It seems to me that we are going round and round in circles culturally, and unable to get beyond the painful, trauma inducing ways we have created. I know I am not alone in seeking ways to solve our problems and it has occured to me that perhaps what we need is not a new solution or a new program but perhaps we need a new story.
Rejection As A Story
We all experience rejection. As sensitive people, we all know so well the rejection that comes from being different. That is one form of rejection. Sometimes we experience rejection when seeking work. Another form of rejection. When we are learning something new, we become skilled through a trial and error process. When we make a mistake or fail it is because of an ineffective strategy. These are various ways in which we experience rejection of one form or another. When we experience rejection, we grieve our losses and then we re-engage with life. This is simply part of the process of life, as unpleasant as it can be sometimes.
Rejection offers us the opportunity to learn and grow, to make different choices, and to find our way towards those who values align with ours. It is part of creating a life that works for us and those around us. Life is meant to be trial and error. Rejection is simply part of that.
The natural rejection that comes as we make our way in life is not the same as what we are seeing acted out right now on the cultural stage. What we are seeing is different: it is rejection drama. Rejection drama is not the same thing as rejection which is natural. It is a pattern that creates specific results which are often harmful although not always obvious. This topic is especially important for sensitive people who may have their empathy activated when they bump into this pattern and they may not realize what is going on.
It is natural to feel at least some sadness when we experience rejection. However, with rejection drama, the dominant emotion is anger not sadness because rejection drama is built on patterns of entitlement. Human cultures have been creating hierarchical systems that privilege some over others for centuries. That privilege comes with entitlement. Thwarting that entitlement generates rejection drama (and worse) from those who do not accept rejection.
Some hierarchy has existed from our earliest days but it accelerated when we created the idea that humans have dominion over the earth. This idea separated us from nature, supported the idea of mind over matter – the separation of mind and body – and also reinforced systems of hierarchy that privileged men over women and some races over others.
You can see this kind of hierarchical rejection drama playing out all the time and it is especially overt at the moment. It is a demand for preferential treatment, an assertion of a right to be placed at the front of the line, an expectation to have one’s feelings and desires considered more important than those of others. It comes from a status expectation and an unwillingness to share the stage or the wealth with others.
Sensitive People And Rejection Drama
The rejection drama we are seeing played out right now is important for sensitive people to understand in order to distinguish between feelings about rejection and rejection drama which reinforces a hierarchy.
As a sensitive person it is hard to see others in pain. Many of us feel the pain of others and want to alleviate it. Being empathetic we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; after all, we know how rejection feels. Often we see the energy around rejection as a personal energy and that is where our empathy can lead us astray. Rejection pain does feel personal. If someone around us experiences rejection it is their issue and their pain to deal with although we can support them with our compassion. Rejection drama is different. Someone acting from rejection drama thinks their rejection is your problem because they are entitled to what they want.
It is important for sensitive people to look for entitlement around rejection to determine whether they are witnessing a natural pain or feelings based on entitlement.
Rejection As Story
Because of the long-term hierarchical structure of human culture, rejection and rejection drama have been major narratives of human life. It is a common theme in entertainment, literature, and preoccupations with stars and royals. The rejection story is what drives a lot of human aspiration.
Becoming aware of how much space these narratives take up in our psyche and energy is important if we are to thrive as sensitive people. We need to become more aware of rejection drama for our own personal well-being and because it is becoming more visible as we start to change the human story.
For some time we have been moving in the direction of greater diversity and inclusiveness. Rejection drama with its underlying entitlement supports privilege and hierarchy. It is on a collision course with the changes going on in our species. Many people, sensitive and non-sensitive, have been working on themselves: doing their inner work, learning more about how the world works, and developing their skills. They expect to have a voice in their lives. Not everyone is on board with opening up the cultural space to allow more voices to participate.
There is another reason to examine rejection as a story and ask if it is the right story for the times we live in. Hierarchy and rejection are themes of the important agenda of survival which has been the dominant agenda of our species for thousands of year. Hierarchies and rejection had a protective purpose in the past. Hierarchy was a means to share limited knowledge and resources in order to manage society. Rejection was a way to limit disease and other ills from reducing already limited population numbers. Many of the driving forces around these approaches have been handled. However that does not mean that those who are accustomed to privilege are giving way to more open societies.
Time For A New Story?
It is apparent that the structures and approaches of the past are not working any more. It seems to me that we need a new story to kindle our imaginations so that we can reinvent how we live and work together. It would be nice if we could release our imagination from the fear-based thinking of hierarchy and rejection drama and channel our energies differently. What would that look like?
What would it be like if
- we traded rejection for real and full inclusion including the inclusion of nature and non-human beings?
- joy was more important than winning?
- imagination was more important than conformity?
- showing up as our whole self was more important than looking good?
- the unfolding of life preempted the getting of goods, rewards etc.?
- we were able to live light on the land and each other by giving up this driven world we live in currently?
- passion replaced productivity?
I can imagine a world which is lighter in spirit and would like to live in such a world. Many people are already laying the foundation for this new way of life. Certainly the environment needs for us to lighten up.
What would you like to see in this new story? What would you like to work on to make it happen? What calls your imagination?
Can we make this a project? Can we write this new story? I would love to see us all do this together.