Dealing with Rejection
Rejection is weird. I sometimes wonder if it exists in this fallen world so we can understand how God feels when we reject Him. Recently, I have been reminiscing over times that I have experienced rejection, trying to see more clearly how it still affects my daily life.
Remembering back to college, I remember some funny advice from one of my professors. Technically he was speaking to the guys in the room, but I think his actual point can be universally accepted by everyone for different reasons.
“Guys, don’t be afraid to ask a girl out because she might say no. If she says no, don’t forget there are hundreds of girls on this campus. Cross her of the list and ask someone else out. If she then says no, cross her off the list and ask another girl out. Eventually someone is going to say yes!”
He was being a little facetious on dating (at least I hope he was), and by no means do I think that is a good plan of action to find a life partner, but his point was philosophically based off of how we react to rejection. He was making the point that we should not live a life controlled by the fear of rejection, but rather we need to accept the direction of rejection.
In my freshman year of college, I began with my dream degree and ideal future planned out for years to come. To make a long story short, I was basically being forced to switch majors after the first semester after a difference in opinions with the school. I still have some unpleasant feelings over what happened, but at the same time I actually am really thankful for that switch. My major that I ended up taking was exactly what I needed! God knew that, and that type of rejection is what I am referring to when I talk about the direction of rejection.
On the other hand, being rejected by people I love has sourced some of my biggest hang-ups of fear over the years. To a certain degree, you just have to get over this type of rejection, but even once you’ve gotten over the initial rejection, there seems to be aftershock problems caused by fear. Aftershocks are small earthquakes in an area where the earth is still settling from the initial big earthquake. Similarly, experiencing rejection still affects some of my decisions years later.
- I have been noticing that I avoid and am fearful of conversations that define relationships now, even when it would be a healthy conversation.
- I struggle reaching out or pursuing relationships unless I have something very specific to talk about; initiating conversation because “I want to talk” has not been an easy thing for me to do in years.
- I now struggle talking in any type of groupie environment, and basically I have limited almost all of my more serious conversations to one-on-one interactions, because I do not trust people wrapped up in a group identity.
- Fear also encourages me to make irrational and usually negative assumptions about other people’s intentions or thoughts, though this is something that I fight the most. Making permanent assumptions about other people is not healthy for that person or for you.
- My keen ability to run away and give up on relationships before they even begin is one of the most harmful aftershocks I’ve experienced.
Those are aftershocks caused by the fear of rejection.
Rejection in relationships is still a form of direction that God uses to mature and guide us to the right relationships that He wants.
It is weird to say, but I actually am very thankful for experiencing rejection over the years. With time and experience I began to figure out how to grow from such experiences rather than shrivel up from fear. Ultimately, like bumpers in bowling, rejections have guided me to be the person I am today and how to love the people that are in my life today.
The most valuable quality I can bring into my relationships with others is life experience. Experience helps me love people more effectively/selflessly and helps me see more clearly how to encourage others. I just now need to focus on making sure I do not let the negative aftershocks of fear and distrust to control my life, but instead I need to trust that God knows what He is doing when He uses something like rejection to guide me, even if it hurts.