“If you live for people's acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” –Lecrae Moore
A synchronous message came to me a couple years into my recovery. Three separate times, three different people told me this, “Cheri, it’s none of your business what someone else thinks of you.” The first time I heard it, I was stupefied as it contradicted everything I had grown up to believe. The second time, I gave some serious thought to it. The third time it came as a two-by-four demanding I do some thing other than think about it. My awareness was minimal, but my heart knew what my mind didn’t. This was the beginning of a newfound freedom.
I grew up always being asked, “What did you do wrong” whether the issue was relationship, school, or work. It was my responsibility to make sure I did the “right thing” and that people liked me as the keys to success. So, to hear the words, “it’s not my business what someone else thinks of me” felt thoroughly unbelievable. Of course it was my business, how could it not be?
Yet, I was being given new information and truth I needed. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I was always trying to please someone so they would “like me.” This set me up for rejection, and was disempowering me all along the way.
CoDA shares codependents often “compromise their own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger; put aside their own interests in order to do what others want; and value others’ approval of their thinking, feelings, and behavior over their own.” It’s easy to see how problematic this is, yet, I lived steeped in that world for a long time. It took major shaking of my life for me to begin to see it.
Recovery is “one day at a time” for good reason. Codependency is a lot to unwind, because it pervades all areas of life. It’s like a game of Whac-a-mole — I think I have it under control then it pops up again in a new way. The layers are more subtle now — going after some deeper parts in me — because some of the heavy lifting has been done.
I do have a responsibility to others, however I’m not responsible for them. I do my part and I am not solely responsible for the outcomes. My love and worth do not come from someone’s approval of me, rather it’s a gift from my Creator. I don’t think rejection ever will come easy, but now I am able to stand in my own power, follow my own heart more, and experience a freedom to be me that was impossible before.
Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.