On our October 2010 trip we ate almost every morning at our favorite Waikīkī restaurant, the Wailana, which is pretty much equi-distant between the Ilikai where we were staying and where my brother Dan lives. The Wailana has a pretty extensive menu, massive portions, and an atmosphere very much like a small-town diner although the restaurant is a good size. Every time I walk into the Wailana I feel as if I have come home.
One evening I said something to Mom that made her really angry, so angry in fact that she went to her suite without saying good-night and would not join me the next morning at the Wailana! As I sat there eating my Eggs Benedict by myself I reflected upon the previous evening’s conversation. Gradually I came to see how she could have heard what I said as a rejection of her even though I had not intended it that way. Sometimes I am too glib for my own good!
The fear of rejection is the fear of not belonging and deep down in our hearts we all fear that isolation. Fearing rejection we react in certain ways to head off the possibility of being rejected. Such a reaction is a way of keeping others at arm’s length in order to protect the self. The difficulty with this approach is that even while we keep others at arm’s length we also keep ourselves distanced from others, thereby fueling our feeling of isolation, our experience of not belonging to anyone or anywhere!
By the end of my reflective breakfast I came to the conclusion that it did not matter who had been right and who had been wrong, what had been misheard or misunderstood. When I got back to the Ilikai I found a florist in Honolulu who was willing to deliver a big bouquet of roses and baby’s breath to Mom’s room in a vase. That apology cost me $75 but it was worth it the moment Mom called me in my room and the first words out of the telephone were, “The flowers are SO beautiful! Thank you! I am really SO moved by them.” Belonging to others can be a costly business but there are truly some things that you really can’t put a price on!