Three people in my circle of friends experienced painful rejection of some kind over the past couple weeks. When I get rejected, my first impulse is to start making a list of the things I think caused it (not beautiful enough?, not skinny enough?, not articulate enough?) and start a self-improvement plan. Like get busy and don't stop moving until this problem is SOLVED.
I came across a quote the other week with a different approach- the approach of a school that takes a more mindful, self-accepting path... because after all, complete acceptance of self is the proof of presence. It shows we're able to stand with the good and bad that arise and "alchemize" the traits we want to "cut off" from ourselves through presence into love.
Almost everyone is continually dealing with rejection in some form. Most people constantly reject their emotions: “I’m feeling anger now . . . I shouldn’t feel anger. I’m feeling weak . . . oh, that’s terrible. I’m feeling love . . . I definitely can’t feel that; that person’s married!” Whatever’s arising that we think we don’t want, we reject it—we don’t want to experience it. And we want to be casual about it, too; we’d like to deal with those feelings as though we were sweeping dirt off a floor. But what we think of as the dirt is us. That’s because nothing exists outside of our experience, our own consciousness. Your experience is not like the contents of a purse that you can throw away. Experience is the actual fabric of the purse—so if you try to throw part of your experience away, you are tearing yourself apart.
The more you reject something in yourself, the more you tear yourself apart—because that something is you. It doesn’t matter what it is—hatred, or frustration, or love, or grandiosity, or anything else; if you’re trying to push it away, sweep it away, get rid of it, what results is a tremendous tearing apart of the soul. It affects you that way even though you don’t know it.
From The Unfolding Now: Realizing Your True Nature through the Practice of Presence, ch. 8, p. 89
Today as I was coming home for lunch, I found myself mentally making a list of changes I needed to make to myself, and I remembered to take a breath in, see where it landed in the body, and sense into the tightening of my muscles.
Change is good, but not if it's motivated by fear of rejection or aversion to ourselves. I think it was Maya Angelou who said something like "everyone's greatest wish is that, wherever they go in the world, that they may be at home." I couldn't find it on google, but that was the gist of it.