Rejection hurts on any level and in any space: in real life or online.
It can sometimes feel like getting pelted in a downpour of hail when someone’s response to you, or lack thereof, blares rejection.
And let’s face it, braving offering our individuality– the who we are– is a risk, especially in new connections, and I’d offer especially connections made amidst social communication tools like twitter and facebook.
Rejection — as indifference or as criticism — is painful.
In an actual hail storm, most of us don’t waste time wondering “hmm how long will I brave it out here while these pellets pound me?” Most of us probably race for some kind of shelter to get out of harm’s way.
But in relationships, especially online, when the pellets of hail bombard us, we may be a bit more hesitant to take shelter, or worse, we may try to brave the pellets longer than necessary. And if so we may end up choosing behaviors we wouldn’t otherwise choose offline:
- ignoring comments
- unfriending someone with little or no explanation why
- haulting our efforts altogether.
We sometimes forget that we can choose to brave any interaction online because we already have our shelter with us.
Time and again, I remind myself: “Tre, remember: you’re taking your shelter with you. You’re already wearing your armor.”
What do I mean?
Our shelter or armor we each have 24/7:
The shelter we each take with us, the armor we’re wearing is our conviction: what we have to offer is enough.
Now I’m not suggesting that day in and day out of interacting using social communication tools feels like a constant downpour of hail. But I am suggesting that we are not ever vulnerable to the pain or sting of pellets when they bombard…whether the pellets are our own fear of ‘will I be enough’ or whether the pellets are actual derogatory comments or just flat out no responses from others.
Our shelter is this conviction–the who you are and the what you offer–is enough.
Ask yourself: do I believe this? Am I bringing this conviction with me each time I am online and really each time I go anywhere?
And more, ask yourself: Do I value this truth in someone else’s offering as well?
This is not self absorption or conceit. And it’s not pollyanna everybody hold hands and sing “I’d like to teach the world to sing” (though that still is a great song and a great goal: who wouldn’t wanna grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves while teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony, furnishing it with Love baby Love? ) ahh…but I digress….
Back to our shelter: This is deep awareness that the who you are matters and what you have to offer is enough.
Because it is. And you wouldn’t be offering your offer if it wasn’t.
Yes, it may need tweaking and fine tuning.
Maybe you’ve only just opened up accounts on facebook and twitter.
Maybe you have zero idea how to sync them altogether (newsflash: lots of folks are still learning how).
Maybe it feels hard and scary and unknown and what if you’ll seem like a dork or a total newbie and what if others wonder “what the heck is she doing here?”
I get it. I’ve felt all of those things and sometimes I still do. I’ve embarrassed myself, been too verbal sometimes, too in your face other times, I stick my foot in my mouth at least once a week if not more. I’ve lost some awesome followers because of it.
But I’m still trying. Still aiming for that balance between listening and output according to my sense of ebb and flow, no one else’s. Because that’s the beauty: you really do get to be your own judge of how to create your presence.
Maybe the what you have to offer is still in it’s budding stages of presentation that’s not yet bloomed to its fullest.
You and your offering still matter. You and your individuality are still worthy of braving an online presence for yourself because who you are and what you have to offer is enough.
Next: How I take my shelter or armor with me:
Well, there’s no quick fix, surely, but here’s what I’m starting to do more and more that’s really helping me:
1) Stop going out and standing in the hail.
Big wake up call: Hail pelts. Snow freezes. Fire burns.
I’m not suggesting the landscape of social communication tools is a battle field. Not one bit.
I am suggesting you weigh each interaction and really strive to get behind your why for your interaction.
Look at your motive. Look at the motive of the person trying to engage you. Is it genuine? Is there some kind of personal agenda attached?
Lots of folks seek to engage if and only if they want something from me: a comment, attention poured out to them, me to follow or sign up for their program. In short, a lot of attempted engagement occurs motivated by someone’s ego. And frankly I don’t want to engage with someone that way. I wouldn’t in public and I don’t online.
Think showing up to an event and someone introduces herself: “Hi I’m Victoria and today I’m presenting over there in salon A. Come and listen and clap a ton when I’m all finished Okay? It would meant the world. Kay? Kisses. Bye.”
And off she goes to lure another attendee. Um. No. Thanks.
Okay….It would mean the world to her so much she (or he, this has happened with both men and women):
a. forgot to even ask your name,
b. didn’t take a moment to read your blog
c. didn’t ask you about your work and what you offer,
d. flits off after a fake hug and a kiss in the air.
