We can create the narrative around every situation.
Think about an email that has gone unanswered.
You can think, “That person doesn’t care about me.” “This project must not be that important to him.” “Maybe my email wasn’t good enough.” “Maybe I said something wrong.”
But maybe that message got filtered to spam or junk mail. Maybe that person is busy or not good at managing their inbox. Maybe that person wants to take extra time to craft a great response.
Consider another situation. You exchanged phone numbers with someone you met, but that person never calls. You send him a text then check your phone every five minutes for a few days, but he never responds.
You can think, “maybe he just didn’t like me.” “I must not be good enough.” “I’m just not pretty enough.”
But maybe he just lost his phone. Maybe he’s scared to call.
As perfectionists, the actions and inactions of others can become a reflection of our negative self-worth. The behavior of others can reinforce our opinions of ourselves. We get defensive so we don’t feel the worry and fear. Defensiveness is safer because it allows us to control what we’re feeling.
The truth is that it probably isn’t about you at all. This understanding can only arise if you come from a place of vulnerability. You can make the call. You can follow up on that unanswered email. It may lead to more rejection, but most likely, you’ll be clear of the deception that your mind has created.