Saturday, January 5, 2013

5 Ways to Stay Open Despite Rejection

By Pam Garcy, PhD
My Inner
Just sharing some midnight thoughts with you about how REBT-CBT can help you survive if you happen to live with a very open heart...Using REBT and CBT to live with a more open heart, despite rejection.

Have you ever extended yourself, made yourself vulnerable, and then been rejected by another?
As a child, one of my influences was the late Dr. Leo Buscaglia & I loved his messages about being willing to take risks & be open about love.  Once in a while, after listening to Leo on PBS and embarking on our weekly visit to Luby's, I'd even ask my mom if we could invite lonely looking strangers to sit at our lunch table so that the strangers wouldn’t have to be all alone. Sometimes she'd even let me & how glorious it was to make a new friend and decrease the loneliness of another!

Even still, as a supposedly more mature adult, my heart often & almost always directs me to be just a little bit more open & take those risks which I'd call living from my heart.

When we listen to this courageous part, we find that we can have a radically open hearts. Yet, even in the spirit of love, kindness, caring, and compassion, I have inner conflict about the topic.  For example, I recently cared so much about a client, and I really wanted to check on the person.  I had to turn inward and really ask, “Do I call this person, leave this message, send this e-mail?” 

I certainly want to be thoughtful about what I do. The logical part of me does not want to scare another or do anything that could be deemed professionally inappropriate. I am fully aware that it is a privilege to be someone’s therapist, not a right & everyone is different.

But, within these boundaries, I find that the general pattern of my self-direction would be to say “yes” when it comes to me to extending myself in a loving, warm, open, and often expressive fashion. This open-book transparency isn’t always cool to everyone, my friends tell me. And sometimes in the aftermath of my openness, my knowledge of REBT has led me to realize that I need to do some solid shame-attacking, to balance out the feeling like my heart was breaking!

So, how can one live with a very loving and open heart, knowing that not everyone desires to receive this?   REBT says to live without shame.  And the shameless answer is, “Love on and learn to live with rejection.”

Here are 5 things REBT teaches which will allow you to love on despite rejection:

1. You may label yourself as a reject when you get rejected. Just because someone rejected you, this doesn’t mean you are a reject–you are simply a person who has had an experience of being rejected. Avoid rating your entire personhood based upon what happens to you!

2. There are definitely many worse things than being rejected. Think about it, feeling unloved, being treated like you're goofy, or being ignored by someone you love; sometimes when you do what feels right to you, you can still get rejected, fail to get the love you want, end up being treated like a goof, or get ignored. If you avoid lableing this as awful, you’ll cut down the pain a lot. To anti-awfulize, remind yourself that there are so many worse things that could have happened to you & start dwelling on what is still good, right, and okay in your life.

3. You may say that you shouldn’t feel what you feel, but you do feel what you feel, therefore you actually should feel as you do. To clarify, of course you’d prefer to feel better, but you feel as you feel because you think as you do! Until you think differently, you will feel as you feel, so demanding that you feel differently won’t change how you feel; it’ll just make you feel worse. Accept how you feel and know that it is exactly fine for now. If you’d like to change it, work on your distorted thoughts.

4. If you’re still standing, then you can stand whatever it is you’re saying you can’t stand!

5. You may be really outwardly expressive & not receive that beautiful expression of your love in return from the person you expressed it to. This may provoke thoughts in you such as “no one loves you back”. First of all, how do you know that no one loves you back? Second of all, sometimes people are in different head-spaces and heart-spaces, so they can’t or won’t express their love back ever & often won’t express it back right when you want it. Third of all, are you ignoring evidence that there are those who have told you they love you back?

When you feel badly, you’re more likely to spit out cognitive distortions. This is called emotional reasoning by David Burns, M.D. You basically think worse of yourself when you already feel badly emotionally.

So, dear ones, keep this in mind, keep working on your distortions, and keep living with a full heart and open mind.

Love to you all,
Pam Garcy, PhD
My Inner

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