A week back an occurrence took place to someone close to me while out with his young son. Whilst walking past a local park, his son had spotted a group of 5 Asian children, similar in age, playing football. Being a keen and enthusiastic football player my friend’s little boy had asked his permission to check out with the group of boys to see if they could allow him to join them and play. On consenting to this, he’d walked over to the group and asked them if they’d mind him joining them. One of the boys from the group who appeared slightly older told him to hold off first whilst he checked with the rest of the group first. The group appeared to go in to a sort of a secret ballot over this request before one of them returned and told him they’d decided not to have have him join in with them. To this response, my friend’s little boy nodded his acceptance of their decision and thanked them anyway before walking away to rejoin his dad.
You might be wondering why this episode had a profound effect on my friend, the dad of this little boy. It made him reflect how effortlessly his son in his innocence had simply accepted the decision of the other little ones not to have him join them in play. He didn’t push to be accepted nor complain that they’d turned him down. He simply accepted.
Well. Usually as adults especially, when we are met with rejection, the immediate reaction is often anger and the need to voice what we see as an injustice done to us by the other person(s). In this instance, one might even have taken the rejection to be based along the lines of racial prejudice. And the reasons for the other person(s) rejection might just as well be down to prejudice. Or in the situation of these little Asians boys, that they were about to pack up and leave the park.
Most of the times, I believe that rejection is simply a state of the mind of the individual(s) in that given moment and not in any way connected subjectively to the individual being rejected. Even so, I like to believe that the rejection in one area is opening me up to be accessible to other areas that I need in that given moment. It is to my best mental health to hold that view than to allow negativity to fester in me.
My friend’s son revived that lesson of acceptance. When one accepts a situation, they remove the weight of evoked anger, whilst they over analyse and stress the motives of an issue. They don’t necessary agree with the act or decision, they simply accept it is not their call to get worked up over it.