Living Beyond the Sting of Rejection
- Dr. David B. Hawkins The Marriage Recovery Center
- 2012 10 Dec
“We are unable to reschedule you at this time,” the email read. I had made a mistake on the time for my radio interview and they chose not to reschedule me because of the frustration I had caused them.
I understood their decision, but it didn’t take away the sting. I respected the radio station and had enjoyed a previous positive relationship with them. Ouch!
My feelings of rejection paled in comparison to the feelings of Ginger, a sixty-year old woman who recently came to The Marriage Recovery Center. Her husband of thirty years, Darrel, had separated from her a year earlier and they were here to see if they could save their marriage. He had let the marriage drift in the ensuing year.
“I’m not overly anxious to get too close now,” Ginger said, her pain etched in her face. She sat as far away from him on the couch as was possible.
“We understand that,” we said to Ginger. She expressed her pain by distancing herself from Darrell, physically and emotionally, occasionally making a snide comment or sarcastic snip. Darrell jousted back at her every time she made a nasty comment.
“You folks are both deeply hurt,” I said. “You’ve both experienced severe rejection. Nursing those wounds, it’s only natural to protect yourself. It takes humility to reach out and risk rejection again.”
We all experience rejection. We often experience rejection. People are hurt by our words or actions. Typically we withdraw and protect ourselves. We express our hurt in indirect and often destructive ways. In the face of rejection we must ask ourselves if we are expressing our hurt in a way that will “cut off our nose to spite our face.” Hurting our mate because we’ve been hurt helps nothing.
Both Darrell and Ginger wanted to save their marriage. Beneath their hurt, both wanted healing. Yet, both had also hurt their mate—and hurt them deeply. How could they overcome their hurt and find a way back to each other. Here are a few thoughts about rejection and ways to live beyond those painful feelings.
First, know that we all experience rejection at times. No one likes to be rejected, but rejection happens. Not everyone is going to like us, and we’re not always going to act in ways to ensure that feelings of rejection doesn’t occur. Rejection happens, harms our feelings and yet we can recover from them.
The Psalmist speaks of rejection. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken” (Psalms 34:17-20).
Second, feelings of rejection often become twisted and spin out of control. If we’re not careful, we can allow feelings of rejection to stagnate, turning into bitterness and resentment. We must work to keep those feelings of rejection in perspective.
Third, look at the situation from alternative points of view. Rarely does someone reject us for the sheer sake of rejection. They reject us because they’ve had their feelings hurt. They’ve experienced something painful from us, perhaps of our doing, possibly not. It’s not always about us!!
Fourth, do your part to repair a relationship. If there is something you have done to aggravate or injure a relationship, do what you can to repair it. As much as it pertains to you, as Scripture says, be at peace with others (Romans 12:18). Seek healing in relationships, even if that means humbling yourself.
Finally, accept it when a relationship cannot be healed. You can only do your part. You cannot make others accept you. In fact, there will be relationships where someone holds a grudge and simply refuses to allow you back into their good graces. Accept it. Of course the more important the relationship, the greater effort you should make to heal it. But, there will be those situations where you must let go and move on.
Share your feedback or send a confidential note to me at [email protected] and read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on my website www.MarriageRecoveryCenter.com and YourRelationshipDoctor.com. You’ll find videos and podcasts on saving a troubled marriage, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage. Please feel free to call for a free, twenty-minute consultation.
Publication date: December 10, 2012