The Unbearable Ferocity of Rejection

by Alan Johnston, Pottsville, Australia

Scene 1: – Trees all around and the sweet sense of dusk settling in.

Men are talking with each other in an open-hearted, honest way. Sharing the kinds of unbearable rejection they have all felt and the ferocity of the life-responses that followed. The respect and caring is palpable. There is no blame to speak of – although it may be mentioned in passing. I, for one, am deeply grateful. The healing grows week to week. And as a man who has had minimal male friends in half a century, I begin to love these men and comprehend what brotherhood feels like…

Scene 2: – The front bar of a Northern Rivers hotel. Some kind of contact sport is on a flat screen high in a corner.

Men are slur-talking with each other through the thick lens on the bottom of a schooner. This distortion flows through the room. Blame and complaint are commonplace. The wife/partner/missus/little woman – well, they’d had a gutful. ‘Others’ by the very word are distanced, resented, even reviled. The laughter is often at their expense. The ferocity of this life-response oozes deep hurt. Unbearable.

468 thoughts on “The Unbearable Ferocity of Rejection

  1. I agree with you Alan life is ferocious for everyone, I watched a webcast the other day and the men looked exhausted sitting in their seats but attempting to be upbeat and aggressive in their predictions of how the company would outperform again by out stripping the previous year’s profit. What is it that drives us to put everything to one side our health, families etc., just to make more money for a company? It just doesn’t make any sense to me, something is wrong.

  2. The way you describe these two scenes is striking Alan. What a contrast and what a difference we make to each other when we honour and respect one another, allowing the space to share what we really feel.

  3. ‘And as a man who has had minimal male friends in half a century, I begin to love these men and comprehend what brotherhood feels like…’ this is very beautiful to read but also gets me feeling how many men there must be who don’t have this and are craving connection. I haven’t been to football matches but just on the tube when there’s a match on and all the mostly male supporters on going to a match or coming from a match. What I feel is that this sense of togetherness for the love of the game is the nearest, safest thing to what you have described. That you and these other men are expressing the truth of who you are is amazing. Half a century with minimal male friends is such a long time, and I know many men don’t get to experience what you’ve discovered. But the more it becomes your norm the more that’s available to every one.

  4. The two scenes are black and white, and they serve a clear reflection on how I am when I am stuck in my hurts, and how I am when willing to stay open and heal with the support of others. Either way we are always in contact with others, but what is the quality of that connection and the intention?

  5. Trapped inside bravado is a sensitive person. I feel all my defences and protection – whether they be me acting less or acting more they are hiding the beautiful, sensitive person I am. I am no different to anyone else.

  6. Men on the front foot of life and not the front bar definitely are more at ease with themselves. Then other men as they get that reflection, can be willing to move and walk about in Humble-Appreciative-Ness of being re-connected to their essences, which will also be reflected in their Loving movements.

  7. “Men are talking with each other in an open-hearted, honest way. Sharing ……. The respect and caring is palpable.” So beautiful Alan. We are all deeply tender underneath the mask we wear, yet men have been conditioned to be tough. Letting go of the mask reveals the grace and delicacy – be we men or women.

  8. We have an opportunity in every moment of every single day to embrace all that we feel, and be honest and open about it, or to reject, deny and react. The former invites openness and connection with others, the latter closes us off from it.

    1. The former is a beautiful humbleness we can know ourselves by. It’s knowing we are not faulty or better than another. Being open to feeling where many have left our tender selves, we can gently return ourselves to ourselves.

  9. Your writing is as poignant as ever Alan. It is a sad state that men find themselves in trying to fit being the ‘typical man’. This pressure is intense for all but has been shown to increase as rurality increases. Let’s hope more of these true connections for men grow until that becomes our norm, not the mental health, suicide and suppressed expression that currently flourish.

  10. What would life be like if we did not have a pub or maybe even no alcohol at all? A drugless society that had as its normal us deepening our relationships and expressing in true brotherhood, maybe we would not need a legal system the way it is currently structured?

  11. The difference you describe is stark indeed Alan the first feels open warm and inviting, the second feels cold and protected. For many of us we live shut down cold and protected, in this way of living it is easy to blame others and or ridicule others because on some level we actually ridicule ourselves for the choices we have made to shut down and protect.

  12. The contrast painted here is so sharp, and most live scene 2, and know while they do how much it hurts and how much they actually want something different, for men are deeply tender and scene 1 confirmed and deepens that quality, and as more men live this way, more will live this way again.

  13. Scene two senses where a lot of people can relate to at least one, and most likely feel uncomfortable from the other. One is asking us to go deeper in our connections, in our intimacy and the other is asking us to stay in our complete and disconnected way of being and not being accountable for our actions.

  14. Having those who are willing to embrace scene 1 offers those in scene 2 a reminder and inspiration that there is another way/ possibility that can be lived…

  15. Scene 2 can only continue for so long before the tension of living with such unnatural abuse prompts one to adopt the more natural way as described in scene 1.

