President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his first inaugural address stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I never used to think of myself as a fearful person, but in the last few years, I’ve discovered I fear more than I thought. Of course, rejection is my biggest fear, and I’ve had it so long. I’m in a spiritual development school through my church, and one of our recent classes taught us how to identify things that have hindered our personal growth. It brought to mind things I hadn’t thought of in many years – remembering so I could release the pain associated with them, and receive emotional healing.
“Heffel-blow-er!” (a derogatory slam of my last name, which they knew, but chose to mispronounce) “Rusty Tin Can!” (because I was the only redhead in the school) “Jerk!” (just because they didn’t like me) “Catsup Bottle!” (hair color again) “Stupid!” (again, because they didn’t like me) I know there were other names, but I don’t remember. Some involved a finger, and some involved other insults from the 1960s.
Those were just a few of the names I was called as a child. They were all meant to be derogatory. For me, it’s been about fear of the unknown, or fear of the what if in a negative sense. Since I’ve had rejection issues, I tend to protect myself by not putting myself in a position to be rejected. Unfortunately, that made me shy and vulnerable. We all know children can be cruel. There were lots of kids nasty to me. I forgave them. I barely remember any given specifics about the wounds, because of the healing I’ve already received.
Not only do I fear rejection because of being adopted, there were numerous times in elementary school where I was rejected simply because the other kids knew I was sensitive and could be easily hurt. So, how do I write about those times? How do I involve you in my personal pain – to help you face up to your fears? I don’t want to bleed on you, either.
I recently re-read the symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder, or in layman’s terms, rejection syndrome. I was glad to see that most of what I used to feel, I’m not affected by anymore. But I was a classic case, if there ever was one. It’s all about fear.
I had to face up to my fear of rejection. The only other option was to become a hermit, living an isolated, miserable, unhappy life. It’s not easy. I’m still tested in it. Only a month or so ago, you read about “Please reject.” I hadn’t been rejected for anything important for quite a long time, and for some reason, that seemed to throw me. But I am determined to overcome. It’s a decision I made many years ago. Yet sometimes, when a rejection comes, and I’m not prepared, it stings. I still have to put myself out there, though. So that’s what I’m doing.
But that’s what facing fear is about. It’s not about not feeling the fear, because we do. We feel it. But we do it anyway. We press through it, and continue on, even when we’d cower in fear in a corner, away from people.
What are you afraid of? How can you face it? Leave a comment and let me know.