Kill them with kindness, with a smile in hand; this is what I always try to do. Yes, I aim to be authentically kind to others because I care about them and I, too, want to be treated with kindness. That little Golden Rule has been engraved into my very being ever since childhood. Yet, I sometimes find my kindness to be a reaction from a sort of stubbornness that wells up inside of me when I am told no. I really do not like being told no, especially when I have a strong desire for something specific, such as someone’s acceptance and validation. The two-letter word ignites a flame of persistence deep inside of me that will not be extinguished. When it comes to someone saying no, my stubborn, line-crossing self wants to prove them wrong and change their answer. Unfortunately, I am not four years old anymore, so I have to find a way to tame my persistence and get along with my peers.
Let me explain myself with more clarity.
I’ve recently had some newness in my life, as I have shared with you, and it has definitely had its ups and downs. With being such a creature of comfort and routine, this newness has consisted of some scary moments. I am at a point in my life where I am longing to have the strength to throw out my worries and be myself to the best of my ability. So as I am put into these new and challenging situations, I find myself not clinging to the comfort that I find in familiarity, but to the feeling of being wholly accepted. Quite honestly, it can be difficult being in situations where you are dealing with people. People are incredible. Their capacity for ingenuity, love, and sincerity can be astonishing. People are also very diverse. We absolutely are products of our experiences and each of our distinct personalities define us, making us into beings of vast qualities. Because of this diversity, we are bound to bump heads with many that we come across in our life paths. Though, knowing that people are diverse hasn’t brought me much comfort in my new circumstances, even though I have wholeheartedly tried to find solace by grasping onto this fact.
I often hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “Not everyone you meet in life is going to like you for who you are”, and this really irritates me. If I were to do something to hurt someone else, I would do my best to mend that hurt and if my efforts failed, I would completely understand why they would dislike me. I know that I won’t always instantly find kindred spirit connections with the people I cross paths with, I just greatly detest when I can sense that someone dislikes me for no particular reason and without really knowing me. Seriously. It really gets under my skin. I’m human and I want to be accepted. It’s that simple. I try to accept others, so why can’t they do the same for me?
When I sense this subtle form of rejection and it happens to be be coming from a person that I will be in frequent contact with, my stubbornness kicks in. I feel a voice inside of me saying, We shall not put up with this dislike. It’s time to find a way to connect to them and dig into their love tank; whatever it takes. So when the time comes, I will flash my crooked whites and shower them with love. Though my kindness is genuine, I can’t say that it is purely selfless because behind it is my own desire to be appreciated. I will push against their walls in very subtle ways until I find a way to crack open their heart. This may sound a little silly to you, but I have found it to be effective when getting to know others. People desire to be connected with on sincere levels, so I know that if I can find that special place in someone’s heart, we will bond. If I cannot find this place in their heart, then I start to feel the rejection and frustration settles in. This is where I have realized that there is another side to the battle between acceptance and rejection. It doesn’t all come down to others accepting me, I also have to learn to accept others as they are. As I am going through experiences with many types of people, I must find ways to appreciate them, even if I don’t discover acceptance in return.
Even more, what I have been working on lately is trying to gracefully accept when people just don’t mix well with me. I have to listen to my mother’s warnings that some will simply not like me. It’s not necessarily a personal thing, it’s just the way it is at times because, as I wrote before, we are all different. And with that, I still have to find a way to truly love and respect them as my fellow human beings. This is such a difficult task for me because my longing to be accepted is so strong, my radar for rejection so sensitive, and that stubborn voice inside my mind saying, smother them with your kindness and force them to love you, is so persistent. I don’t want to be disliked. I don’t like it one bit, yet I still have to find ways accept it.
This past week I made an effort to share with a few of my close friends about not feeling complete acceptance in my new situations and I learned a few very important things. I found that many around me have been in situations that almost mirror mine. They empathized with me and also shared that facing rejection is a normal part of life; I simply have to be strong enough to walk through it with my head held high. The experience of rejection in different forms almost seems like a right of passage when being pushed into circumstances that are out of our comfort zones. What also stood out to me is the truth that this rejection does not define me or anyone else. It’s fleeting and I have the power to decide how I am going to deal with it. I can be bitter and hostile towards those who offend me or I can treat them with love and carry on with being my true self. But I think that the most important truth that I stumbled upon through my conversations is that I am truly valued.
I am liked by many. I don’t say this in an arrogant way at all. It’s just the truth. I’ll even go further to say that I am more than liked, I am loved by many around me. Maybe I won’t experience this acceptance from everyone that I meet, but I do see it in my closest circles. I see and feel this love every time that I cry in the arms of a friend who listens with open ears or receive a hug and encouragement from a loved one. I am valued and cherished by the most important people in my life. With this knowledge, I find that I can handle when someone doesn’t like me . I am loved. When I remember this, my longing to be accepted by those who refuse to accept me fades into the distance. I tend to think that if I somehow acquire their acceptance, I will find my peace. This is not the case at all. In order to truly find this peace with others which I so desire, I must accept myself for who I am and others for who they are. This is when I will be able to find peace by focusing my energy on the ones that have always and will always accept me, no matter where I am.
It’s kinda funny because as I have been dealing with these issues of rejection the last few weeks, I have found that some tense situations have been eased with time. Though, allowing time to work its ways definitely does require a good amount of patience. As I battled building relationships amidst the presence of rejection and my attempts to overcome it, I found that progress has been made with the passing of time. I now see that it simply takes time to build trust. You can’t force someone to like you. In fact, using force in these situations can actually have the opposite effect. What I found to be effective was to be my genuine self and show true kindness to the ones around me who it was, honestly, a challenge to be kind to. Even when my attempts at kindness seemed to soften no hearts, I persisted. In the last couple of days, I have stumbled upon glimpses of acceptance. Now, there are still traces of rejection that I will have to work through and I will surely face more in the near future. That is when I will have to cling to the knowledge that, no matter what I am facing, I am loved.
The power that comes from being completely loved is so great and I want to use the power that I have to help those around me who are experiencing what I have experienced. Therefore, as I am loved, I will aim to love.
(With much) Love,
P.S. I finally received my “courtesy” notice for my ticket in the mail last week and, of course, the tears flowed once again. Goodbye savings! To say that I am super paranoid every time I drive up to an unsigned crosswalk is an understatement. Lesson learned and hopefully, lesson never again experienced.