Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today I wanted to write about rejection. I knew someone once who said, "Rejection is an inside job..." and it stuck with me. It's all in how you take things.

I experienced two rejections lately.

One was from some family members, a young couple, who decided to unfriend me on Facebook. I was quite surprised as I'd never been unfriended before. For those of you who aren't familiar with Facebook, it's very easy to "hide" someone whose posts you're uninterested in..."unfriending" is a deliberate act that restricts information and access so that you cannot see any of the person's private information, including photos, and whatever else they have restricted on Facebook's privacy as to be seen by "Only Friends".  It is a deliberate exclusion. They don't want you in their life.

Of course I thought that there had been a mistake. I value my relationship with this couple and like them both a lot. There was some family drama as other family members started to get involved; I ended up calling the couple to find out what happened and straighten everything out. A lot of inexplicable excuses were used, for example, "we're trying to avoid people who play all those games" (I have never played a Facebook game).

I finally got the message that they didn't want to be in contact with me, nor did they want me to see their pictures, nor did they want me involved as they move into a new and exciting phase of their life, one that I'd been looking forward to sharing with them. It was especially frustrating that they would not be up front with me--to be fair, I think they were trying to spare my feelings, and in addition, didn't really know how to be direct. I was sad and disappointed.

I told them I wished them well, and I really do. It doesn't make sense to have people in your life that don't want to be there. I felt hurt at first, but then later was grateful to them...when I realized some things after thinking about the situation some more.

I realized that almost all of the relationship was effort I'd made. Although I valued our relationship, in retrospect, I saw that this couple never gave me any signs that they valued it. I wrote that off at the time to them being young and very busy; now I think that it was something I wanted, so I imagined it. You can do that with Facebook.

The other rejection was not being invited to an (unrelated) important family function. The person in charge assured me that it was a mistake. At first I did believe her, and then later realized that it would be almost impossible to forget inviting me, but that because of other family members who would be there, my coming could make the event a potentially  awkward situation.

I thought about it a lot, at first feeling upset and angry at being marginalized, overlooked, "forgotten". It initially triggered my vulnerabilities I'm addressing with my word for the year--valid. Very quickly, I realized that it either was indeed an innocent mistake, or else it was a semi-tactful way of keeping other family members happy. And I ultimately was fine, though still sad, about it.

I think that rejection is someone telling you, either via honest communication or something else, that you are not a fit for a particular relationship or event. In their opinion.

In the case of a relationship, I want to always honor that, and be grateful to them for letting me know. I love that the relationships I do keep are mutual and involve an investment of time, affection, caring, etc. for both parties.

In the case of an event, I want to trust that I am not supposed to be at that event at that time--for whatever reason--and be at peace with it.

So, in a way, rejection is a gift. It is a blessing. It frees up time and emotional energy for the right people, the right events, at the right time.

I now feel good things towards everyone involved, and don't feel sad, angry, or fact, I feel grateful and clear and light.

How do you process rejection?


kikipotamus said...

Did you get my comment? A weird screen came up when I hit POST.

patti said...

Rejection is hard because we all want to be loved. I had an old friend reject me a few years ago and it hurt initially, then I realised that we didn't actually have too much in common anymore and we had different values. So it was a better outcome for both of us. Sometimes people just don't click together and that's okay.

kate i said...

I've also dealt with rejection in the last few years and although I was initially devastated, I came to realize it was really someone that didn't support and enhance my life. Surprisingly a few years later, this person wanted me back in her life and we have a completely different relationship now.

Very thoughtful post Olivia.

laundrygirl said...

Rejection can be difficult depending upon how you look at it. I had someone who I thought was a 'best' friend withdraw her friendship completely. I will not lie - it HURT. Yet when I really examined the situation, I realized how much we'd grown apart and changed in a way that made us less likely to be close friends.
In the art world I get rejected all the time. That hurts too but I am able to see it more objectively than ever. I go in ready for a rejection and knowing that if it isn't a match, it's not a match.

laundrygirl said...

Oprah said recently on a show that she's grown to a point of being able to say, "If you don't want me, I don't want you." because she wants someone who will value her as much as she values them rather than spend time trying to 'prove' her value.

Kate said...

I have not had this experience but in folowing the tale I admire your honesty and willingness to make sense of the rejections. It really is how we choose to look at things as in so many things in life.

Kim Mailhot said...

Coming to a place of gratitude and acceptance is a tall order sometimes. Brava to you for getting there, Lovely One.
I am in the process of learning (as we all are !) that every circumstance that comes to us is neither right, nor wrong, bad or good. That it is all in our own attitude and ways of dealing with life that make the difference. Huge lesson. Huge ! Not sure if I will ever get it completely but sometimes shedding that light on something does help me get through.
You inspire, Olivia, with your strength and honesty. I am glad to be in the world at the same time as you.
Big Love !

Olivia said...


I did not get any comment--it didn't come through. Would you mind reposting it, as I'm interested in what you have to say about this...xoO

Olivia said...

