It appears that it is part of our nature as human beings to resist being rejected by our society. I find that we all basically want to be liked, to be held in high esteem, to be respected, or at the very least we do not want to be hated or seen as an ‘outcast’ in our society. My own speculation attributes this innate fear of rejection partially to our tribal roots, whereby it was necessary for the survival of an individual to be accepted by his or her tribe or community.
Living a solitary life was most likely a grave fate for our ancestors, as they did not have the type of infrastructure that has been developed by modern society: such as a formal government to protect them from life’s predicaments, or a healthcare system which provides care when illness strikes. They simply had their tribe or their small community in which they entrusted their safety and well-being to the dynamics of personal human relationships found in a communal refuge.
Nowadays, we can see that things are quite different. Most of the individuals who are a part of the modern world no longer reside in tight-knit communities, and even within our own neighborhoods it is a rare occurrence that close relationships are formed. We live in a disjointed world whereby we often opt for virtual communication rather than in-person communication and where our towns and our cities are marked by an inherent sentiment of competition and (often times ruthless) individualism.
Of course close relationships with others are not only ultimately fulfilling, but they also provide support and help which is highly desired during the times in our lives when ‘life happens.’ However, the way I see it is that we really don’t NEED the approval of the people around us to ultimately survive anymore.
This is not to say that societal approval cannot make one’s life a great deal easier, because it does. For example, I imagine it would be quite difficult to obtain a mainstream job when your face and body is covered with tattoos and piercings.
However, my point here is that I believe it is important for each of us to examine the fact that it is no longer of utmost importance in modern society for us to fear rejection. In fact, I find that the reason we have attained the incredible advances in all modes of living, and the progress that we all enjoy today in the developed world, is due to the brave individuals who did not live their lives in fear of what others thought of them.
These individuals realized that in order for positive changes to ensue in the world, it was necessary for them to forge a new path that had not before been embarked upon. It is highly evident that those who push boundaries and test limits are often the ones who are the most disliked and even feared by society. Yet can you imagine the world we’d live in today if these individuals did not transcend this deep yearning to be accepted and loved by other human beings? I personally would not want to live in that hypothetical world.
It’s hard to stomach the feeling of rejection by others, yet being disliked by others is an inescapable part of life: one that we all most endure. No matter how kind you are, how helpful you are, how bright or interesting you may be– there will always, and I mean always, be someone who dislikes you. So, why spend your energies and time trying to prevent a fate which is as inevitable as your own impending death?
Many seem to think that they can only be happy if they are loved by others, but I tend to disagree. I believe that putting your happiness and peace of mind in the hands of others is like placing your drunk Aunt Margaret in the driver’s seat of your car and doubtlessly expecting for her to deliver you home safely: this is a foolish endeavor and drunk-old Aunt Margaret will most likely get hurt, in addition to you.
You do not need the approval of others to be a fulfilled human being in this life. I believe each one of us should work towards obtaining a deeper sense of independence within ourselves. I believe that we should all work towards cutting ourselves loose from the binding ties of co-dependence, which I find to be both a tumultuous and shallow way of life, which robs the world of innovation, creativity and the progression toward a more harmonious world: a world which is forged only by those who are daring enough to be disliked.