I believe there are real and tangible reasons why our personalities are shaped in a particular way. Some people are really fast, and so they design their livelihood around sports. Some people are strategic thinkers, and so they turn to things that challenge them mentally. Some people love food, so they find huge comfort in cooking.
What does that phrase “just being me” really signify? Is it a balance between nurture versus nature, or is it a reflection of a person’s behaviour? This discussion focuses on the human persona and how I feel it is affected by external sources. We will talk about the power of rejection, love, and the binding nature of loneliness.
R E V E L A T I O N O N E
It’s a nasty thing to think about. It’s a target of conversation that has appeared on numerous occasions in many of my blogs. The idea or focus on rejection for me personally will always refer to relationships and the way we react to being rejected which is why the word social slips into the equation.
Kicked in the stomach and winded by the blow. Rejection is a nasty and frustrating thing to cope with. Nobody enjoys the experience of being rejected entirely. It’s as if we are hard-wired as individuals to take rejection as an indication that we were not strong enough or too weak to be acceptable in a social setting. Turned around by the individuals who cared about us personally. It can work into how we treat other people, and I believe it can influence how our personalities are shaped.
The brain to rejection is kind of like a mother of a child who has just been kicked in the guts by a bully. She takes the initiative to put in measures around preventing her son from being bullied in the future. A seasoned brain would probably send her son to martial arts classes to teach her son self-defence.
I wonder if this is instinctive. A chemical reaction to the experience of being rejected. Our brains immediate response to dealing with being rejected. Perhaps in a bid to protect itself, it might come up with a variety of alternatives to fix the situation or to prevent the rejection from happening in the first place. Maybe the brain notices signs or anticipates the rejection from happening.
Anywhere from relationship breakups all the way to having a $20 bill being rejected by the ATM. The brain must monitor every single bit of data that remotely looks familiar to a rejection case held in the past. A constant surveillance system operating internally 24 hours a day every day of the week. Poor mumsies just can’t seem to be able to take a break!
About a month ago I walked into this brand new diner called Vercoe’s in my hometown of Blenheim. Inside this new establishment were neatly decorated furnishings and a very eccentric menu.
As I walked in, I remember making eye-contact with this super pretty waitress behind the till. Surely enough her expressions were this sigh of frustration that we are all too familiar with. The “oh great, another customer but my break is in five minutes” look.
With empathy in mind for the girl, I simply asked to look at the menu in line for some hearty lunch. Full snobbishly, she handed me a menu letting me pick my seat in the room. So I said thank you and walked to my seat.
After getting settled down it dawned on me that the diner was profoundly known for serving food at the chef’s leisure, basically put it means slow (asf). After figuring that out and recognizing that there was only half an hour till my friends would be arriving I ordered only a milkshake.
To my surprise, the waitress then looked at me up and down with this smug grin as if to say, “I expected you couldn’t afford this food,” and continued to let me know that the milkshake bar was down the road.
Being the sarcastic prick I am, my answer to her snarkiness almost immediately was,
“do they have a cow too?” At this point, I stood up and left the building with a nice wink at the pretty looking waitress on my way out.
Anyway, that’s an irrelevant story to the discussion on rejection but I just wanted to highlight this expression of rejection which occurred in this space. That this situation was dealt with through sarcasm and humour instead of shock and anxiety. Though the waitress was acting incredibly rude and highly unprofessional, it raises the issue of how much worse the situation could have been.
If the individual who was being spoken down to was somebody who was in a vulnerable position the situation could have ended much differently. Had they been in a violent mindset, had the customer been a police officer or a sting then there might have been far different ramifications.
Imagine the effect of the rejection on a person with severe depression. Somebody with severe suicidal tendencies and mental illnesses. The slight racial expressionism to my darker skin tone to any other person may have been enough to meet the tipping point.
The overall inappropriate nature of telling me to fuck off somewhere else if I wanted a milkshake let alone the psychological effect of rejecting my custom is enough to piss off anybody.
The misconception is believing that there are no impacts of treating people with disrespect. Because the true nature of rejecting somebody first and foremost will always be a painful experience for them. But the accumulated impact is actually so much bigger than just “you’re not good enough for me.” It goes beyond that point, all the way to “you’re not good enough for the world.”
Queue the seasoned brain. The brain which has put up with the drama for an extended period of time. The being who has had to change their persona out of fear of being rejected. A misaligned individual with a low sense of self-worth and a high level of anxiety.
Perhaps this is mum from the extended metaphor. Maybe it is in this space where the child is put through conditioning. The person is made to feel conscious of other peoples views of them. A poor child forced to switch schools and build new friendships elsewhere, all the meanwhile the poor boy is still suffering from the effects of the bullying.
That a person rejected, while they might stick up for themselves, the brains automatic response is to protect itself from the mental and emotional trauma in the future, regardless of the wounds taken on by the child.
My view is that if we all had psychological landscapes where our personalities resided and existed. If we all had our own little worldviews within our heads. Where emotion existed as the weather. Where our knowledge took the form of buildings. Our inner architecture would be scrambled by the external forces of the world.
One of the biggest external pressures, particularly facing our teenaged generation, is social anxiety and social rejection. Instead of our emotions being impacted by a light drizzle, it devours our self-image like a hurricane and an earthquake shredding our lives apart.
Forcing us to coexist with the views and knowledge that we can use to take refuge. To scramble out of fear and neglect from the external pressures of rejection into a lonely life within an invisible box. Waiting for the weather to pass, without a clue as to when that is.
A structure built out of the scraps that our world allows us to live inside. A state where we are convenient to those who like to step on others. A laughing stock for the bullies, for the dominant alphas. We live in a culture of people who allow the belief system that we can be better than others. In that space, we allow the terms “loser” or “faggot” to be slammed on innocent kids in our schools.
That as a collective while we may all live in physical boxes. The impact of rejection is enormous on other people. So enormous that we change the very fabric to determine who we are as individuals. Whether it’s mum looking out for us or a bitchy waitress having a dig over a lactose infused banana milkshake. We are now living inside an invisible box, a place for us to now call home.
Now it all might sound a little depressing by now. Apologies if that’s now how you feel. However, the box is a beautiful place. A somewhat necessary place. Somewhere we can thrive and grow. Though cabin fever is a claustrophobic parameter of living within the confines of our box, we still have ourselves. That’s ultimately what we will build on in our next catch up with regards to love and relationship. So stay tuned for more!
Thanks for checking in!