Overcoming Rejection …

me15The feeling of rejection is an unfortunate emotion that everyone will likely endure in their lifetime.  Unfortunately, some will even encounter this misery more often than they probably deserve.

Rejection is often introduced at an early age when being the last one picked for an activity. During that same time period, it can also be unintentional when others simply elect to not include you.  Regardless of the mechanism which triggers the situation, the feelings associated with rejection are the same.  Fortunately, this kind of rejection doesn’t typically last a prolonged time period – nor does it typically lead a lasting impression on a young child’s life (all horror movie plot lines excluded).

My focus here, however, is the type of rejection that is experienced after completely devoting your heart and soul to a given situation.  This differs from the childhood example above, because you have invested yourself completely and received signals or assurance that your focus was with merit prior to the rejection occurring.  So, when this form of rejection arrives, it is met with a heartbreak and sadness which doesn’t seem to pass quickly.  Basically, you feel abandoned … which is a valid assessment … and the emotions that accompany the situation seem impossible to overcome.

When dealing with this type of rejection, I have found myself stuck in a cycle which revolves around the following components:

  • Sadness phase – the sheer heartbreak associated with the rejection/abandonment leads to sad emotions dominating the heart, mind and soul.
  • Analysis phase – retracing the events leading up to the rejection in order to try to understand how/when/why things went wrong.
  • Hopeful phase – finding something from the Analysis phase to cling to in order to give hope that maybe the rejection will be short-lived and will be met with reconciliation soon.
  • Re-analysis phase – trying to figure out how and when the situation will be reconciled, which convinces you that things will be back to normal soon.

Unfortunately, this cycle can prove to be self-destructive, because the Analysis phase feeds the Hopeful phase – which, in turn, drives the Re-analysis phase.  Then, when the realization is reached that the Hopeful phase was driven by false hope, the cycle repeats itself and the Sadness phase returns.  What makes it worse is that you feel rejected again each time the cycle repeats itself … which is why I referred to the cycle as being self-destructive.

So, how can this situation be avoided?  I can honestly tell you that someone telling you “Dude, you have to get over it” or “Dude, you just need to move on” neither provides much help.  However, the following points have proven to be helpful to me:

  1. Give yourself time to be sad, upset and even angry.  It is no fun being abandoned and the sadness factor increases with every broken dream, plan and goal that was set and ultimately tossed aside.  Find your place to release these emotions. Don’t be surprised if more than one trip is required, as it can take a while to push through this part of the healing process.
  2. Realize that you are not the only one being rejected.  Sadly, there are probably tens of thousands of people (if not more) suffering this same fate at any given time. The situation might not be exactly the same, but the emotions being felt are very similar.
  3. Believe that you will be happy again.  I know it can be impossible to believe it, but you will be happy again.  That is not to say that the sadness from the rejection will go away forever.  Honestly, there is a better chance that you will still have to face those emotions each and every day … just know it won’t be as hard as before.
  4. Face the fact that you were rejected and there is nothing you can do to change that reality.  In the cycle above, I found myself trying to figure out how/when/why the rejection happened.  Honestly, if you are affected by the rejection in a major way, there is a very good chance the core reason wasn’t because of you at all. Here, you have to realize the rejection is out of your control and there’s nothing you can do, but walk away.
  5. Pray and be thankful for what God has given you.  Remember, everything outside of your heart, soul and relationship with God are merely a source for temporary happiness.  I know that can sound a bit harsh – but what God has given us will always exceed whatever we believe we need in our lifetime.  Even better, by putting your faith in God, He will make sure you are on the right path … you just might not realize it right now.

Others have suggested that throwing yourself into work-related tasks or even a hobby are good things to help fend off the emotions associated with rejection.  However, in my case, neither helped me.  Even when I would be fully entranced with work, the emotions from being rejected still overwhelmed me to where I needed to escape, take a walk and let the tears flow.  When attempting to focus on music-related items, the memories of life before the rejection caused a sadness that was triggered just as the first note played reached my ears.  These might be suggestions to aide your recovery, but did not work well in my situation.

A song that has really helped me through all of this is “Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)” by King & Country.  The lyrics below really put things into perspective for me:

I am the wandering son
Enough is never enough
I keep chasing the wind
Instead of chasing Your love
I’m screaming out Your name,
Don’t let me fall on my face
I’ve got a busted heart
I’m in need of a change
Yeah, I’m desperate for grace

Broke Your heart a thousand times
But You’ve never left my side
You have always been here
For me

You never let me go
You never let me go
Don’t ever let me go

My goal with this entry is to complete a series of thoughts found within the following blog entries:

I truly hope these articles were insightful, helpful or enjoyable to read.  If nothing else, they helped me work through some very challenging emotions that I really wasn’t prepared to face at this phase of my life.  (Not that anyone really is ready for this kind of thing, right?)

I am planning to go a different direction with future blog entries … just not sure which direction I plan to go at this point.  I certainly welcome your comments, if you have any ideas or suggestions.