Let’s make one thing clear for (especially for people in their teens and twenties): it obviously hurts really badly when we feel someone has rejected us after we’ve opened up to them and loved them. That is the most meaningful connection in the world and every version of it is valuable.
Simultaneously, it’s important to remember that when we’re young we only have one or maybe two experiences to judge by, so it’s wise to remember that our views of any experience will always change over time. It won’t always hurt as much as it does when we’re young (I promise).
In the best cases we make good use of those painful experiences. The pain will be what makes us more compassionate and successful when we’re trying to help someone else who is suffering. Over time we come to value even painful experiences because we eventually realize that they are what connects us so strongly to other people.
Whether it’s with the ones who were there for us when we were in pain, or the connection we feel to the people who are currently experiencing a pain that we know personally, our love and our suffering increases our capacity for compassion.
Love is a huge feeling. Huge. The first time we feel one end, it makes sense that it feels like the entire world has ended. We can see why love’s such a big deal in art and life. Whether through romance or compassion the feeling is like no other connection.
Once we establish one super-strong connection it’s agony to yank it out of our lives. But over time we even get used to that. It can seem incredibly horrible but it’s true, and that fact actually adds the richness of life. Sometimes we’ll even volunteer for it, because sometimes that horrible feeling of it ending is still better than being in the relationship.
The important thing is this: if we’re feeling rejected we don’t want to be concluding that we are being rejected. People can reject situations and choices and beliefs but they can’t reject a person. What would that even mean? All they can do is think about the other person differently and/or maybe they can physically place themselves elsewhere, but neither thing negates our value.
Thinking we’ve been completely rejected because our relationship ended is like saying that if someone leaves Paris for Rome that they’re saying Paris is worthless. The assessment of Paris’s worth happens inside each individual’s head, and everyone thinks their own thoughts, so just as some are moving from Paris to Rome, some are doing the exact opposite because they have different values and appreciate different things.
If there are almost eight billion points of view on the planet then it’s a guarantee that a huge number of them will love Paris just as a huge number —given a real chance— will love us.
Heartbreaks will hurt. But someone rejecting us does not diminish our overall value in this universe. We’ll think that it does for a while, but then it’s up to us to return to the awareness that our value is inherent and that it is only through our agonized thoughts that we are creating our agonized suffering. We are simply feeling the thoughts we are thinking in our attempt to deny reality.
We all naturally glow like the sun and the only thing that can interfere with that light is some temporary clouds in our thinking. Just remember that being lost or in pain or feeling rejected is all a part of this wonderful experience called life.
Both Paris and Rome will experience both sun and cloud. But by experiencing the agonizing parts of life in either place, each of us is primed to properly value the intense and beautiful connection that comes with the compassion and love we do receive.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.