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“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.”
There is one alternative that is worse than being rejected, and that’s rejecting yourself by your unwillingness to be rejected. A hard rejection is often insufferable, but what about the alternative? A sharp, pain-stinging to-the-face rejection can completely discompose you, even put you in a state of profound shock – it contuses your ego, and at the very least, it undermines the image you have of yourself. That image you hold very dear, you find a sure solace within its confines. Undeniably most people uphold a very particular perception of themselves, and when their image is stunned and devastated, what’s the reaction? A disconcerting disturbance, a tenacious irritation that leads to resentment.
The indignation that stems from rejection always tends to carry some self-reproach and culpability, for you feel as if you’ve missed a good time that could have been advantageous. Who likes to miss a brush of fortune? Chances come and go, but when an opportunity is missed by our own omission or blunder, it pricks a little deeper with the knowledge that our lack has revealed itself to be annoyingly vain, even a nuisance to our potential pleasure. To be granted pleasure, as a matter of fact, is to overcome your own embarrassment, as the hurdles that precede pleasure are not only an outside game, but an inside war with your own imperfections. Had we been devoid of our imperfections, however, the game would not be half as entertaining or riveting. Your imperfections are an essential entrance, a portal to accumulate the fitting experience to make headway. For it is our flaws that suggest to us what skills are called for, and what weak points must be burnished to conquer the barriers that tug and usher us in the direction of failure, but ultimately, prosperity.
The Bite of Rejection
In truth, a very small minority of people get a kick out of being rejected, and even when they do get a kick out of it, they still feel its edge pricking their skin. It is, then, what follows that bite of refusal that determines the depth of suffering you will have to endure. In other words, it is your subsequent judgement and understanding that decides how much suffering you will carry with you. And since a great deal of our suffering happens in our head, we must at once turn away for a moment and carefully purge our senses before allowing our imagination to turn a perfectly peaceful, plain sailing present into an intolerable nightmare. Why do you have to be so miserable as to allow your imaginings to completely dull your senses and wash out what you see before your eyes? Why must you keep rejecting acceptance itself as a consequence of suffering the sting of refusal? The affliction tied to non-acceptance only worsens your shape, it doesn’t salvage a painful rejection or make it any more supportable.
Straighten your ego in such a way that it doesn’t give rise to needless suffering, and make it robust enough that it diminishes the force of outside events, so that other people’s actions are not a determinant of your spiritual state – then you can have inner tranquility even when there is a whirlpool of chaos befalling you outside. This is what you could call the path of the sage; preserving total composure and sanity even amid catastrophes of the highest order. This kind of indifference is stoic in nature, but also manful and honourable. No protest, no complaint, no theatrics. Such a man is an exceptional precedent of self-mastery, for he has went beyond his own passions and shortened their timespan – he teared down their eloquence and reclaimed total presence of mind. Your ego is a tool, if you wield it properly it will lend a hand to your other attributes, but if you let it run wild, it will subvert even your finest virtues. Goodness is always curtailed by egotism. To preserve the virtue of your own forte, let’s say, you must curb your egocentricity and cultivate a marked degree of humility and modesty. Strong points are amplified and venerated when they are finely softened by a resourceful courtesy and modesty that neither affronts nor repels those who can expand your stature.
Recollecting Our Ugliness & Disillusionment
That is the moral, then, to always stop yourself from rejecting a likely rejection, with the knowledge that the former gradually turns you into an apprehensive coward, and the latter into a brave victor, a man worthy of admiration. But often, we have a deep rooted fear with being rejected, say by a woman, or being refused a job, because it does, in fact, remind us of our own insufficiency, and we don’t want to be reminded of it. We don’t want to look in the mirror, because we run the risk of remembrance; that is, of recollecting our ugliness. Rejection thus brings about a sharp lack of ambiguity, a clarity to things that were previously forgotten or dismissed. This concentrated clarity can lead to a deep process of disillusionment, where you abruptly start to see things clearly and with a perspicuity that you’ve never previously come into contact with. Almost by sheer chance, but of course, such things don’t really happen by chance, you start to discern things precisely as they are, as if the veil that concealed this refined knowledge has been lifted and your eyes have been decontaminated, absolved of the dust and mud that made it difficult to distinguish and appreciate the value, say, of being turned down by a woman who’s still a stranger to you, or of being declined a job opening.