Sound like high school? (Big reveal: I starred at Patti Simcox in the drama production Grease, otherwise known as queen fake – a – lot pretend to care about everyone just so she’d earn their attention/votes/attendance at the prom).
Yeah, yeah, you remember the type.
And I acted her character rather well actually. Because it was just that: acting.
Real life — on or offline — isn’t acting, at least not for this kiddo.
So, I always ask myself: Have you interacted with this person before? Do you know what she/he blogs about, what is her/his pitch?
Are his or her responses typically derogatory or self soliciting?
And if so, is interaction necessary? (Really? For whom?)
I used to hope certain people would change, especially in real life. And, yes, I even thought my efforts might change them, “if only I could just show them my heart, my motive, my innermost desires well enough, somehow they’d wake up and validate my efforts.”
For years, I felt convinced their pellet responses were on account of my inability to show my heart fully enough.
Hear me? I blamed myself for not getting the responses– the validation and approval–from those I thought I needed it. I convinced myself that I was doing something wrong, that something was wrong with me when they shunned or rejected or ridiculed my offerings. Even when indifferent.
And I used to run after folks like Victoria after her sales pitch and actually offered “Wait, you didn’t ask about my blog, my post or my offering. Don’t you want to know? And to my shock (I know, I was naive) by then Victoria was enmeshed in luring her next batch of sheep.
I’ve had to learn the hard way. Many folks are not online looking for equal participation and exchange. Many only want to be on stage and win their prize.
Rejection can play with your thoughts like that.
And the truth? No one’s approval or acceptance really ever offers lasting validation.
Substantial and lasting approval come from within, from so knowing that who you are matters and what you have to offer – now – is enough.
We need to give ourselves approval.
And we can also give ourselves permission to avoid the hail storms.
2) If it starts to hail, remember: you’re already wearing your armor:
Sometimes we don’t have a choice, or we do something for the greater good–like braving a family reunion or contributing our perspective to an important discussion–even though there’s folks amidst it who continuously shun our offerings.
Or sometimes when we least expect it, maybe we tweet something that invokes a negative response. Maybe someone attacks us on a blog-post or calls us and slings hateful comments over the blackberry, as happened to Erin @queenofspain this past weekend.
And the blows can feel painful and knock us down for the count for a few hours or days or weeks even.
In those moments, having friends rally to support matters much, but even then, what I’ve found time and again: we have to rally within and remember that armor.
We’ve got to nurture our hearts and remember our why and bathe our wounds in that conviction that who we are matters, that what we have to offer is enough.
And we have to get back on the horse, get back out in the scene, and stand. Because ultimately, what we overcome again and again strengthens us, ensures our triumph, and inspite of the pain, allows us to prove we can’t and won’t be extinguished by hatred, jealousy, apathy, or indifference.
So when we encounter unexpected hail pellets, it’s vital to shift our mindset and remember our armor: Who I am is enough. What I offer matters.
3) Seek out sunnier climes
The real heroes shun the hatred and rally anyway. We see this in history. We’ve probably seen it in our own lives time and again.
If you truly believe you are enough what can’t you overcome?
Trust me I get the pushback exhaustion that wants to cave it and give up trying or go back to waitressing and house cleaning, something safe where I’m not out in the midst of potential harm’s way.
Some would call me queen of being rejected. But I like to hope that whether deserved or not, I’ve learned something from each rejection.
Mainly, I’ve learned: keep pressing on. Those who seek what you have to offer will find you. And you will find them. And tweak what you must and how you must but do not give up your life dream. Ever.
Light attracts light. And no matter how dim we feel our light is at times, it’s shining and may even be helping someone else press on this very moment.
To the degree we stop dwelling on the stings from the hail, we’ll be that much more able to seek out the sunnier climes.
Be so completely open to allowing yourself space to seek out newer, sunnier climes.
No matter how much opposition and resistance you meet, don’t shut down your offer, the gift that is your individuality.
Know your why. Nothing anyone says or does can rob you of 100% conviction that who you are right this moment matters and all that you have to offer does too.
Simple truth: You don’t need anyone’s approval, not parents, not siblings, not close friends. You need to know you have approval already, simply for the who you are. Lean on that. Give it to yourself.
So what do you think?
What’s helped you shelter from pellets of hail storms — on or offline?