Judge Me Not #2 – Rejection

Your not so average reviewer is back, after a second session under Greenwings Psychology Centre, helmed by the Centre’s psychologist. This session was very different from the first in a number of ways, despite it being done in a programme series, “Judge Me Not”. Let me dive right into it. For starters, it was a much smaller and more intimate virtual session this time around, as a number of participants were unable to attend. That didn’t stop the session from being interactive and cathartic for those who did manage to make it, including myself.

Rejection, when given the chance to define, was something we all defined as a feeling we experienced when someone rejected us. From social groups to relationships to job applications, we all described it based on our own experiences.

The psychologist posed a deep question, “why didn’t anyone define rejection from the perspective of rejecting something or someone? Has no one ever rejected anything before?” This set the wheels in motion to think of how we have rejected sales people hounding us to buy something or sign up for something, how as hiring managers, we have also rejected candidates, or how we have all rejected would-be suitors in the past.

Thus, rejection is part of our daily life, and we hardly think about how the choices we make are a form of rejection to someone else. So why should some types of rejection affect us more than others? What is it that we should self-reflect upon, in terms of personal or childhood trauma, that led to our reactions in the face of rejection? It was interesting to note how being rejected or not validated as a child perhaps, for not performing well in school, led us to believe that we only deserve love when we are good enough. Who defines good enough or sets the benchmark? And until then, are we not worthy of love? Or even how overprotective parents might reject our childhood requests, which make us feel regret for the experiences we did not get to have. Or even rebel against those rules and create an environment of mistrust at home.

It stemmed a lot of different emotions for the ladies, who bravely came forward to share their stories of rejection, how it made them feel, and how it affects their choices afterwards and their own self-confidence. Unpacking those emotions, raw and painful, was not an easy task. I truly believe the safe space created for the ladies, gave them the courage to speak up and be heard. To truly feel those emotions and acknowledge them instead of brushing them aside.

My takeaway from this session, as I brush my tears away and bravely type this: Rejection is inevitable. But allowing it to define us and stop us from trying again, limits the potential we have inside, that remains untapped because we allow ourselves to be imprisoned by imaginary walls. And what is true freedom, if we deny it to ourselves?