Do you know, that I spend most of my waking hours reminding myself, that we are the same. I overheard this conversation the other day.
“I invited you to the party the other day and you didn’t answer.”
“Oh, you really wanted to me to come, I thought you were just being nice.”
“Being nice, what do you mean I asked if you would come, and you didn’t respond.
“I didn’t think you really wanted me to come.”
“That’s crazy, why would I invite you if I didn’t want you to come? I thought you didn’t want to hang out with me. I felt bad.”
I sat there dumbfounded, as I usually do when I am reminded that we are all the same. Here I am, with 2 very cool people, that I would love to have lunch with any day and they both made up stories about how the other person really didn’t want to spend time with them. Again I am reminded of my own stories of rejection.
I have 2 friends, one that I love to hang out with and the other who loves to hang out with me. I notice that I reject them both equally. The one I love to hang out with, is constantly rejected because I don’t believe that she would ever want to hang out with me, so I reject her first. While spending time together, I will quickly mention that I am not sure if I can drive her home later. The truth is, I would love to drive her home but the fear that she doesn’t want to spend time with me comes up and so I fix it for her. I set it up so that she doesn’t have to go with me if she doesn’t want to. I send out mixed messages. I don’t want to spend time with her when in reality the truth is I love being with her.
The other, the one who loves to hang out with me gets rejected because I feel like they are coming on to strong and I need to “protect” myself from their love. You see, in the past I was rejected by this person and so now I build a wall to protect myself from being hurt again. If I accept the love he is showing me in the moment then I might get wrapped back up into a relationship where I will ultimately feel rejected again . So I put up a wall so that I don’t “get hurt”. A wall that I believe will protect me, but at the same time keeps me from experiencing the love in the moment.
Imagine for a moment, that I let all of that go. If the fear dissipated, I could just love people and they could love me back. And when and if I am feeling rejected I can remind myself of the truth, that we are all the same. They are not rejecting me rather they are rejecting a part of themselves.
Rabbi Esther Azar