I hate being rejected. Rejections seems to be the most painful of all experiences I have ever felt. For some, it is visceral and creates a painful reaction that goes to the core. Others seem to be more able to shake off the rejection with ease. I am not one of those people. I tend to lean more to the visceral, curl up in a ball and cry about it type of person. And that’s okay, because ultimately rejection, once felt and processed, can move us forward to something ultimately more wonderful.
Forms of Rejection
Rejection comes in many forms. For instance, have you ever been fired? Did someone break up with your first? Did you ever suffer rejection or alienation from your nuclear family? Were you unable to make it into your first choice of University or College? Have your friends ever ‘cancelled’ you over something you did or said? Were you ever socially banished from the herd or your immediate friends?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to any or all of the above – you may have experienced the feared “Rejection.” In that case – welcome to the spiritual world! Rejection from your known, familiar world, is often one of the keys into the pain that brings you into the Spiritual realm. However, that thought usually doesn’t bring much comfort at the time…
My Experience with Rejection
My experience with rejection was to initially view it as something awful and to be avoided at all costs. That initial view cost me years of time. It was wasted on me trying to fit in with a crowd. That crowd I sought would not allow me to rise above, but rather to stay within the status quo and to never grow. To grow would be seen as such a threat, that any forward momentum would be viewed as a cause for rejection in some way.
I was attempting to break into the ‘popular’ crowd in middle school. The entrance fee for crowd acceptance was the usual, ‘be cruel to someone who wasn’t in the crowd’ to prove your allegiance and domination. I couldn’t do it. So, the crowd moved on and didn’t allow me to go with them. And even though that was fine with me, I felt the sting of rejection. It was pain, but it was also a gift in disguise.
Until I could accept rejection as a spiritual gift, I could not have the faith to move me to a higher level.
The Gift Of Rejection:
What ended up happening was I found a new set of friends. Ones who were truer and didn’t ask me to be unkind to others in order to fit in with them. I can list 100 other examples of rejection and how it then became a gift. But I’ll limit it to the top 3:
- When I got fired from my first waitress job, It freed me to find a better one a few weeks later
- My boyfriend broke up with me, which freed me to find myself, find a relationship with a God of my understanding (or not so much understanding) and eventually find a true and fitting partner.
- When I didn’t get into the college I wanted to get into, I ended up at a different college, which was a better fit for me. (Until it wasn’t – but that will be a whole other blog post!)
What all of this rejection taught me is that sometimes, “Rejection is God’s protection.” When I lose something or someone because they “reject” me, it gives me freedom to find something or someone who accepts me.
We have to believe God wants only what’s in our best interest for the highest good.
Beware of Creating Rejection
Sometimes we are so afraid of being rejected, that we unknowingly invite the experience. Our soul allows us to experience what we fear, so when we haven’t worked through our rejection issues, we can sometimes cause the conditions which unbeknownst to us, brings it toward us. An easy solution to this is to inventory and list, all the times in our lives we’ve felt rejected. Is there a pattern? If yes, who is the common denominator. When I become aware of my own limiting beliefs around rejection, I can begin to act differently and learn how to accept that rejection happens and it’s not so personal, even when it feels that way.
The other problem I suffer from is that I perceive rejection, even when it’s not happening! I have had congregants whose weddings I thought I would have been asked to do, not ask me at all! (I know, right?) I took it personally when frankly, it had nothing to do with me at all. My other Rabbi friend said she suffers from this as well, so I know it’s not just me. But why do I even go there? I think it’s a human desire to feel accepted and wanted. So when we either perceive rejection or are outright rejected, it really hurts. Sometimes however, we create more pain for ourselves around rejection.
My spiritual advisor helped me see that the rejection itself was not my problem. Sure there was the pain of the rejection but the pain was exacerbated by my perspective that it was so personal. That it was about me or my lack of worthiness. But frankly, most rejection is not personal. Rejection is universal. And sure, we have to feel the pain, feel the grief, but we don’t have to wallow in it and let it define us. The pain can be the gift that carries us to the next adventure.
We have to take the steps to move through Rejection:
- First we must grieve the loss or sting of rejection
- Then, we have to begin to process it fully. It is normal to question our worthiness after a rejection. But it is important to realize that rejection is God’s way of moving us to something better. We can’t be afraid that we were supposed to have something that never was meant to be. That is limiting and doesn’t allow us to move past it.
- When time has passed, I can have clarity and perspective on the nature of the rejection. I can begin to see the gifts which came only when there was space for the gift. I saw that I might have settled for something instead of having what was going to be best for me in God’s time and in God’s wisdom. The rejection was God’s way of shutting one door to move me on to an open one.
I hope that this spiritual perspective on rejection is helpful. It is not easy to be rejected nor feel the feelings that stem from rejection. But if we do the work to honor the feelings, explore them and ask for the ability in time to move past it, the freedom comes and the gift of perspective happens. And when we get to that place, we can see that God had something wonderful for us all along. The pain of rejection was the admission price we had to pay for our new opportunity which would never have come to be had we not had the painful experience.
If you’d like to share about your experience of rejection and how you moved through it, please feel free to add a comment or send me an email. Next week, I will be answering your questions which have been sent to me as of late. So if you have a question and are looking for a spiritual solution, please feel free to contact me as well. Until we meet again, may you be blessed on your spiritual journey!