The job offer was to come any day now, but it didn’t. An email read, “Thank you for applying, but we decided to hire another candidate.” Or

“You are a great person, but I don’t think we are right for each other. Sorry, we need to end this relationship.” Or

” I really liked your performance but we have chosen someone else.”

However, it comes, rejection stings. It signals you are not the one for whatever was needed. You were not chosen. And, while rejection is a subjective experience, it hurts because we are wired to be in relationship. A basic need is to be accepted and belong, and that is tested when rejection is in the picture.

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 with 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 their hurt.

So knowing rejection is a part of life, how do we effectively deal with it?

1) Don’t allow rejection to define who you are or determine your actions. God never rejects you. He sees your worth even when others do not. So, while rejection hurts, be careful not to allows others to define your worth.

2) Determine why you were rejected. Actors experience rejection all the time because they don’t look the part. Sometimes we are rejected because someone else is better qualified or was a better fit for a job. These are examples of rejection you can’t control. However, rejection that comes because you were self-centered, rude or arrogant is something you can control. Thus, take an honest look at the reason for the rejection and make changes where you can.

3) Forgive the person. When rejection is simply a mean response or due to someone accusing you of not being enough, do not hang on to resentment and hurt  or it will turn to bitterness and become explosive or depressing. Choose to forgive and let go with God’s help. After all, their assessment of you is only their opinion and does not define you.

4) If you become angry, deal with your anger in a biblical way–don’t give vent to it, get back at the person, or hurt them because they hurt you.  It is natural to feel like taking revenge, but  Christ 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) If you need to confront the rejection, do it with love and gentleness. Sometimes people don’t know they have hurt you. Other times, rejection was intentional. It you need to confront the person who rejected you, do it, but in a way that isn’t harsh, and explains the impact the rejection had on you. Understand that confronting rejection doesn’t mean the other person will be sorry or apologize. So, first decide what the goal of the confrontation would be and if it is necessary.

6) Take the pain of the rejection to God. Cry out to Him. He knows what it feels like to be rejected.  Give your pain and burdens to Him. God will never hurt you or reject you. And He wants to heal that part of you that was deeply hurt.

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