No Strings Attached – Grapevine Article June 1981 by T.B.

I OFFER THIS example of rejection in its simplest form. I give a gift to someone. I bought or made the gift with joy. I anticipated how pleased the other person would be. I looked forward to the smile of appreciation and the warm gratification it would give me. In other words, I have made myself responsible for the other person’s feelings. I am giving a gift with strings attached: “Here is something I want you to have because you are going to love it, and therefore love me for giving it to you.” If the person does not react the way I want, I am disappointed. This person is not playing the part as I have written it. I feel rejected.

It is really the same when I offer myself to others. If I present myself in a way I believe other people want me to act, I am offering myself with strings: “I am acting this way so you will accept me. I am being what I think you want me to be. Therefore, you must love me.”

Where can this lead me? If I change myself to be what I think others want me to be, so that they will accept me or love me, what will I do when that is no longer what they want? What if I was mistaken in my impression of what they wanted me to be? If they do not feel toward me the way I want them to, I have set myself up for rejection.

So, when I am in my quiet time, reviewing my day, and I feel rejected, I ask myself why. I try to see the situation honestly. Was I rejected? Or am I hurt because people did not react to me the way I wanted them to? Did I take responsibility for their feelings, or did I honestly offer myself to them with no strings attached?

In any case, there is something I can do: I can work toward being the real me, the best me I can become, by working my Twelve Steps program. Then, when I offer myself and I am accepted, that’s wonderful. If I am not, if the real me is rejected, then I can only pray to God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I have found if I follow this approach, I no longer need to fear rejection.

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