Ghosts of Rejection

I’ve been in a good place spiritually for the past few years, and it wasn’t until—in the twilight of my life as it were—my first book was published that things started to go awry. That was when my past ghosts began to visit me again and I got caught up in some very low-vibrational pity parties where I was the guest of honor.

With a fairly diverse group of friends, not to mention a large family of whom my book’s main character-focused—the matriarch of said family—it’s no surprise that I’ve perhaps offended or hurt some of those people. That said, I am trying to embrace my absolute fear of rejection which has been the theme of my life—and lately has been playing a leading role—with rejection ranging from my dog preferring to snuggle up to my husband, being “unfriended” on Facebook, invitations declined to come to my house, even my contractor ignoring me, just to name a few. I have a friend whose signature tag on her email is “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” How true is that! How can we possibly know what others are feeling inside? So, buck up and get over it, I tell myself…

I play the part of victim so well that sometimes I forget it’s all just a story. I get so caught up in my own game of who can out-martyr who—I always win!

That stubborn child that folds her arms and digs in her heels. “I won’t talk to them until they acknowledge how darn good and mad I am…” I need them to know how indignant I am—but why? I wish I could get out of my own way and stop feeling so judged. But the indirect rejection I’m perceiving from some family members is palpable. I can’t control what others think or do, so I try to roll with it and tune in to my higher self who knows it doesn’t matter.

I recently read a lovely article about family bonds and appreciating all that you have while you have it, and it reminded me to nurture the relationships with all my family members.

I reached out to my best girlfriend who I knew would talk me off my cliff. She is a strong self-realized woman and she doesn’t take crap from anyone—I love that about her!

“I should be beyond all this petty crap. Am I just being a baby?” I asked her.

“F-them all!” was her response. Remember The Four Agreements: ‘“Be Impeccable With Your Word; Don’t Take Anything Personally; Don’t Make Assumptions; Always Do Your Best.’” She’d been teaching that in her weekly Yoga classes. I knew this in my heart, but somehow I couldn’t grasp it in the moment.

It’s odd how the themes of our lives repeat no matter how hard we try to exorcise them—those old ghosts haunt us at will repeatedly throughout our lives, and either you let them affect you, or you look them in the face with courage and tell them to go away. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Perception is everything. As soon as you think you are being rejected, you are being rejected. If you need to ask someone if you are being passive-aggressive you’re probably being passive-aggressive. Rejection is a perceived indignance and nothing more.

I live in a very hilly area; I like to equate living to riding my bicycle up a large hill. The more you look to the top of the hill ahead, the more difficult it is, but if you keep your eyes down to where your wheels are rolling, you will find the strength and courage to make it up any hill no matter how steep.

A poem I learned at a very young age comes to mind:

Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and softly sit on your shoulder.


Dorothy Preston
Dorothy Preston
Dorothy Preston has a degree in Communications/Media and has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. She is also an avid reader and an insatiable seeker of truth and spirituality. It took many years and many tears to finally realize that true happiness can only come from within. Dorothy has lived in Maine, New Hampshire, and New York, but is currently settled in her native state of Massachusetts just outside of Boston. She and her husband recently purchased land in what is commonly referred to as Down East Maine, and are planning on settling there in the next few years. Dorothy’s debut memoir, Getting Off the Radiator: A Story of Shame, Guilt, and Forgiveness, was just published. It is Dorothy’s hope that she can share her journey with those having gone through similar ordeals so they might learn that forgiveness truly is divine, and along with it comes peace.

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  1. Dorothy — Welcome to the community.

    I found myself (strongly) nodding in agreement as I read your excellent piece – agreement because your ghosts probably went to school with mine. I have to dust off the “Four Agreements” every now and then and or invoke Byron Katie. The only good news is that while the hills are still there, I’m apt to look down at my wheels a bit faster than I used to. Progress.

    Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on your book.

  2. Welcome onboard, Dorothy.

    We have in Danish the expression “the gnome moves with you” – we can’t outrun the issues we don’t confront. Your essay brought it up: “those old ghosts haunt us at will repeatedly throughout our lives, and either you let them affect you, or you look them in the face with courage and tell them to go away.”
    For me, journaling helps me discover which gnomes still hide.

    Recently I read a saying I didn’t know before: “Don’t tear down a wall unless you know why it is there.” I feel the same about gnomes. I have to think of what purpose it served because otherwise it will just change the name on the calling card and come visiting again. Once I know, I can sincerely thank it for the service it once provided and send it into retirement.

    • You are so right about those gnomes, ghosts or walls changing their names and come calling again. It is so important to be aware so that you can address them and send them along with gratitude! Thank you for sharing that!

  3. Welcome Dorothy!

    Perception is an interesting thing to reflect upon. Thank you for yours today.

    Especially during a pandemic time.

    Because folks around us and their impressions everywhere are shifting and shattering, changing and pinging out into the world.

    So many spots now to learn, re-learn and remind myself that what people put out in their interactions are not about me . . .

    And gratitude arises in seeing that more clearly.

    I find that my long time evening 15-minute meditation prayer (yep, to a timer!) helps me focus on gratitude in those 15 minutes.

    Leading me to an awareness as I pass through each next day of the tiny moment by moment gifts of “Wow!” and “Awesome!” and awe.


    • Thank you for sharing your insights Cynthia! I find that meditation helps ground me as well and brings me back to a place where I can be at peace, not only with myself, but with the chaotic world around me!

  4. Welcome Home Dorothy!
    It was great to read your story and could feel the self awareness unfolding in sweet time.
    The lesson of truth is right here in your own words:
    “Perception is everything. As soon as you think you are being rejected, you are being rejected. If you need to ask someone if you are being passive-aggressive you’re probably being passive-aggressive. Rejection is a perceived indigence and nothing more.”

  5. Dear Dorothy,

    I am sitting in a café in Winchester enjoying a double espresso rocket fuel and an almond croissant. Then I started reading your amazing essay. I had not other choice other than respond immediately to your words which too me on a journey of which I certainly resonate. I also climb hills; not on a bike, but perhaps a more challenging climb. I also love your description of of butterflies. I am a great lover of these wonderful angels of Mother Nature. You have joined Bizcatalyst360. You have joined a platform of genuine friends and I for one look forward to reading your essays.

    My kindest regards to you,