Levels of Intimacy in Communication LO18753

Dale Emery (dale@dhemery.com)
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 11:34:43 -0700

Replying to LO18747 --


> Do we humans really ever get to that point? I understand it and desire
> the capacity to fully allow others to be who they are and to be unattached
> to their reaction to me, but I know I'm not there today. I guess I can
> accept that the person who rejects me simply isn't on the same plane as me
> and I'd much rather be rejected than have the person fake acceptance. Any
> suggestions on how to continue working on this?

I'm not fully there, either.

Rejection is a funny thing. I have never thought of anything I'm doing
as rejecting someone. I may not want to interact with them right now,
in the way they want. But when I choose to do something else instead, I
don't think of that as rejection. I'm certainly not rejecting the
*person*. I'm only choosing not to be with them in a particular way, at
a particular time.

Even knowing that, when I'm on the other side of the relationship, I
sometimes feel bad about being "rejected." When I can remember, I first
try to notice what really happened. What did the person do or say?
(I've never heard someone say, "Dale, I reject you!") Usually this is
enough to remind me that the person has only chosen not to be with me in
a specific way (hire me, go on a date, listen to my theories about
rejection), at a specific time. It isn't all of me that's been
rejected, it is something much more limited and specific.

I've also noticed that I feel rejected only when I've somehow gotten my
identity and self-esteem tangled up in a certain kind of interaction I
want. If I get turned down for a date or for a job, I may feel
rejected, but only if I've made my self-image dependent on getting the
date or the job. And I do that only when my image of myself is not what
I want it to be, because I am not accepting some important part of

In other words, my feeling of rejection doesn't come from what the other
person does, it comes from me. I imagine that someone else has rejected
me, when what's really happening is that I am rejecting some part of

When I notice that I'm feeling rejected -- or before that, that I'm
feeling stressed about how someone *might* respond to me -- I try to use
that as a signel to look at what I'm not accepting in myself.



Dale H. Emery -- Collaborative Consultant High Performance for Software Development Projects E-mail: dale@dhemery.com Web: http://www.dhemery.com

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