Look for Acceptance (not Rejection) and You’ll Find it in “Bits of Light in the Room”

30 Jul

Life can be variously wonderful, heartbreaking, exhilarating, depressing, emotional, and meh – and sometimes (for those of us who empathetically take in the energy of those around us) all at the same time.

I’ve always been highly sensitive to the emotions and needs of those around me, to a fault:  heartbreaks or injustice in the world can bring me to tears.  My empathetic sensitivity has been a lifelong source of rejection from parents/family/friends/lovers who lament “Toughen up, you’re too sensitive.”

Only recently did I discover that empathy is a gift to the world – and that there are many, many sensitive people who give their positive emotional energy to the world.   It’s a new concept to know that acceptance (and self-acceptance) of sensitivity is possible!

Last week, when discussing new (and innovative) business ideas with a friend, I mentioned that I procrastinate because of (the possibility of) rejection.  He told me to “Focus on the bits of light in the room” – meaning that my focus was misdirected… So, instead of looking at the darkness in the room (those who will reject new ideas), focus on the bits of light — and make them brighter.

Wow!

Coupled with an idea spawned by a CD by Brene Brown (I can’t remember which one… She stated “Whatever you look for, you’ll find… if you look for rejection, you’ll find it.  If you look for acceptance, that’s what you’ll find.”) – I came up with “The Acceptance Experiment.”

The Acceptance Experiment

So, I took two seemingly unrelated concepts:  Bits of Light, and Look for Acceptance, and did an experiment.  After a lifetime of watching for (and trying to protect myself from) rejection, I started looking for (and focusing on) Acceptance and Bits of Light in the room.

I’m happy to report positive results – everywhere I look I’m finding more and more acceptance!  Where I once saw only the dark patches (rejection), by focusing my energy on acceptance, there is more and more white light illuminating my world.

I find that I look at everyday encounters with people and places differently by looking for the bits of light – and, they are everywhere.  Suddenly the room has gotten brighter – even though dark patches (rejection) will always be present. (That’s reality!)

The Benefit of the Doubt (Reframing Rejection)

At the same time, learning to “step back and observe” the situations of others, instead of allowing my energy to deplete, is an important lesson.

It’s like being in an ocean and rolling with the emotional waves as they crest and trough instead of being dragged down by them.

While I’ll never be able to completely disengage/disconnect from the pain of others, observing helps me to stay centered.

Taking care of my energy (like putting on my oxygen mask first) helps me to stay helpful and inspiring when it’s needed (and it usually is.)

And…when something that feels like rejection comes my way (someone snaps at me, pulls away, treats me indifferently), I try to consider the options:  it may have nothing to do with me AT ALL.

Re-examining rejection (see the above drawing) often illuminates circumstances or situations as the cause (not me!)

(Side conversation with my deceased mother: “Sorry to disagree with you mom, but it is NOT necessarily my fault when people treat me poorly… they may just have a bad day! And, NO, praying more won’t change that.”  My mother (and my dysfunctional ex) insisted that I deserved (poor) treatment from others because of something I must have done.  If you’re facing a similar demon, know it’s B.S.!)

Does this Help?

I can speak and write about technical topics “until the cows come home”, but it’s not so easy to talk about my own personal journey (see, here’s that rejection thing again…)

Does anything I’ve written strike a chord with you?

If so, please post a comment or an emoji or even just let me know that you read this post.

While I write mostly as Notes to Myself… I’m inspired if you are.

p.s., Wherever you are right now… know that life ebbs and tides.  Wishing you a positive day!

Carol

2 Responses to “Look for Acceptance (not Rejection) and You’ll Find it in “Bits of Light in the Room””

  1. alistair cockburn Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 11:51 am #

    This line made my day: “I find that I look at everyday encounters with people and places differently by looking for the bits of light – and, they are everywhere. Suddenly the room has gotten brighter –”

    Thank you for writing this beautiful post – I’ll share it around, might likely help others, too.

    Alistair

    Like

    • Carol Dekkers Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 8:01 am #

      Alistair,

      I appreciate your comments. As you know, you’re the source for the “bits of light” that inspired me to write this in the first place. Thank you!

      Carol

      Like

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