The other day I was working with a client who told me this story: As a young girl her dreams were to become a movie star and write movies. Writing plays came easily and during family gatherings her family and friends acted out the plays she wrote. She enthusiastically expressed her authentic self by dressing up in her mother’s high heels and twirling in the living room. Sometimes she would excitedly bring her mother bits of a play she wrote. Her mother would tell her, “Go to your room and be quiet. Go study and make something of yourself. Stop this foolishness, you’re never going to be a movie star or model, you’re too smart for that!”
My client told me how rejected and unseen she felt. This client is a very capable professional who is also exceedingly creative. She has a lot going for her, yet she is frustrated that she has not yet written or produced a play that she has had in her head for years. She is plagued by writer’s block and worries about the rejection she might face by putting her work out there. “I had all that creative energy as a child and now I can’t get to it!” She moaned in our phone session.
The hurt 6 year old decided that her mother was rejecting her and started tucking those gifts away but I reminded her, “Your mother wasn’t rejecting you, she was rejecting the lessons you brought her.”
Even though my client has a God given talent as a multi-talented creative artist, the experience told her that her gifts were not okay and should be hidden. It made me track her mother’s situation. When she was young, her mother had dreams, too and just like she did to her daughter, her mother (my clients’ grandmother) told her the family needed her to be practical and pushed her to get a good paying job and as her mother was a young adult in the World War II era, this might have been a family necessity, but nonetheless the mother’s creative dreams had been squashed.
Her mother could not bear to witness her daughter’s creative expression because she had stifled that part of herself. Her mother had rejected her own creativity which was begging to be reignited and instead of seeing that life lesson she doused the fire of her daughter’s creative passions. As a result, my client felt rejected by her mother and subsequently suppressed her vivacious, creative, spontaneous self.
Family patterns like this are common. And these patterns play out in the world around us all the time—bosses, co-workers, lovers who say something about our gifts that we perceive as a personal rejection, but they are not. It is not you they reject.
You are the messenger, the one who is bringing valuable opportunities and life lessons.
Life lessons can be scary. We often don’t want to deal with what is staring us in the face and often try to run from the very thing that is showing up for our healing.
We may resist and push away the opportunity. Even when the opportunity could be pleasurable like a romantic relationship, we may be spooked and reject it rather than diving deep and experiencing what gift is being presented in that lesson.
When you’re the messenger assigned to provide that lesson, it feels like personal rejection and it hurts like hell. You are human. But when you remember they didn’t reject you, they rejected the lesson, you can move through the pain to your own power.
Forgiveness is the key that sets you free.
Forgive them and forgive yourself.