I boldly claim that we really have no idea, and can't readily perceive what rejected people look or act like. Sure, we can think of all sorts of things we see on TV, or news, or even someone on the side of the road holding a sign that says they are homeless and hungry. But the truth, well, my truth anyway, is that people are rejected because they fall short of 100% scale we impose on one another. A scale that really is a farce of an image in our minds. It's usually made up of cropped depictions from all sorts of places, experiences, impressions and perceptions. Somehow we manage to mesh these all together and come up with what we believe is our concept of a perfect, none rejectable, fully acceptable human. And when a person doesn't match up to that image, we reject them...at least certain parts of them. Bullied kids would say this sort of sectioned rejection is true. Women and girls would share that this is true about their gender, their body size and shape, ethnicity and even personality. Men have their list too. In fact, if you Google "men's rejection fears" you will get a slew of posts saying that men simply fear rejection. In other words, a lot of men are afraid of rejection, period.
But what does rejection really look like...
I'm surrounded by some of the best "rejects" I can imagine. My husband for example was the funny man in school. He was accepted as the good guy, the likeable guy. He had/has good looks blended with a comedian's personality and gobs of charisma. He is literally the guy that everyone likes and has no enemies. But back in highschool, he was regularly positioned into the "friend zone" with the girls. He couldn't get a girlfriend to save his life! Poor guy...
So, on one hand, he was accepted, and the other, he was regularly, heartbreakingly rejected. He could have chosen bitterness, or a self absorbed "playa/hustler" route, but it just wasn't in him...no matter his pain and experience with rejection.
My best friend experienced a different type of rejection during her high school/school years. Today, she's a loyal friend, with a very genuine heart and a full life. She also has a continuing thirst to improve herself, and a drive to give out to the world the gift of acceptance. However, some of these parts of her heart are because while growing up, her experiences with friendships were minimal. I believe the reason my friend ended up rejected more than accepted is because she had a powerful protective guard around herself. Today, she would tell you that she had always wanted to experience friendships and connections with people, but to do so meant she would have to make herself vulnerable to others. And for the life and home she was growing up within that would be like asking a homeless person to get naked and stand in front of you before you feed and help them...it won't happen...and honestly, it shouldn't have to happen.
She too could have chose an angry, bitter route. And she did for her early years of adulthood, but now, and for many years, she has chosen the courageous way of self-reflection and a journey to healing.
There is a secret I've found with rejects ~which is pretty much every person on planet earth ~ and that is that you have to be courageous and loyal enough to share and walk WITHIN their secrets and self protections. With my husband, what girls were not attracted to in highschool, I found to be an enduring faithfulness in a man. One who is fun and abounds with friendship and true, loyal love. There has never been a dull moment in our lives, or our house, as long as he is around.
With my best friend, I stumbled upon a life-passionate person, who regularly goes about making this world better for herself and for others. She would give you her heart even if it meant she'd suffer for doing so. She optimizes someone who, even with tears, will stand up under every failure and try and try again. And that safeguard she had around herself for all of those years, ended up being a fantastic shield that she now surrounds her loved ones with when they need to be protected.
Now THAT is how you take rejection, balance it, and then make it work for you and those you love. :0)
My personal rejection problem...
I make a terrible first impression. Yikes! That might not sound like such a bad thing, but it certainly can add up to regular rejection pains and some serious broken self esteem. They say the problem with first impressions is that you hardly ever get to go back and make up for them...and I've found this to be so very true.
Now, it isn't because I'm unprofessional or anything of the sort. In fact, though it's been explained to me, I still can't figure out why I'm easily rejected the first time a person meets or is introduced to me. Some have explained that it is because I look mad. Others say it's because I look over confident. And still, others say it's just an air about me that says "tread carefully."
But for me, it seems I'm trapped in two worlds. Basically, on one hand I know a lot of people (mostly because I grew up all over the world), and I am comfortably acknowledged within groups that already know me...thankfully. But that type of acceptance definitely won't/didn't happen on their first impression or encounter with me. And sometimes, not for a few encounters afterward. In fact, in person, I tend to make people uneasy, which in turn makes me uneasy. It happened to me just last week while I was at a public event. I'd purposefully worked to overcome a fear of mine, which was to go to an event all by myself, with no one to lean on and no coat tails for first impressions to ride. I sat in my car before going in and put on my best smile. I took deep breaths and told myself to release good energy and vibes. But it still happened...the people I spoke to hardly made eye contact with me, and for sure wouldn't carry on any small talk, no matter how much I tried to turn on the charm. The very charm I've tried to learn/steal from my charismatic husband.
(I still had a fantastic time at the event, regardless. I just had a fantastic time alone...a state I don't mind being in. Plus, I conquered a fear!) :0)
Bottom line, people don't really care for me until they actually have a conversation with me and hear how I think and feel. When they find that I overflow with empathy and compassion that is usually the moment they realize I am safe, trustworthy, and exactly the opposite of my easily miss perceived exterior and countenance.
So you see... I happen to like rejects. I am one. And my life is filled with them! Gloriously filled to overflowing with people who somehow, not sure how, gave me permission ~after the first impression~ to know and share in their vulnerable, goofy, lovable, and totally loyal selves.
I happen to love the rejects of the world....so I decided to write a book about one.
*A friend once told me, "If I've ever encountered a person that was born a Warrior, it's you." And my best friend, the one I spoke of above, says that I am all Warrior on the outside, but with a "soft squishy middle." And I agree. I'm short and fierce, with a tender heart and uber empathy...to which I would give up none of these in order to make a good first impression.*
Something that helps greatly...I write. :0) This way people hear me before they encounter me.