Rejection Is A Gift
I first experienced personal, self-worth shattering, rejection as a ten-year-old child when my father re-married and I inherited a stepmother. I had always been daddy's girl, glued to the hip of my father and the apple of his eye, so I was blind-sighted when I was told that I had to ask my stepmom for permission to do the very same activities and plans that he and I used to do together, without her. His attention seemed to shift from me and my sister to her and her family and my little feelings crumbled. I felt hopeless, worthless, and confused as if I was “not good enough” for his love. I was no longer his girl and he was no long my daddy – in those years, he became a distant father figure and we grew further apart.
"Heartbroken" by the most important man in my life, I carried a fear of rejection with me through a number of relationships, making it very hard to trust, commit, or accept when the relationship needed to end. I put a heavy emphasis on needing to feel valued and admired by others which developed into people pleasing patterns – treading so carefully not to feel rejected by anyone. I would even go as far as to breakup with a boyfriend or hurt someone purposefully, so I wouldn’t be “the first to get hurt”.
In 2010, I began a journey of healing which allowed me to release most of these hurtful habits, but it wasn’t until last year that I really paid attention to my relationship with rejection because…I felt rejected…multiple times…as if God purposefully wanted me to relive my past pain.
My first reaction to being rejected, was to fall in a dark hole of the insecure feelings and to beat myself up like something was wrong with me. But then, I shifted the attention from myself to the situation I was in and I discovered a few things:
What’s for you is for you – if this person is supposed to be in your life, they will be in your life – regardless of what it looks like now. If this person is NOT supposed to be in your life, be thankful that it's done so you can make room for what’s yours. BYE. Let go of the attachment to outcomes and trust that everything is really happening as it should.
Rejection is revelation – begin to understand what you’re supposed to learn from this situation. What worked and what didn’t and be honest with yourself. Vocalize it. The more you understand the situation the more you can reframe the rejection as a gift to help you develop. Practice gratitude once you’ve realized what you learned.
Feel the feelings until you’re ready to release – take the amount of time to really process your emotions around the situation. Label what you feel and the reasons you feel it. When you don’t take the time to express your feelings, you suppress them – leaving room for those emotions to come out in new forms – like aggression, depression, and irritability. Take responsibility for your own feelings so you can release them appropriately.
Be patient with yourself – healing takes time and that timing is unique to you and your situation, so give yourself room to go through these motions. When you come out on the other side, you can really recognize your growth and move forward with new perspectives.
I can truly say that feeling rejected created a unique sense of awareness that sparked a level of empowerment which I wasn’t expecting. It has become a gift – that even allowed me to heal the pain I felt from my father as a child. It will never be easy, but comfort is the enemy of progress.