I was paid good money to talk to myself on national television about a topic I knew nothing about for four hours, a few times a week (and not have a panic attack).
I was 21 years old living in Austin, Texas working as a student/actress. Acting opportunities were slim (and pretty much all unpaid), so when a friend who was a cameraman for The Jewelry Channel asked me if he could pass my headshot on to his boss-man, I said heck yes — not expecting anything to come of it. I had no hosting experience and only owned costume jewelry.
Three weeks later I received a call from a chipper middle-aged man asking me to come in for an interview.
Because I was 21, I obviously stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before the interview drinking with my boyfriend. I woke up late, showered off the booze, guzzled coffee, and showed for the interview 20 minutes late. Winning?
I used to be shackled by distorted notions of the meaning of my vagina.
I thought it required I be docile, unconditionally pleasant, agreeable, subservient, visually appealing and shiny—but not too shiny—I wouldn’t want too much attention.
I didn’t know how to do any of that. I thought I was failing at femininity. But really, I was failing to grasp what true femininity was.
These were private fears. A secret shame in my feminine nature. My mother was, and is, a feminist who kept her last name when she married my father, worked passionately for Planned Parenthood and refused to be shoved into a box of archaic social expectations.
10% of each sale of the online childbirth course is now being donated to the non-profit organization Every Mother Counts– dedicated to lowering global rates of infant and maternal mortality by making pregnancy and childbirth safer for every mother.
It seems our minds have developed an unfortunate dependency on worry. In the blips of time when “everything is under control,” the mind kicks into overdrive, determined to find a problem to latch onto, a problem to worry about.
Then, the pellets of doubt begin to drop and we are eventually drowned in an all-consuming flood of ‘what-ifs?’
It’s frightening how easy it is for me to put a negative spin on the positive. My brain has a lifetime of wiring supporting the perpetuation of worry.
What gives? Why the ceaseless pounding of doubt and fear?
As a Hypnotherapist, and chronic worrier, I’ve discovered a common root to this conundrum- the inner critic, the voice of incessant chatter that feeds off of problems, real or perceived.
I call my voice Sheila, and she is quite unpleasant.
After years of allowing her volume to grow to a nauseating magnitude, and witnessing the same phenomenon in clients, I decided that something had to give. There were voices that needed to be silenced, or at least significantly minimized.
The following release work has supported myself, and many others, in turning the voices of our motley inner crew down from 10 to ‘Shh…’
Mindful Breathing– The rhythmic patter of steady breath offers a productive replacement to the, “No you can’t, not good enough, what if, I think you’re wrong, just give up.”
It’s difficult to live in a state of chaos when our body is checking into its healing room, via breath work.
Try it- take five deep breaths, inhaling to a slow count of 5, holding for 3, and exhaling to a slow count of 5.
Allow the body to sink deeper into the inner healing room with each breath.
Tapping- We have an electrical system running through our body via channels called meridians. When we have a negative thought our electrical system is disrupted.
Each of the meridians has an end point, and we can release the negative energy by tapping on these points. While tapping, we verbally state the negative followed by our positive preference.
For example, “Even though I am sad my boyfriend broke up with me, I know I am wonderful and worthy of love.”
While repeating the statement, tap 5-7 times in the following locations:
In between the eyebrows.
On the temples.
Underneath the eyes.
On the upper lip.
Below the lower lip.
On the collarbone.
Repeat this round three times.
Write out the worry and rip it up- It is profoundly cathartic to physically destroy a piece of negativity.
Write down your worry, regret, fear, anger, or other variety of negativity on a scrap of paper and rip it up into minuscule shreds, or burn it- I prefer the later.
Self Hypnosis– There are vibrant worlds of possibility waiting to be sparked in the mind, and manifested in our reality. When this occurs, there’s no space left for that jerky inner critic.
Honor time by taking a few moments of focused stillness to tap into these flames of positive manifestation and allow them to thrive.
Let’s take the first step into this voyage. After taking your five breathes, allow the vibrations of relaxation to flow through you, flushing out the muck of worry that has latched on to your being.
Begin to envision your thoughts as clouds passing through the sky of your mind. You can view these clouds with a clear perspective, but are not intertwined in them- you’re just observing them with curiosity.
You don’t feel, absorb, or analyze the clouds- you just allow them to float by.
The dark clouds do not stay to rain down worry, they pass just as quickly as the others- they don’t touch you.
When you’ve separated from these clouds, feel yourself drifting deeper within, to your inner sanctuary.
Do a song and dance routine- Sometimes we need to stop taking our problems, other people’s opinions, and ourselves so seriously. The best way to do this is act like a fool in love with life.
After you’ve moved through the fore mentioned release techniques stick that cherry on top by playing your jam and dancing like a fiend.
We’re able to invest as much, or as little, time as we like to this release work, the time does not matter, it’s the intention that holds the power.
When we first begin our practice the voice may follow us for a bit, questioning the state of comfort that we’re floating in. But, the voice will eventually lose its luster, relinquishing its dominance to our true essence, residing in our core- the true essence that is composed of all that is good in the world, and all the wonder that is waiting to bloom into existence.
Today I was subtly punched in the gut by rejection. On the off chance that the giver of said metaphorical punch reads this blog, I’ll keep the nature of my rejection description vague; I offered my services in a given area, to someone I know quite well, and received an 100 word, 1 word answer, ‘no.’ I had to read the ‘no’ multiple times before the gut punch fully landed; like I said, it was subtle.
