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Fear of rejection - an example.


One of my biggest lessons recently included emotions. When I was looking to get a laptop I was sat staring at all of the different options involved with the MacBook itself; the RAM, the processor. I had no idea what I was looking for, and I knew that Michael had a MacBook so I asked him the question.


Expecting a generic response, I was really surprised and nervous that he came back to me having researched everything, reached out to his colleagues, and provided feedback - no telling me what to do but simply what the different options would provide me. Nervous because I didn't know what was expected of me in return, surprised that someone would go out of their way to do that for me, and relieved he wasn't trying to make the decision for me. And it made me tearful, I was so touched. It was such a kind thing to do. It made me feel valuable and important.


Talking with my therapist I explained this situation and how I responded - something which was very new to me is this concept of having an emotion appear out of nowhere and not really understanding why. I then went on to explain that I would never admit that to Michael at which point my therapist asked a very simple, but for me a very enlightening question;


Why?


Wasn't it obvious? I didn't want to seem pathetic, or weak, or emotional. Who wants to be around that?


Fear of rejection. There it was. Right there. The inability to realise that I was immediately telling myself that my emotions and reactions were invalid and that I was shutting off a section of myself through the assumption that it was wrong, and not allowed. Something which I now understand is not only unhealthy, but ridiculous in a relationship. A relationship is the time to be completely yourself, to be raw and real. Otherwise, what's the point?


So I told Michael this, I told him about the situation and how it made me feel. Expecting a confused or a shutoff reaction, I was delighted to see that he found the response endearing. This isn't something I've experienced much before, or if I have then I don't recall. But something I have learned is that ever since I no longer have the energy to have the walls up, ever since I have allowed myself to be vulnerable, I have opened up and found that this is normal and I'm starting to surround myself with people who are real, honest, and kind. I feel like my personality has developed and opened. The rules are falling away.


So the lesson really adds to the logic that you shouldn't have to change yourself to be loved. Someone should love you for who you are and the way you are. I'm unconsciously designed to protect my personality, to protect my core. But I don't even know who that core is, I don't know what I'm protecting or why it needs protection.


Have I been incomplete this whole time?


My brother got engaged today. Previously I would have been pleased for him, but not particularly emotional. Today was different. Ever since I have started to engage and acknowledge my emotions I have really been kicked into touch. Today I was sending Michael a 'Macro Polo' (an app designed to send video messages as a conversation), and right in the middle of what was quite a serious video message from me I saw a notification from my brother messaging to say that his fiancé had said yes!


My emotions erupted! I was over the moon! And it was very evident on the video which went straight to Michael. I had started to trust Michael with the vulnerable side of me and this time I was really happy with his response; he had a huge smile, he adored it. He even sent an extra message to say just how 'stinking cute' I was. I was in absolute tears of joy and happiness, I felt so much! It was glorious! And I sent another message saying just that; they're engaged, I can't stop crying, etc. And the same response; smiles and 'cute'.


I'm cute! That's a new one. Something I would not have accepted from anyone before as I wanted to be taken seriously. But Michael does take me seriously, in fact part of the reason he dates me is because I'm so ambitious. It's a shock to me to understand that I can be both.


The relief is immense. The lesson is a big one, and a great one. How has it taken me this long to learn that my whole self is the best self and the route to self happiness?

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