The skin flush with the heat of fresh rejection. Rejection and judgement. The blood boils and there is a rage that simmers and spills over to the drivers in front, the slowness of the cashier and the impossibility of ridiculousness politicians. That rage transforms to sadness in the stillness of an empty room and the deepest depths of loneliness. Tears spill over the lower lids of the eyes and there is a need to comfort oneself with noise, food or drug, perhaps exercise or a book.
That gremlin remains beneath the surface, waiting until you are alone again. You continue the game of pretending everything is fine and you have let go of the shame and anger until you are still and like the incoming waves of the ocean, it washes over you again. Or, you move inland, staying busy, staying pre-occupied, numbing it away.
We have such complex stories... each so different, but the basic emotion behind the stories are the same. Rejection, be it financial, in a relationship, a bully, or being denied one's dream in a sport, still results in a feeling of loss. Then our mind puts a meaning on it. The more successful and self realized put a meaning of a lesson to be learned or a silver lining. Those of us who have a little work to do lash out in blame... someone else's fault, or criticism and judgement right back. And for some with a whole lot of digging from despair work ahead, are internalizing the message that they somehow are a failure. A message that may be triggered by a memory of a similar message from experiences in one's youth.
Bottomline... we all experience a myriad of emotions in response to a situation BECAUSE of the MEANING we place on the elements of the experience. For example, a climber, let's call him/her Project climber, has a project (a route or boulder problem they are trying to complete, but are currently unable to climb without falling). Project climber watches as someone who climbs much worse than they climb walks over to the project and easily complete the route. Projecting climber now will interpret this event - this new information. Depending on how Project climber perceives his/her own ability relative to the other climber, how s/he perceives the gym and routesetters, how s/he perceives him/herself AND most importantly, habit thinking will determine the emotion Project climber experiences. Let's consider the following situation... Project climber has a tendency to think s/he is awesome - a bravado that has been built in to ensure the world sees him/her as of value in the climbing world. S/he has a tendency to want the world to know that s/he is a strong and adept climber because it is on this that Project climber has built his./her identity.
Project climber's reaction in this situation may well be to feel a little less awesome watching Novice climber complete something s/he cannot do. This could lead to a number of responses based on the prevalent emotion. If there is a sense of shame - "I should be better than that person, there is something wrong with me." - Project climber may hide the shame behind a number of reactions - anger displayed in a raised voice or throwing things, ignoring or shutting out the outside world - this could just look like walking away - judgement and criticism of the route, the setters, or even Novice climber. There could be a false support for Novice climber too.
You may reflect on your own response to a situation similar to this one. Here's the thing... there is nothing wrong with the situation OR the response - UNLESS there is no conscious choice of behaviour.
It is okay to experience shame. You will whether you want to or not.
It is okay to experience anger, resentment or judgement.
It is NOT okay to take it out on those around you.
This is where consciousness about the feeling is critical. Allowing oneself to feel the pain of shame - the red flush, the resentment is natural and unstoppable. It is a response of the autonomic nervous system that has elevated your fight or flight response to a situation where your sense of self feels threatened. No one is attempting to harm you, but your nervous system has experienced a threat to your identity. The nervous system is not determining that it merely your ego is bruised, it is experiencing a threat to your very identity.
Let's be clear, this is not about bringing a pollyanna ideology to negative events. This is about accepting the event and letting go of a meaning we are placing on it. Coaching youth for years, I can tell you how tightly they hold onto their placing in competitions. They create their identity based on the results. Good results equals good climber. Bad results equals I am a bad climber. And maybe on a relativity scale of performance they are a bad climber, BUT they are NOT a BAD HUMAN.
Consider this... bullying is wrong. We all agree bullying is wrong. And we create a day to tell bullies, "YOU are wrong if you are a bully. We will not tolerate you." When I hear this message, I hear something that sounds like bullying. No one is ever wrong as a human being. Behaviour can certainly at times, be inappropriate, but I challenge you to find anyone who has never done anything inappropriate.
My point... don't bully yourself when you do something wrong. When you experience a loss or a rejection, how do you react? If it is with anger and criticism. Consider this instead, what is it about that situation that is really hurting or upsetting you? Allow the feeling to be there and spend time with the memory of the experience. Then consider what is really happening for you.