Everybody talks about the sting of rejection, the pain of losing someone you let your heart attach to, but what we don’t always talk about or mention is the flipside of rejection. What we neglect to realize, is that when someone walks away, they have their own side to the story that’s just as valid as ours.
It was the middle of January and pouring down rain when you came into my life. I wasn’t expecting or even looking for romance, but something in the way you said hello demanded my attention. In a matter of weeks, you occupied my every waking thought. My mind was never idle, always running through a million different rehearsed outcomes of what you and I could be. I wanted you from the moment I noticed the depth of your gaze and the sincerity in your smile. And like many others I once locked eyes with, we became something more than just strangers interacting on a daily basis.
Here’s something they don’t tell you when you take the risk of opening your heart to a person who is tentative from the start: no matter how much love you have to give, if they walk into your life afraid, chances are they’ll never gain the courage to move forward.
I realize now, that when you told me that you didn’t want to get involved in anything serious, you weren’t trying to be shady or even trying to play me. You were seriously scared to death of falling into love. And I don’t say that to build or buffer my ego. I say that because I see now that it’s true.
You had places to go, dreams to chase, designs for your future long before my smiling face arrived on the scene. For months since we parted ways, I’ve felt the loss and entertained the sorrow over you never giving us a proper chance. But I’ve been healing through the pursuit of my passions, through expanding my dreams, through walking in my callings, through sharing my gifts with the world around me.
And now, for the first time, I realize that just as I would never want anyone to stifle my growth, to come between my plans and the desires most important to me, I wouldn’t ever want to do anything to prevent you from meeting your full potential as well. I realize now, that it was never really about you rejecting me, or me not being good enough for you. It was never really about proving my worth or trying to change your mind. I realize now that what we had was real from the start, that those butterflies were shared, and that every moment we spent together wasn’t just a one-sided ordeal; I realize now that you felt what I felt, that your heart skipped when my heart skipped, and that this wasn’t easy for you either. I realize now that I walked into your life as unannounced as you walked into mine, and that you just weren’t prepared to feel the things you felt for me.
After all the heartache, the sleepless nights, the tears cried in vain, I realize now that there is a flipside to rejection. I realize that your heart probably hurt just as much as mine when we said goodbye, and that maybe it might have even hurt more. Because you realized something I had yet to recognize: that we both had places to go, people to see, and things to accomplish. You realized that what we had was a beautiful disruption to our dream-lined roads. And even though, in the end, you chose your ambitions over us, I see now that I wouldn’t have wanted it any differently.
You see, because the flipside of my heartache would require the sacrifice of dreams that were important for you to follow. And I would never ask that of you, and I hope that you or anyone else would never ask that of me.
So you see, sometimes the flipside of rejection is a heart that’s equally hurting. Sometimes behind the flipside of rejection stands a person you’ve wrongly thought a coward, who may not have been ready for love, but was also not ready to watch either of you give up the things you longed for. And sometimes the flipside of rejection just might give you the perspective to see that there’s always a reason why things don’t work out, and to try your best to have compassion and love, even when you don’t understand.
I still miss you, but today I realized that there’s a flipside of rejection, and that maybe I’m not the only victim after all.