Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


How to Handle Rejection

posted by Linda Mintle

When a gunman opened fire and killed seven people and wounded three at a Christian college a week ago, the question was, “Why?” Why would anyone walk into a classroom and shoot people at point blank range? While we may never know exactly what triggered such an horrific event, we can guess that feelings of rejection and deep anger were rooted somewhere in the shooters psyche. And certainly his inability to deal with whatever upset him, tragically ended the lives of innocent people. Our prayers are with the families who suffered the loss of their loved ones.

Rejection, while never an excuse to hurt anyone, is a painful thing. It is about exclusion–social, relationship, peers, family, friends and romance. A group or an individual can be rejected. And while rejection is a subjective experience, it hurts because we are wired to be in relationship. Our basic need to be accepted and belong is tested when rejection is part of any relationship.

We all know how it feels to be rejected, but are there psychological consequences?

Rejection can bring on loneliness, low-self-esteem, aggression and depression. Feelings of insecurity are heightened and once rejected, a person can become more sensitive to future rejection. Anxiety can develop as well as anger and deep sadness. When social rejection is part of the picture, a person can learn to conform to peer pressure and comply to the demands of others even when that compliance could be dangerous or unhealthy. And in the worse cases, people who are rejected can lash out in violence, wanting revenge for the hurt.

So what is important in dealing with rejection?

1) Don’t allow rejection to define who you are or determine your actions. God never rejects you and sees your worth even when others do not. Other people do not determine your worth!

2) Ask yourself if the person’s opinion of you is really all that accurate. Rejection is about you not measuring up to someone’s subjective experience. Who says he or she is right? His or her opinion is only one opinion of many.

3) Forgive the person. Do not carry resentment and hurt inside or it will turn to bitterness and become explosive or depressing. Choose to forgive and let go with God’s help.

4) If you become angry, deal with your anger in a biblical way–don’t give vent to it, don’t get back at the person, don’t hurt those who hurt you. It is natural to feel like taking revenge, but the God part in you says don’t do it. Revenge doesn’t take away the hurt and only hurts others. Take the high road of emulating Christ. You will be a better person for it. (See my booklet, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness for guidelines on dealing with anger)

5) Confront the rejection but do it with love and gentleness. Sometimes people don’t know they have hurt you. Other times, rejection was intentional. It you would feel better confronting the person who rejected you, do it but practice your confrontation in a way that isn’t harsh, and tells the person the impact the rejection had on you. Understand that confronting rejection doesn’t mean the other person will be sorry or apologize. So you really have to decide and pray about what to do.

6) Take the pain of the rejection to God. Cry out to Him. He knows what it feels like to be rejected and encourages you to give your pain and burdens to Him. God is safe and will not hurt you or reject you. And He wants to heal that part of you that was deeply hurt.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Susan Hamill

    I have difficulty when someone either friends and professionals you think they care share all kinds of personal info and then things change and they do not seem to respond to emails or there is a change of how you are being treated in the past. Now you feel like your being dropped like a hot potatoe. Its hard not to take it personally. For some reason I have had this problem my whole adult life Then i am so hurt I want to tell them instead of bottling it up only to find I feel angry about it too. I carry around these hurts and take it personal too I feel bad about myself for them treating me differently more distant and do not respond to emails. I try not to depend on others for comfort snd frienships even though some for professional reasons cannot be friends and this for me is painful too. I know Hod is trying to help me but it id psinful.

  • Linda Mintle

    Galyle, By telling yourself that there is something seriously wrong with a man who is a serial adulterer. It is not a rejection of you but an indication of his pathology. He needs professional help.

  • Linda Mintle

    In terms of the teenager, the process is the same. The teen has to coached by others that what the father is doing is very hurtful and so he or she must guard his or her heart. It would be easy to think she wasn’t good enough, unlovable, etc. and so others must speak to this. And the teen should be led to Scripture that shows the teen identity and worth. The teen must also grieve the loss and find others who can speak into her life like a father. It is very hard to be rejected by a parent but God is the “good” parent who can correct that hurt.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Gayle

    My husband has been unfaithful at least 50 times with 6 different women…all of them were ‘friends’ with me and in the church choir and worship team. How does one deal with that kind of rejection?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Anne

    hi, this is very good advice. but i need to know how a teenager would handle reject from her father. i do not know whether the above is much relevant to that case.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment ewo

    Please God help me to forgive and forget to those people hurt me so much especially my hubby and his family….please help me so i can move on already…in the name of jesus amen….

  • Pingback: How to Handle Rejection | Dr. Linda Mintle

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