Patti, we all do want to be loved, and as much as we try to deal with things in a spiritual way, there is no avoiding the hurt and sadness. This gives me feelings to feel and things to process as I do the emotional work to feel my feelings.

Telling a story that is affirming as I am doing this is very helpful. Things like, "I want to be loved, and that's okay", and "It is fine to feel sadness when something like this happens."

It is encouraging to me to know that you've experienced things like this as well--there is the initial hurt, and then we deal with our feelings.

Blessings and love, xoO

Olivia said...


That's so interesting that you were able to renew a relationship that began with a devastating ending.

I do think that there are people that I love so much that with the power of forgiveness I could begin again after time had passed, especially if we could talk and work through what had happened. And if I thought that things were different enough that it wouldn't happen again.

When I think about it, the two situations I wrote about, the couple and the family event (related to a wedding)--neither one involve people who either support me as a person or enhance my life. They are people I care about despite that...or people that I want to work towards having that with.

Ultimately, I'd rather have people in my life who do support and enhance it, so here is yet another reason to let go, to allow God/The Universe to bring people into my life that are a match for the lessons I need to learn.

Thank you, kate, xoO

Olivia said...


It does seem like there is an initial feeling-type reaction, and then we process the feelings and come to a better place, one of acceptance.

I hurt like crazy too. I think it's more about being rejected though, and feeling "invalid" or not counting or being unwanted, rather than losing someone I love.

I have lost best friends, too, which is the very hardest.

Yes, in the art world rejection is a given, and as you say, a sign that there is not a match.

I thought of Oprah (especially her shows on Whoopi Goldberg and Iyanla VanZant) and I love the way you summarize this here. My immediate tendency is to PROVE myself...I am learning how to simply let go and let God.

More than other types of work, I think you learn a lot about yourself as an artist, don't you?


Olivia said...

Yes, Kate, I think how you look at things is everything! Gosh, I so feel that I've dealt with oodles and oodles of rejection, betrayal, etc. and for you not have had to is such a blessing--plus you have so many good friends there as well.

We each have our lessons to learn and they differ from person to person...I know I would take other lessons if I could!

Thank you for your encouragement about being honest and processing my emotions in a positive way. I know that many people read my blog, and I don't want to violate others' privacy, just reveal enough about what happened so that you can make sense of things. It's always such a balancing act...I wish I could be even more open...

Thanks Kate, xoO

Olivia said...

OH yes, Kim. Neither good nor bad. It is a lesson for all of us. Thank you for your Big Love, and I am certainly glad to be in the world as the same time as you as well, and for this Internet that connects us, making distance irrelevant. It is a miracle! I appreciate your support very much! Joy and Big Love back to you, xoO

kikipotamus said...

"So, in a way, rejection is a gift. It is a blessing. It frees up time and emotional energy for the right people, the right events, at the right time."

Yes, absolutely.

I have been unfriended on FB people who were once very close. At first I took it personally, but then I took some time to mull over all the possible reasons. I realized the decision to cut ties with me made sense for them. So I just moved on, closed the book on that chapter of my life.

Olivia said...

Thanks for re-commenting, Kelly.

Yes, it makes sense for them...a good way to think about it. I would love to be able to have my head inform my heart about how to feel but it doesn't work that way for me. I guess I just need to tell myself the truth while feeling what is there, processing it to move on.

I like the picture of a book closing and a new chapter beginning.

Love to you, Kelly, xoO

Daryl Brown said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this, but Olivia, I am again impressed with your strength, character and love. A "one-way relationship" isn't a relationship at all, and focusing on those who love and cherish us is more deeply rewarding.

You said it best, Olivia, we can focus our "...time and emotional energy for the right people, the right events, at the right time," like you're doing here!

Lots of love from Brazil.

Olivia said...


Thanks so much for your comment, for the affirmation, validation, and love. It means more than you will know. I feel the love from Brazil!!

Much love, xoO

Cinner said...

Olivia, I don't worry about it anymore, It can hurt, but I don't want people in my life that are not kind and considerate, and things definately have to be a two way street. Facebook is a funny thing, I took myself right off of it. I decided one night that if I was not on there I would probably never hear from some members of the extended family. I decided if anyone wants to talk to me, they can call....although now I feel a little out of touch, but happier. take care. hugs.

Olivia said...

Cinner, so good to see you here! FB provides such a broad coverage, so inevitably there is diversity in values. I too value kindness and consideration and think that my friends list is becoming progressively more so! It's great.

I like your approach in that those who truly want to contact YOU in particular can do that. And if not, they don't. I resolve this issue by only friending those people I LIKE. They'd have to be kind and gentle or they'd not make it onto my friends list. No obligatory friending. My friends are an elite club!! When someone doesn't like what they see or rejects who I am, they leave. This sounds like a perfect system to keep by friends list current and positive!

Peace to you tonight. Your poem was phenomenal, Cinner! Love to you, xoO