The Gifts of Rejection

As a seasoned perfectionist, it’s taken a long time to let go of other people’s experience of me

Megan Schumacher

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Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I’ve noticed something that tends to happen whenever I am in the middle of a big life transition. I have these once close friendships that fall away, seemingly in an abrupt manner and without any apparent reason. Despite having been ghosted by several friends over the years at this point, I remain newly shocked and surprised with each instance, as it reinvigorates a long-held knee-jerk tendency of self-recrimination every time. I recently experienced an example of this right around the moment I committed to embracing a creative part of myself that I had long ago abandoned.

Now the reality is that people change and some friendships are fulfilling but only for a certain time in our lives. People come and go. Sometimes others won’t like the you that you have become. This just is what it is.

Intellectually, I understand this can sometimes happen when we decide to embrace the kind of transitions that are in alignment with the truest versions of ourselves. A phoenix rising from the ashes. A snake shedding her skin. But it still sucks, feeling unexpected and fresh whenever it happens.

What I’ve learned to be the most interested in is not the event itself. But rather, how I have adapted to receiving experiences that are out of my control.

I get caught off guard by these endings, deeply hurt by the rejection, and I fly right straight into an old familiar place of feeling that I must have done something unknowingly wrong or that my being authentic is repellant. As if someone’s behavior or emotional capacity is indicative of my basic ineptitude as a human. With this, I imagine that I am at liberty to feel deeply sorry for myself.

So I sit in this space for a while. Trying to figure out what I could have done to make others dislike me. To not even get the dignity of a conversation despite my attempts to have one. Instead to just get ghosted.When this familiar behavior happened again most recently, I first played off of the same script: what is wrong with me? Why do people not like me? Yada, yada. But those are…

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Megan Schumacher

Toddler mama. Born again creative. Former people pleaser. Working out the fumbles of life on the page.