Hello and Welcome Friends,
Everyone knows rejection. We’ve all experienced the feeling. It can be a simple put-down with surface wounds that heal quickly. Or it can wound the soul so deeply, it robs you of your full potential. Maybe once you were a confident, easy-going person, but since the rejection you’re guarded, skeptical, and you feel you’ve lost part of your real self. For long periods of time you may not even think about it, but it’s reflected in different aspects of your daily life, and you carry it with you with no sign of recovery. It sounds extreme, but it does happen.
Children especially need to know love and acceptance, and they’re sensitive to rejection from any source. A child may not be chosen for the team, one child in a family may be left out, they may be called stupid or useless, etc. And scars can be left on young hearts. When I was a child, I moved to a northern city with my southern accent, and my classmates kept asking why I talked funny. I took this to mean I didn’t fit in, and to me that was rejection. I cried sometimes when no one saw me, but in time they got used to my curious speech, and I finally felt acceptable in my new school.
Sometimes rejections come in innocent ways, without intention from others to say or do anything hurtful. Or other times they may be deliberate. Either way, we live with them. Adults may feel rejection in broken relationships, problems at work, being left out, their race or religion, different lifestyles or life situations, any way they’re considered different. Reasons for rejection are numerous and can come from any source with minimal or severe consequences. And we feel the pain.
“The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.”
~ Henri Nouwen
Rejections from outer sources hurt, but what about the way we reject ourselves with all kinds of inner criticism and fault-finding. Maybe that comes from messages when we believed negative remarks and treatment in our world–messages that said you’re selfish, ungrateful, unworthy, unimportant, incapable, you don’t matter…whatever. We picked up those messages and sent them to our subconscious as truth. Then our subconscious said, “yes“, and spits them up when our buttons are pushed.
Healing begins with self-reflection to expose those rejection messages and regain your strength to erase the scars you carry. You may be familiar with feelings of rejection but not clear about what the message is telling you.
1. Get quiet, close your eyes, and identify any fears, negative beliefs and behaviors you see in yourself. Make a list of whatever you come up with.
2. Now connect a feeling with each one. Examples: (belief) Nobody cares what I have to say, and (feeling) that makes me feel unimportant. Or, (behavior) I don’t ask for help, because (feeling) when I do, I feel selfish. Continue your list, matching feelings with what you see in yourself. And allow yourself to really feel your feelings.
3. Now ask yourself where you got a message that coincides with each entry on your list. Examples: How did I get the belief that nobody cares what I have to say that makes me feel unimportant and rejected? Where did I get the idea I’m selfish if I ask for help? Now put a check mark only by those that have a sense of rejection connected to them. Those are the only ones you will need to deal with in this exercise.
“Never be afraid to fall apart…because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you always wanted.”
This may seem like a lot of work, but most people will actually come up with a short list where rejection is involved. And it shouldn’t take much time to clarify the needed information. Next week I’ll get into ways you can begin to confront the messages and change your feelings from rejection to freedom. This week research, and next week heal.
I wish you freedom from the pain of rejection.
Marilyn Fowler, Author