modeled their social structures to address their dependency on nature and each other. Therefore, leaving a group, for instance, carried severe penalties, including death. We still see this today when people marry outside their tribe in some parts of the world.

What Heals Rejection?

Because we are rejected when we step outside of what is allowed in our social group, we often look for the acceptance we did not receive. We want to have our real nature seen, embraced, and valued. Most often, that is not the case. The desire for acceptance does not have to be for something extreme, as we know. Boys expressing their emotions and girls their ambition is all it takes to activate rejecting messages.

We can wait a lifetime for an acceptance that will never come. People whose ideas about what is acceptable may not ever recognize others who are different in some way, and that may include the good in them. As a result, so many people carry a sadness because their whole nature and the good in them are not seen and appreciated.

Even if we are accepted by those who do not appreciate us, we can feel reluctance or resistance in their energy. What we need to realize is that these ideas about what is acceptable come from a dependency that is built into what is considered OK. When we step out of social norms, we activate feelings related to beliefs about dependency and real needs that may not be true, but they are there nonetheless.

So what do we do with this? There is an important shift that releases us from the dynamics of rejection and seeking acceptance. We need to see the opposite of rejection not as acceptance but as self-determination. Self-determination takes us out of co-dependence and makes space for what we bring to the table and makes space for the same in others. It also makes our personal growth welcome and the growth of others also. It encourages thriving and also the collaboration and co-creation that lets us create thriving together. It is a win-win type of arrangement rather than the win-lose dynamic of codependency. It is freeing and also energetically satisfying for everyone. Give it a try!

Photo by Dibakar Roy on Unsplash

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