How to Handle Your Feelings When You've Suffered The Pain Of Rejection From Other People
Being rejected is painful. All of us want to belong, to be accepted for who we are, to be cherished as a person. But what do we do when we are rejected by the very people we long to be accepted by? How do we handle the sting of rejection?
Let's talk about that.
Rejected and Unwanted
Many of us can't handle the sting of rejection. We try to perform, do all sorts of good and praiseworthy things, all of this in order for us to feel the appreciation of certain people we long to please and make happy. We try to please our parents, our spouse, our children, our families and friends. And in doing so we exhaust ourselves.
Friends, the pain of rejection comes from more than just the moment of rejection itself. Here's how it works:
- First, you desire to please a person and be accepted by them. Whoever it is, be it your wife or boss at work, you nurture a desire in your heart to please them and be welcomed by them. You create an intention.
- Next, you think of ways to please the person you long to be accepted by. You carefully think of what you can do, how effective it will be. You strategize.
- Then, you set yourself in motion and start to do actions in line with the intention and strategy. You invest efforts to please the person of interest. You give time, energy, even resources.
Then after everything is said and done, all that's left for you to see or hear is a very big, warm word of appreciation, right? You imagine yourself to be lauded for your thoughtfulness, your concern, your good intention. But it doesn't happen.
You find yourself rejected and denied the appreciation you thought you deserved after all that you've done. You intended to do right, planned so well, and executed your plan perfectly. But you didn't receive the affirmation you were longing for. You didn't receive the appreciation and applause you wanted.
You were rejected.
Understanding your part and theirs
Friends, being rejected really hurts. It's so painful that, when it hits you so hard, you may feel like it's hard to do good to others again. You wouldn't want to invest your time, energy and resources to people who might not accept you. You become cynical.
Truth is, dear reader, we can't control how others respond to us. What we can control is ourselves. What we can control is our desires, our longings, our thoughts, our actions. We can't and should not desire to control or manipulate others. We SHOULD desire to be like Christ in our responses.
Healing from rejection's wounds
Think about the Lord Jesus' own experience, dear friends. He came to His own but His own did not receive Him (John 1:11). He did all that is good for men but men rejected Him, even hung Him on the cross – the worst kind of punishment given only to criminals. Was He a criminal? No He wasn't. His only "crime" was to destroy the works of the devil and show us the love of God (1 John 3:8, 4:9; John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19).
Yet we know that the Lord Jesus was the most rejected person during His earthly ministry. He had nothing to attract us to Him (Isaiah 53:2). He wasn't flashy. He wasn't "cool" and "in" according to the world's standards.
But He saved us. He loved us. He forgives those who come and repent of their sins. He gives freedom to the oppressed. He gives life to those who would believe in Him. He accepts us all with open arms and will never drive us away (John 6:37).
Friends, if you're rejected just think about the rejection Jesus went through for you (Hebrews 12:2) and follow His example. He died for your sake. He was raised by God and until now He keeps interceding for you (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). He loves you so much He promises that nothing can ever separate you from His love (Romans 8:31-39).
Are you rejected? Come to Jesus and give the pain to Him. You don't have to work hard to earn His love; He loves you already. Come to Him. Just come. And when you have to face others again, do your best to do like He did and know how much He is smiling at you and pleased with you because you rose above all the easy feelings - the anger, hurt and bitterness - and chose to love and forgive that person unconditionally, and in so doing, prove to Jesus just how much you trust Him to be enough for you in this situation.