“In the face of rejection, you must learn to be courageous. It is important to believe in yourself. Be like the sun, which shines on serenely even though not all the heavenly bodies reflect back its light and even though some of its brilliance seems to radiate only into empty space. While those who reject your friendship may sometimes fade out of your life, the more you shine your light, the more brilliant your life will become.” –Daisaku Ikeda
As a child, it seemed very easy for me to make friends. As an adolescent and then an adult, meeting new people and making new friends was difficult. For the longest time, I felt as if I didn’t have friends. I had no idea where this feeling came from, I only knew it was there. It persisted like a terrible open wound that wouldn’t heal. Always in the background, I would catch it peeking out at me from the dark corners of my mind. “Go away!” I would tell it. “Scram!” I would say. But nothing seemed to work. Recently, I realized that the source of this feeling came from a deep belief I harbored about myself that I just wasn’t good enough. Somehow, I didn’t measure up. I didn’t always feel this way about myself, but at some point during my travels as a youth it took a strong hold like a parasite feeding on my self-esteem. I began to wonder, in what other ways did this dark thought hold me back from living a happy and fulfilling life.
Then one day, it seemed to disappear. Days went by, and the days turned into weeks. The weeks turned into months, and I thought to myself, “Yay, that ugly feeling is gone!” Until recently when it popped up to make itself known waving at me in amusement at its cruel joke. However, this time was different, and I noticed a slight shift in my abilities. Rather than sticking to my old script shrinking away like a coward, I stood strong, and I acknowledged its return. I had gained back a bit more of my personal power, and I wasn’t going to back down. The belief I had harbored for so long had finally lost some of its power, and this time I could see it shake and quiver.
Looking back over my victory, I realized that the only way to overcome this negativity was to take responsibility for it. It was mine afterall, and no one had created it for me. True, the actions of others might remind me that it’s there, but in the end how much power it has over me is a choice I make. With a new sense of freedom toward developing new friendships, I discovered that I was able to pay less attention to the doors that were closed and instead focus all my appreciation on the ones that were standing wide open.