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If you’re human and living on planet earth, which I’m assuming you are, you will have experience with rejection at some point in your life. Rejection stings. It can burn you and cause you to think that something is terribly wrong with who you are as a person, rather than merely being a part of everyday life. If you’ve never experienced rejection, you are either A) kidding yourself, B) you’ve led quite a charmed life and I am deeply jealous, or perhaps it’s C) you’ve been too afraid of rejection to really put yourself out there to interact with other people in the first place. Even if you haven’t experienced someone specifically saying the words “I want to break up,” (or something to that effect) you may have felt that someone was rejecting you in other ways. I know I’ve felt rejected many times, not because of harsh words, but because they simply chose to ignore me. Whether you’ve been rejected verbally, physically, or mentally, it never feels good and can cause you to question many things about your life. So here are 5 ways to handle rejection without letting it get the best of you.
- Remember where your true value lies
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If you see your value tied to the love or attention of another person, you will always be disappointed and you will always feel rejected. People are imperfect and even those with the best hearts and the best of intentions can come up lacking. If you’re reeling from the sting of rejection, then basing your value on someone else’s opinion of you is only going to compound the problem. In order to save your self esteem and guard your heart, look for your value in the one who never changes.
Psalm 94:14 “For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations”
God is the one constant in an ever changing, chaotic, and often demeaning world. God is with you through it all, so it makes sense to take your true value from His eternal and constant opinion of you. Despite all of your flaws, God loves you and you have value beyond measure in His heart. His opinion of you never changes, so your sense of self worth shouldn’t either. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He paid the ultimate price for you because you are worth more to Him than any worldly prize.
2. Make a list of your positive qualities
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I’m a visual person and I’m also a list maker. Over the years I’ve discovered that when I’m dealing with something difficult (like taking a job offer, making a large purchase, or dealing with something that may be getting to me psychologically or spiritually) writing things out helps me to process through it. You may not be a visual learner, but it may be helpful for you to see your positive qualities written out in front of you in your own handwriting and may make them seem more real/true. Write out the things that make you unique. Things that make you great. Things that make you special. So, what do you love about yourself? Your kind heart. Your great hair. The many amazing and supportive friends you surround yourself with. And of course, don’t forget the most important quality that you have… that you are a beloved child of God.
1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
3. Surround yourself with Godly people who will speak truth into your life
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When times get tough and it’s difficult for you to see where God is in the midst of your rejection, seek out wise counsel from friends and family members who are immersed in God’s word. When you’re feeling depressed and lonely your first instinct may not be to turn to God’s word, but that is the most important step in dealing with being rejected by the world. You need to focus your energy on your eternal worth and you may need your friends to remind you of such. If you surround yourself with people who are not in the word and cannot speak God’s wisdom into your heart, you may end up either spiralling further into the rejection well or harboring anger and animosity toward the person/people who’ve rejected you. So seek out wise counsel who can help you process through your thoughts and feelings while helping to speak hope into your heart and reinforcing your eternal worth.
4. Don’t dwell on “what you did wrong”
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I’ve had many friends who’ve gone through a bad break up and they have spent countless hours/ days/ weeks nit picking every detail of the failed relationship. While it’s ok to take a step back and evaluate what personal attributes you can improve upon, making this your sole focus will likely just drive you crazy and cause you to form a very negative view of yourself. I know that I’ve spent countless hours dwelling over what I did wrong to make someone reject me and let’s just say it never ends well.
“Maybe they don’t like me because I’m too fat.” “Maybe I’m too pushy.” “Maybe I’m too tall (not that there’s any I can do to change that).” “Maybe nobody will ever like me because I’m too fat and ugly for anyone to really love.” See how quickly that can escalate?
When someone rejects you, it may have nothing to do with you at all. The other person is simply in a different place or there may, in fact, be something “wrong” with their heart. The flaw may not lie with you, it may not even lie with them, it may simply be that the other person is not the person that God had destined for you. So go ahead and look at ways to improve yourself if you must, but just make sure that you’re changing things for yourself and NOT to “fix” yourself for someone else.
5. Learn to forgive
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This one may be the most difficult of all. Learning to forgive the other person for rejecting you may sound counter intuitive, but this technique will ultimately be the one that gives you your power back. Rejection can take the wind out of your sails and drain the joy from your heart. It makes you feel susceptible to the other person’s will (they are the one who didn’t want to be with you after all) and thus puts you under their control. When I say learn to forgive the other person, I don’t mean that you need to literally talk to the person, but you forgive them within your heart. By learning to forgive them you are taking some of the control back and allowing yourself to control how you feel about the situation. It will also help to mend your heart by allowing you to offer grace to someone who may not deserve it. Sound familiar?
Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Our heavenly Father has offered us grace more times than we can count and I can guarantee you that we definitely don’t deserve His eternal patience and mercy. So if you are a follower of Christ it would make sense that to bestow onto others the same grace that God has offered you.
I am by no means suggesting that this is an easy task. It takes deep discipline, heavy prayer, serious humility, and probably some tears (I’m a cryer, what can I say?), but in the end it will soften your heart and help you move from rejection to recovery.
Remember, my dear friend that while rejection is never an easy thing for anyone (single or otherwise) to go through, there are ways to cope with the burn to your ego and the stab to your heart. Allow God to draw you closer through this ordeal and make sure that you give Him the ultimate control as He emphasizes your true value through your positive attributes. Allow your fellow believers to speak His truth to your heart and mind which will help you to truly forgive the other person and move on to bigger and better things. Remember that while we have free will to treat each other well or poorly, God is ultimately the one in control and He will always use everything (good or bad) to His glory! Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” So allow God to usher you into a new beginning where His plans for hope and a future are waiting.