“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
Up to a certain point in my life, I was always seeking approval and validation from everything outside of me. All I ever wanted was to feel loved. I longed for this feeling and wondered how the world could be so cruel as to reject me when I was so loving and available. I have since learned that I was not as available as I thought. It has been my experience that everyone that crosses our path is a mirror. They have come because we have called them into our lives to show us something about ourselves and to teach us how to be more of who we truly are.
Our higher selves crave relationship experiences that challenge us , because ultimately, this journey we call life is all about discovering what we are capable of, and finding everything we want we already have within us. Ultimately, it’s about waking up.
Over many years of things not turning out the way I expected or wanted them to, and feeling as though my efforts
weren’t translating into the outcomes I expected, I finally understood that life is happening for us, not to us. When I experienced rejection in my external world, it was only because there were places where I was rejecting myself. This means I was vibrating on the same frequency as rejection. As long as I rejected myself, I continued to attract people and situations that rejected me, because we attract the people, places, and things that are a vibrational match to ourselves. This was especially devastating when it came to betrayal.
When I embraced reality about my responsibility for what was happening to me something inside of me shifted, and so did it match a shift in what came my way. I have the choice to sink into my truth and be available to the pain I feel; and then to use it as a tool for healing. By embracing reality I can process what is actual and true, not imagined, feared, or longed for, feel the appropriate emotions rather than denying them and going numb, truly grieve for the unrealized dreams and the losses, and come up with a new plan based on what is rather than what we wished it would be.
Sometimes it may seem so much easier to blame someone else for our pain, frustration, disappointments, failures, rejections, and betrayals than it is to take responsibility, but in reality it is an illusion that will sap our energy as it robs us of our power. My taking responsibility for our lives, we become much more active and engaged, examining our lives, finding the lessons and therefore the meaning in what happens and converting it into fuel for our growth. If we have the courage to live examined, conscious and authentic lives we understand that things are happening for us and not to us, and that everything is intended for our greater good. Change comes from pain, and the pain in our lives is the pain we called into our lives ourselves so that we could locate all the barriers that were keeping us from love, intimacy, joy, prosperity, connection, and good health.
I was repeatedly rejected by my parents, but I pushed the pain down and repressed many of the memories, but the experiences were still lodged inside of me making me a target for other relationships of inevitable harm. This was how I ended up in an abusive marriage with a man who would be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. As difficult as it is to imagine while inside of a destructive relationship, I can now see that my first marriage was actually meant to heal my psyche and my soul. As much as I wanted someone to love me, I had to learn to love myself and I had to see how strong I could be. It took great courage to do this, but if I had not, I would still be stuck repeating my old cycle of attracting people who would end up being emotionally unavailable, and increasingly destructive.
I no longer live with a cognitive dissonance where the person I know I am or know I want to be doesn’t match what is happening or what I am doing on the outside. This is living without integrity, and it is a primary cause of depression (tied with outright hopelessness or not having the power to affect change in your own life which is what happens when we believe we are victims). As long as I continue to live with integrity and allow myself to feel all the associated fear I am rewarded with progress, and it is progress not perfection that gives us a sense of well being.
Anger was once a rejected, denied, and unacceptable emotion and I was disallowed to express it, so it was easier not to feel it. When at 33 years old the largest artery in my heart dissected and nearly killed me I knew it did not go away. I didn’t believe I was worthy of better treatment so had no right to feel anger when I was repeatedly abused, and if I had not proven to myself just how worthy of love, kindness and connection I was it would have continued to prevent me from attracting the level of intimacy that I desperately needed.
I couldn’t extricate myself from my abusive relationships with my family and ex husband so rejection was the only way for me to break through the walls I’d put up over the years. I had to love myself enough to fight for my life while nearly everyone I loved betrayed and abandoned me. It was the most painful experience of my life, even more painful than losing my son if you can believe that, but it is because I learned so much about myself and the world during those painful years that I was able to handle the death of my son with such grace. If Noah had died before I stood up and fought for all three of us, before I saved us, and proved to myself and my sons how much I loved them, and how powerful that love made me, Noah’s death would have surely irrevocably broken me. Instead I was strong enough to survive it and to even turn it into motivation to help others. Everything that happened was for my own good.
Now, I have no shortage of love in my life, but that only became true once I stopped rejecting, betraying, abusing, and lying to myself. So, next time you feel unappreciated, mistreated, or rejected, do yourself a favor and ask yourself how could this situation and these people be showing you the obstacles keeping you from being your best self, and keeping you from experiencing the love, peace, and joy you long for. Start seeing your darker emotions as signs that you are in the midst of an opportunity to grow. Remember—our external world is only a reflection of our internal world, not the other way around. What does your internal world look like? To change within is to change without.