When I was in junior high school, one of the girls in my grade decided to have a party. Just us girls! We discussed it endlessly; planning what food dish we would each take, the sleeping arrangements, activities, topics of conversation, etc. It promised to be quite the affair, one we would fondly remember for years.
Yeah, not so much! Unfortunately, my memories of the event are not as fond as anticipated, for in the days leading up to the party I was uninvited. Oh, but the girl who hosted the party didn’t have the courage to deliver the news, she had one of my best friends take me aside during gym class and tell me I was being excluded. Double whammy!
This was over 30 years ago, but I recall the rejection and betrayal I felt in that moment like it was yesterday. The dynamics of the situation were complex; we lived in a very small community, we had known one another since we were 4 and 5 years old and I was a year to two years younger than the rest of my classmates, but the residual impact of the experience is apparent.
I could speculate the reason this girl chose to exclude me from her party. Perhaps she felt threatened by me in some way; afraid that I may steal her spotlight, or jealous of the relationship I had with one of our mutual girlfriends, or I suppose it’s possible she simply disliked me. The reason is of little consequence, as I know now that it wasn’t about me. To my knowledge, I had never done anything to intentionally harm her. Her actions were about what was going on for her at that time in her life. Having said that, as much as I know it wasn’t personal, knowing it and believing it are sometimes two different things.
And even though this particular experience is unique to me, I think we have all experienced rejection in big and small ways that gift us with triggers to plague our future relationships. Ironically enough, I have not experienced a lot of rejection in romantic relationships, but those insecurities still seem to impact my ability to navigate certain moments.
Well, my lovelies, I recently had a breakthrough, in this regard.
A culmination of seemingly insignificant events and misunderstandings between my partner and I, simmering in my hyper-sensitive juices, left me feeling rejected and excluded. I won’t go into the sordid details, but suffice it to say, I was characteristically affirming the theory often misattributed to Albert Einstein.
The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.
My breakthrough moment arrived when I decided that instead of allowing my incorrect assumptions about what he was thinking to manifest, I would reject those devaluing triggers and uninvite myself to my own pity party! I decided this time I wasn’t going to give in to my fear and tendency to self-sabotage. I got up, brushed myself off (and by brush myself off, I mean put on make-up) and went to the party he was at, waiting for me to arrive.
I tried something different and got a different result.
I know, shocking right?!?!
I don’t know about you folks, but I’m usually the one standing in the way of my own happiness, which means it’s within my power to change that pattern. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Wish me luck!