The title of this post, ‘Finding Courage In Rejection,’ is not indicative of how I felt when it first hit me that I was being rejected, I felt the opposite of courageous; I felt deflated. Because I can occasionally be an emotional extremist I also felt foolish, naïve, totally bummed, and dare I say stupid about ever “putting myself out there” in the first place. Mind you, this stupid-bummed-ness only lasted a few moments, because I’m a veteran of rejection.
Back to the rejection at hand, I received my ‘no,’ and commenced my seven stages of rejection grief; shock that my earnest attempt to provide a service had been shut down, denial (‘did they mean to send this rejection to me?’,) bargaining with myself in regards to whether I was going to submit myself to more constructive angst and ask the rejecter why they rejected me, guilt that I was so wrapped up in this rejection when there are much bigger real problems in the world, anger (directed at self,) depression (‘what’s the point, I guess I should just give up,) and acceptance of the fact that I had been rejected, it ‘is what it is,’ and I needed to move on.
But today, something interesting happened, a stage was added to the process that served to inflate my previously mentioned deflated gut, courage. The rejection made me feel courageous! My eventual logic behind this newfound courage was as follows, ‘If I can be brave, reach out, and again, “put myself out there,” with the very real possibility of being rejected, get rejected, and survive (without turning into a pile of binge reality TV watching melted ice cream,) I could likely move through anything, and live to blog about the tale.’
I felt courageous, and still feel courageous. In the past, although I’ve successfully licked my wounds, inflated my gut with some carbs, and climbed back on that bucking proverbial horse, I never felt stronger after rejection, I just felt, ‘eh okay.’ It would take me awhile to risk the chance of rejection again, and although I would stick my heels in the sand to avoid regression, I wasn’t progressing, I was stuck in the sand, and occasionally had my head stuck in it as well.
Because I like lists, and need something somewhat tangible to lean on when I inevitably get socked by rejection again, I’ve made a ‘How to Find Courage in Rejection’ list!
I usually stop breathing for a few minutes after receiving a rejection, and although the dizzy high I experience from lack of oxygen can be fun, I can’t afford to lose those brain cells. Oh, and conscious breathing helps promote relaxation and clarity. Inhale for a count of 10, hold for 5, exhale to a count of 10. Rinse and repeat.
Don’t Take it Personally.
“The wise ones” would tell me “don’t take it personally,” when I experienced rejection in the past. That someone could utter such a preposterous notion that someone wasn’t telling you they thought you were incompetent, stupid, and of course ugly when they rejected you, was beyond me. Of course that’s what they meant, right?
Then one day, a wise woman asked, ‘How do you feel when you reject someone?’ Hmm, how do I feel? I certainly don’t think the person is incompetent, stupid, and ugly, with the exception of that one ex-boyfriend… kidding! She posed a whopper of a question. The times I’ve been on the giving end of the punch of rejection, I’m embarrassed to say I was thinking more of myself than the other person, even when the rejection was personal, versus professional. I wasn’t thinking much of the other person’s worth, capabilities, or appearance, I was thinking about what I needed in the moment, and if what they were offering served those immediate needs. Or maybe there were extenuating circumstances that caused the rejection. Point being, I’ve never rejected someone because of a flaw in who they were, or what they were capable of, I was just thinking of what I needed in my own life, in that instance; not personal.
Keep a ‘Yes’ List. Have you ever had someone spend 30 minutes telling you how amazing you are, and 1 minute telling you what you could do to be even more amazing? Then, you go home and obsess over how they spent 60 seconds giving you constructive criticism that your mind warped into, ‘You totally suck!’?
Why oh why is it so easy for us to harp on the negative and allow the positive to get sucked out our open window?
To combat this crazy-making phenomenon in my own life, I created a ‘Yes’ list a few years ago. On this list I record every last tiny-itty-bitty-titty ‘yes’ I’ve ever received. The ‘yes’ could have been a verbal yes, a metaphorical yes in the form of an accomplishment, an internal yes, or any other ‘yes-esque’ occurrence that made me feel great. Now, when I receive a ‘no,’ a rejection, a dose of constructive criticism, I look at my ‘Yes’ list after following my two aforementioned steps. You know what? It works every time, it reminds me that for every ‘no,’ I’ve likely had about 346 ‘Oh Yeahs!’ It’s like taking a yummy prescription perspective pill.
Learn from it. Yeah yeah, it’s trite to say ‘learn from it,’ but what’s the point if you don’t learn from the rejection? If everything was always hunky-dory and we were having a constant stream of smoke blown up our bottom, or incessant smooches to the tush, we wouldn’t really be growing would be? We’d be stuck, and would probably have a sore butt. Rejection, ‘no,’ and bummer-ness happens, and if we’re open to it, it can be the greatest source of growth, insight, and my favorite, courage. When we’re able to find the lesson in rejection it’s transformed from a source of forlorn to positive reform. The thrill we receive from acceptance is wonderful, but short-lived. The growth, insight, and courage we can absorb from rejection can imbed itself within us for a lifetime. The cool thing is, the more rejection we receive, the more we grow, and the more we grow, the more acceptance we attract. And with more acceptance comes the opportunity for much more rejection, isn’t that great?!
What did I gain from the rejection that inspired this post? A desire to increase my qualifications in a given area, do more research, get more practice, and get creative in how I elicit more ‘YES!’
Join with me in simultaneously giving rejection a big middle finger and a squishy bear hug, because yeah it sucks, but can also make us strong like bull.