What previously caused you much upset and disconcert starts to seem rather trivial, insignificant and not worthy of your worry whatsoever. However, the curious thing about disillusionment is thus; it often demands that a man acutely suffers a terrible, harmful, or even destructive rejection to induce such a heightened state of consciousness. In truth, there is a price to be paid for an expansion of awareness and comprehension of higher knowledge, thus it often costs us copious suffering and torment to prompt this transfiguration and elevation of awareness. Whether we want to accept it or not, we come here to suffer, and that is the price we pay for our pleasures. Rejection is bitter, it fills one with anger, it sours the water, it alienates with a violent poison. But unless you go through with it and experience it first hand, you can’t really prevail over its bitterness, because man learns best by experience and unless he comes into direct contact with its tartness, he’ll never extract the insight and at that, he’ll never deliver himself from its power over him.
Rejection is Delusory
Oddly, once man has gone through with it, he’ll quickly find out it’s not as bad as he imagined it to be. Slowly, as he starts to familiarise himself with its taste, it gradually starts to lose its force and the power starts to be handed back to him, not because he didn’t have it to begin with, but because he didn’t actualise it. Unless a man actualises his power by practice, he is inclined to doubt himself by a lack of knowledge. More often than not, people are liable to doubt themselves because they haven’t recognised to what extent their capacity can be serviceable. For that reason, they obsessively tend to uncertainty with the horror that their ability will betray them, that it will stab them in the back. In this respect, this kind of terror has a very clever means of deceiving a person into believing they lack potential and talent, even if this isn’t the case at all. This is why confrontation with rejection is so telling, it sheds light on things that have been hidden in the dark while parrying our doubt, uncertainty and hesitancy.
I can speak for myself, for I have, in the past, been so disturbed, so confounded by uncertainty, impatience and disquiet that I managed, by my instability and folly, to turn a perfectly peaceful state of affairs into a pervasive insomnia that knows no end. So hell bent was I, of ridding myself the torments of rejection, that I actually didn’t rid myself of anything whatever; I suffered a dense blow to the head, a different and agonising load. It felt to me as if my head is blowing apart, dissolving into despair, failing and falling into a very dark emptiness that, paradoxically, carried a terribly heavy weight. Intense sensations such as this are difficult to master, they prey on you so quietly, illusively and without prior announcement. You would have yourself believe you know what you’re getting yourself into when you first ponder that thought, but maybe not. Maybe, after all, it came to you because you need it and it ought to violently bully you into submission until you seize the meaning; that could mean tireless anxiety, attacks of intolerable panic, intense outrage, deep lamentations, or deprivation of sleep. Ironically, such dreadful lows have, interestingly enough, a certain lively high to them that makes you feel a little bouncy or animated. A very passionate weep, for instance, is extremely releasing and reinstates your spirit, followed by a calm restfulness that brings a pleasant comfort and contentment.
A Metaphysical Secret
I would like to think that repudiation has, in many ways, evoked in memory my own self-imposed limitations and naturally impelled me to question them in a different light. In other words, it helped me along in figuring out where my great confusion and reluctance and unease is coming from. It then brought about suggestions and overtones that point to the keys that I previously didn’t have the courage to avail myself with. The journey of life moves in mysterious ways, and we often can’t comprehend the extent to which our very being and happening is thoroughly and profoundly melodic and congruous with everything that is happening outside ourselves. And I suppose, that is one of the great metaphysical secrets; that everything transpiring inside and outside is a unity, a balanced happening, an undulating and immense consciousness. This is why, I believe, it is terribly important that we don’t forget ourselves, mislaying our most supreme identity in the fumes of propaganda and indoctrination, pretending to ourselves that we are something other than what we actually are. Such ignorant forgetfulness and self-deception are the cause of a great deal of our suffering.
Let us remember, then, that repudiation should not be taken earnestly, making us overlook the clear and concrete that lies at foot. Don’t hold yourself in too high a regard that you make your self-importance work at odds with your good. You must establish yourself in reason and good judgement, and solidify your ego enough that trivialities no longer hinder your composure, no longer cause you upset and annoyance. The way you caution yourself against a puffed up ego is by tending, attentively, to ruthless honesty with yourself, and unreservedly accepting your own inadequacies, so they don’t transfix you into inferiority and immobility, everlastingly suspending that part of you that is so full of promise.
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