On Thursday night I was in Canberra and my mum gave me the task of going through some old boxes. I was stopped in my tracks by an old card I found.
I felt like I'd been hit straight in my heart. The energy left my body and a deep sadness came over me.
The warm ache of mourning.
It was a beautiful card, the words filling both sides of the page.
Words of love, support, lightness.
Words from someone who loved me deeply and no longer cares to have me in their life.
Yep. The relationship is gone.
Has this ever happened to you? Someone you held dearly rejected you in some way?
How did you feel?
I was shattered. I cried. A LOT. I mourned. I scrutinised my every breath to see what I could have done. Reached out repeatedly. I tried everything to see if I'd done something wrong, to mend whatever rift their appeared to be. To no avail.
Three things got me through this time. Wisdom gained, love from my dear ones and time.
I learned so much from this intimate rejection and I wanted to share some of it with you today. I hope it soothes the sore hearts out there, somehow.
Lesson 1. You can't change other people.
I learnt that I couldn't change someone else's thoughts, actions or emotions. It's not my business and it's not my job. This lesson should be applied liberally to everyone's lives, every day.
Lesson 2. Don't make up stories to solve the mystery.
"In the absence of data, we make up stories".This is a Brene Brown quote. When we don't have all the pieces of information, humans make up stories to fill in the gaps. I made up a million stories of what was wrong with me or with her, until one day I stopped and accepted the facts. They were quite simple. I accepted the mystery of the reality. The relationship was gone. I let go of all the 'shoulds' thanks to some brilliant thought-work tools in coaching.
Lesson 3. One rejection doesn't mean you're broken or unloveable.
When someone you know intimately palms you off, it's tempting to generalise and think that you must have been awful the whole time and are fundamentally unloveable. WRONG! It's something like 1 in 3 people don't or wont like us no matter what (how liberating!). Taste is subjective. Some people adore me, some people can't stand me or are indifferent. Who cares? I respect everyone but equally can't stand to be near some people. Such is life. It doesn't change their inherent value or divinity, nor mine. I am strong and extremely loveable! :)
Lesson 4. Protect yourself. Good boundaries are crucial.
There are still occasions where I could run into the person who rejected me. I wont pretend it's okay, or put myself out there to be crushed. There's no mask that goes on. I only go to events with them when or if I want to. I interact with them in ways I'm comfortable. There's no anger from me, but I'm no doormat. Equally, it would take some serious explaining and commitment for me to consider having a relationship with them again.
Lesson 5. You can keep loving them.
This one came to me a few months back. I continue to love this person and will never stop, I would imagine. So I decided I could love them from a distance. Every so often I send out good thoughts, blessings, whatever you want to call them. It feels good.
With love from my tender heart to yours,
Hi, I'm Dr Lara Corr, life coach and researcher in work and wellbeing. I coach successful 30 and 40 somethings who want more fulfilling or bigger careers but doubt themselves and their options. I help them get out of their own way, find direction and go for what they really want.