Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

loneliness-1879453_1280Rejection is something that we all experience from time to time. Some people experience it frequently and it can cause psychologically and spiritual damage if not handled well.

Rejection is all about exclusion of some kind. That exclusion can be social, relational, from peers, family, friends and romantic relationships. 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.

Rejection, if not handled well, 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 how should we deal 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 so do not give them that power!

2) Ask yourself if the person’s opinion of you is 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) 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)

4) 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 decide and pray about what to do.

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

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.

 

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