You have stretched your comfort zone, put yourself out there with all of who you are and your potentials for contribution. And it flopped. Nobody cared. Nobody understood. Or you faced outright opposition, criticism or outright ridicule.
This is not an easy move, and the pain of rejection stings like little else, and the more you were open and true to yourself, the deeper it hurts and all you want to do is crawl back inside and hope nobody saw you. Pain (I’m not talking about a sprained ankle) is a guide to something not going well, a warning signal, an invitation to look closer and to do something about it.
Situations like this are key, not only because they disrupt our flow, but because they are such useful pointers to something deeper. It hurts because the situation touched something you deeply and truly care about. Your values: Key principles, truths you hold about life, about humans, about business, family and what is right for you. Often these are not conscious until somebody steps on them, so this is a surefire way of (re)discovering what truly matters.
This is a key part of the learning curve. Refining your approach bit by bit is key to start making better decisions for yourself to align your life more and more with your values.
In situations like these where it gets uncomfortable, first of all take good care of yourself. If you have to actually crawl back inside for a bit, do that. If your integrity gets hurt, stick with it and identify what the line is that got crossed. And then, when you are able to, look at what happened. Take it bit by bit in installments you can handle. What was the “thing” that was hurting? What does it represent that is so important to you? How would you name it? Describe it? Does the pain have a “physical signature” that you recognize? Is there a symbol, metaphor for it? Was that always important in your life? How does “it” normally play out? How is it when it is disrupted? Is that something you recognize as a pattern?
And then start looking into how to make it better. What are things you can do now to make the situation less painful? What are other ways to feed the need you have to get more fulfillment? Can you let others help you? (Often we do get help offered and we don’t take it as we are too submerged in pain to see it. You probably won’t have to carry everything alone so don’t think you have to).
Capture your findings in a journal, sketchbook, scrapbook, music playlist or whatever medium works best for you. These are the things you care about the most. And then start taking concrete steps how to bring them out more in your life.
Pain, however strong it may be, is not your enemy. So, rather than fighting it, put your pain where it belongs. To work. For you.