Rejection: Better By Monday

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” C.S. Lewis

In one of my college classes the professor asked a question about vulnerability which caused several class members to respond with a negative perspective. The people who voiced an opinion seemed to believe that to be vulnerable meant to be weak. It does mean to be susceptible to injury but I believe that vulnerability also means to be open and willing to be seen.

I have had some life experience with vulnerability. I have been open and accepted many times. But I have also been vulnerable and rejected. I don’t believe that the rejection was a result of the vulnerability, it was a result of what someone else wanted but thought I didn’t have.

I have seen this same realization about being open and risking rejection in many of my clients. It is hard to risk rejection and want acceptance. It takes personal strength to be vulnerable – to be open to acceptance or rejection.

It is beneficial to let your truth be seen. Loving yourself enough to be seen may be the best and most sure way to be honored by another self-loving person. The view you offer of yourself (and the beauty of that view being appreciated) is courageous and confidence building.

Taking time to learn about the person you want to open yourself up to is better self-protection than hiding. If you hide because you are afraid of rejection or betrayal then move more slowly or move on but be seen! Knowing the trustworthiness of your partner takes time. Trusting yourself comes with the experience of being seen.

Showing your own truth is your choice and responsibility. Open yourself up because you want to share who you are with someone you believe will respect your truth.

One Thing To Do: Make a list of the things about yourself you feel safe sharing with a new friend and draw a line. Then continue to list what you would share with a very close friend. That is your depth line – don’t go past it with new people, too soon.

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Better By Monday: Courage Holds the Hand of Fear

In ancient times courage was one of four primary virtues, the others being wisdom, temperance and justice. Courage was seen as the most critical as it was thought the other virtues relied on the presence of courage before they could show up. In personal transformation work, such as counseling, courage is vital to progress. It’s not something found just in a moment of high anxiety or fear but is always there, awaiting access by any of us at any time.

“To summon our courage” is a wonderful phrase that gives away its true nature. It’s not always present, with us, but can be brought forward any time or in any situation. We DO, however, need to call for it and we DO need to pay attention to its voice.

Summoning courage has many recipes. For some it springs from commitment to something that has deep meaning. It energizes them to the point of actively (and easily, for them) demonstrating to others what they care about or what gives them purpose in their life. Without a depth of meaning you can engage some actions but they are more likely rooted in compliance, not commitment. And while there are thousands of charities or political causes with reliable supporters, not all of those people have a deep connection to their own true meaning and purpose which compels them to take time off from work to march in a demonstration or show resistance.

The other important aspect of courage worth thinking about is that it’s not at all a “me against you” concept. While dramatic literature and religion can often rely on narrative devices which emphasize courageous acts and conflict (man kills bad guy, saves girl etc. etc.) the more profound and powerful kind of courage is when we confront ourselves – who we are and what we might become – and question the whys and wherefores of life.

We can then undertake the fear-laden work of questioning the makeup of our character and embedded nature. It’s only when we summon the courage to take on our own certainties, beliefs, and long-held convictions that real change and new learning and personal growth can occur. When we stop thinking of win and lose for us in relation to others and dedicate ourselves to learning about what’s within that we can truly begin to change our wellbeing, sense of safety and self-worth, and how we engage with everyone every day – all for the better. And it’s well worth it, this tough internal work, because after this courageous journey comes contentment and compassion. And, not coincidentally, these are precursors to building the capacity for genuine love for yourself and then others.

Courage is not about being devoid of fear. Rather, it’s being aware of fear and still moving forward anyway. Contrary to popular misconceptions, it’s perfectly fine to reflect on your life and even make big decisions WHEN you are afraid, just not BECAUSE you are afraid. There’s a difference. The latter is blind reaction; the other is being fully present, focused, and committed. Best news of all is we all have the capacity to activate our own courage and let it lead us through life’s challenges – inside and outside.

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can do, over the weekend, to feel a little better by Monday.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.