  16. Wow Alan so very touching feeling the depth of joy and the depth of pain conveyed in the two scenarios. And all because at the core of it a different energy and different way of relating and responding to life has been chosen.

  17. There is definitely an openness in the first group of men, and in their vulnerability an opportunity to truly connect to one another. It’s a short but beautiful expose of the impacts of our choices.

  18. It’s interesting that rejection does not need to be of you as person, as in there can still be a level of relationship like in scene 2, I wonder if the most painful rejection is not an outright rejection but of the true qualities that make you who you are, so rejecting men’s tenderness or their amazing capacity to love each other, and even worse our own rejection of these so incredibly innate qualities, in favour of behaviours and choices and are so far away from who we know ourselves to be.

    1. Meg that is a great point that we reject the wholeness of people even though on the surface it may appear we are not rejecting them, as the relationship may come with conditions.

  19. I have deep respect and appreciation for men coming back to themselves and talking about issues like rejection, as was mentioned in scene one. It is truly beautiful to know men in this way as it is their true nature I am sure.

    1. Yes I agree Lieke. Men may speak about such things one to one or wth women but in a group of other men it is highly unlikely. I have felt the change in men that I know who have chosen to open up in this way and it is awesome how clearer they have become, more tender but with an inner strength, very awesome.

  20. What a beautifully clear comparison of life choices. To be our hurts and deflect, moan and blame or to be willing to face and heal them. I have been in both camps.

  21. Gosh, there is such a difference here, but I reckon that any man, should he have the chance or the opportunity would choose to be in that group of brotherhood inspired men.

  22. 2 very different scenes – one of which we can blame others and keep people away, the other where we can choose to be ourselves and let down our guards. Everything is a choice, so do we buy into the picture of friends watching football, or equal brothers who share the fullness of who they are.

    1. It’s a great example of how much choice we have in life, we can get stuck in a rut but ultimately we know there are other choices, yet we’ll keep choosing that rut until we see more value or worth in making a change.

  23. The insecurity in mens’ laughter is so easy to spot when laughing at another. The tone communicates just how much a human being hates themselves in order to have to pick at another.

    1. It is the created ill ways that have shown us in multiple ways that there is a part of our existence here on earth — that enjoys creating no matter what the consequence is for our body. We seem to dismiss our body often with whatever choice we make, only looking good from the outside, not considering or even asking or wanting to look further than the image we see. We need to become more honest, see and help each other evolve from these ill created behaviors.

      1. Beautiful Danna, true evolutionary support is to make the steps ourselves first. Only from there can we offer a reflection and a pull up to another human being.

  24. I recognize myself in both scenes as being a participant. The good news I am now in scene 1, and have left scene 2. Not drinking alcohol did help as being more connected to my heart and fully taking responsibility of the choices I have made.

  25. Said in a nutshell Alan. As we step out from our comfort, hurts and fears and open up to trust and connection our lives change immeasurably.

  26. Dealing with our hurts and letting go of our pictures, ideals and beliefs allows for scene one to become more accessible to us.

  27. Immersed in the ferocity of life-response, I didn’t even recognise the pain I had been numbing for a very long time. The togetherness and the equalness felt from the scene 1 calls me home.

  28. I can understand through the teachings of Universal Medicine how we have chosen to leave the brotherhood, the union that we come from as energetic beings first. Hence there can be a reflection of enormous rejection if we so face a situation where a denial or love and togetherness is brought in place.. Revealing to us the oh so obvious of the love we have left behind, but are continuously offered to share and live again.

  29. Scene 1 is what we all seek, even when playing out scene 2. In scene 2 we’re still looking for brotherhood and it only adds to our hurts more that we don’t find it.

    1. Agreed Nikki, the scene 2 guys have twisted what it means to be in brotherhood by thinking that drinking together and sharing their own misery and criticisms of others will bring them closer (because that connection is what they are so deeply missing) when in the end it only separates them further from themselves and thus everyone else through their lack of understanding and compassion.

  30. When we open our hearts to one another, and share of the hurts we have accumulated along the way, the protection dissolves freeing us to discover that we are of the same tenderness in essence, and can then begin to explore living the power of this innate quality. Otherwise we continue to be incarcerated by the walls of protection we have erected, that keep us from knowing who we are.

  31. The contrast is so stark and yet both are equally possible and anyone, no matter where they’ve been can choose that first one, where we open up, deal with our hurts and share and be us in life with ourselves and others.

  32. The difference between dealing with life and everything we feel, experience and know and not dealing with everything. I think the biggest difference is purpose, in scene 1 we are happening to life, there is a purpose and a willingness to deeply understand life and grow and learn from it, whereas in scene 2 life is seemingly just happening to us, and without the willingness to understand comes the blame and judgement.

  33. There is so much more to life when we open our hearts and drop our armour and share what is really touching us and going on in our lives.

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