They all failed.
When I started businesses that succeeded against the odds, he shrugged his shoulders. When I took up expensive hobbies (that I suck at) because he loves them, he showed no interest. When I uprooted my family to move near him and help his business, he dismissed my ideas. It was a nightmare.
Still, I didn’t give up. “We’re brothers, damn it!” I’d tell my wife, Hope. “We should be friends.”
“But you aren’t friends. You have nothing in common and he isn’t interested in you,” Hope would remind me.
“Yeah, but that’s not how it should be.”
Then, I’d continue in my preoccupation with this man who never approved, never showed interest and, over a 45-year period, never showed any sign that this pattern had a chance of changing.
I knew I was seeking his approval, but understanding that didn’t help. Then one day while working on our new AHA Solution program, I had the AHA moment that blew the issue away.
Ouch. It’s a rejection attachment! An attachment is an unconscious tendency to experience negative feelings again and again. It’s like an autopilot that was set in the wrong direction. It just keeps going there. You don’t like the destination, but can’t figure out how to reprogram it.
So, my unconscious attachment made a beeline toward rejection, on autopilot.
With the realization I was unwittingly seeking rejection, I let it all go. Seeing things clearly and honestly really does heal. I don’t want to seek rejection. I want to be at peace.
Now, I am much more free to be me without trying to impress him. I can let him do whatever he wants with his life without pretending to be interested. We aren’t close. Trying to be close with him is a big set up. I have experienced it too many times now.
Or, are you seeking approval from someone who will never approve? There is no difference.
Here are some other signs that you are struggling with an unconscious attachment to rejection:
You go overboard to please people.
You anticipate rejection – expecting it before it happens.
You suffer from low self-esteem.
You were rejected a lot as a child (setting your autopilot in the wrong direction!)
You don’t believe your ideas are valuable.
You underestimate your competence and skills.
You tend to put your foot in your mouth a lot.
You make jokes or make light of things at all the wrong times.
You criticize yourself.
You think you are only worthy if you are perfect.
You set unrealistic goals, then fail and condemn yourself.
These are just a few signs of a rejection attachment. There are differing styles of rejection attachments. Identifying your particular style is very helpful. Most of all, when you realize what you are doing, you may suddenly get the motivation to change… and life will become much easier!
If you would like to learn more about how to make these changes in your life by recognizing and addressing your attachments, click here to learn about the AHA Solution.