How to Overcome Rejection Issues (Part Two)

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Proverbs 23:7. ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he’. This is what the bible says, what it means is that the way you think about yourself is what you will eventually become. So if you think you’re unloveable then you’ll become unloveable. When you think no one wants you, you will unconsciously initiate behaviour that will cause people to leave you, or not want to be with you.

So what’s the remedy?
Most problems with rejection rise from a misplaced identity.
What is identity? The dictionary describes it as ‘condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing’
A child normally gets its identity from its primary care giver/parents ( most especially the father). However if the father is absent, emotionally distant or struggling with his own issues of identity then he struggles to pass on identity to the child. The child then grows up and searches for its identity elsewhere. He finds it in his performance, in his drive, in his passions. He searches for where to have a sense of belonging, because that is what identity is, it’s a sense of belonging. So they look for it in places where they shouldn’t be.

I remember a counselling session of a man who was addicted to pornography. His wife found him looking at it on his computer and he went for counselling and it was discovered that even though he had a father growing up as a child, his father was emotionally absent, and he couldn’t communicate with his father and didn’t have a close loving relationship with him. So he sought for love and intimacy in pornography and became addicted.
Like I said before we receive our identity from our fathers but if they are absent we have a Father we can look to.

God is our Father. Rejected people have a special place in Gods heart. Because Jesus was in the same position he was rejected by his people even by his own disciples. This is what He says about people who have been rejected, ‘When my mother and my father forsake me, then the Lord will take me up’ Psalm 27:10.
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When you give your life to Jesus and accept Him as your personal Lord and Saviour, God becomes your Father, He accepts you into His family. Looking for identity ,validation, approval from people is futile because people will disappoint and not always be available, it’s part of human behaviour. But God says in His Word He will remain with you forever, ‘ I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).

If you’re basing your identity and sense of belonging on your performance, you’ll be frustrated because success is not always constant and cannot always be guaranteed. But God’s love for you is always constant and you are loved always. God’s love is not based on your performance but on who you are – His child. You don’t need to search and look for acceptance, for belonging, because you’ve been accepted and belong in God’s family. His word says, ‘…He made us accepted in the Beloved’. The opposite of rejection is acceptance. It stands to good reason that the remedy for rejection is acceptance. Well, God has accepted you! People may have caused you to feel rejected, but God wants to assure you that you are accepted by Him.
He has also promised to be a Father to you ( 2 Corinthians 6:18). Where earthly parents have neglected or failed in their responsibility, He can be trusted to be a true father.

Forgiving and Letting go
Next step is forgiving and letting go of those who have hurt you. Forgiving of past abuse is not easy because we can’t forget what has happened, but holding on to past hurts, damages you in the long run, because it turns to bitterness and depression.

Changing your mindset.
The next thing you need to do is change your thinking to what God thinks of you. There’s a lot of things that God has said about his children in the bible. As I mentioned earlier, it starts with a seed that’s been sown; a thought or lie that’s been implanted in our mind that’s given fruit to present damaging behaviour. So replace those thoughts wth godly positive thoughts about yourself. It’s called renewing your mind. Change your old mindset to a new mindset. It is possible.
The Bible says,’You are fearfully and wonderfully made’. God says that you are wonderful!
You have been made in the image and likeness of God. And God said it was very good (i.e. what He created) Genesis 1:26, 31.
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you’ (Jeremiah 31:3).

Replacing negative thoughts with positive words.
From ‘ I am unwanted, unloveable’ to ‘ I am loved by God and the apple of His eyes’
From ‘Everybody will leave me’, to ‘He will never leave me or forsake me’
From ‘I will never achieve anything’ to ‘ I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me’.
From ‘I am a failure’ to ‘I am more than a conqueror’.
From ‘Everyone hates me’ to ‘God is for me who can be against me’.
From ‘I am a loser’, to ‘I am a winner, I am on the winning team; God’s team’.
Filling your heart with positive words, inspirational words and confessing them to yourself daily will help to overcome rejection issues.

Surrounding yourself with good people who know you and know what you’re going through and are willing to help you overcome helps immensely. Especially people who will help you to move forward and stop you from reverting back to old patterns of negative behaviour. Could be a counsellor, mentor, support groups, or your spiritual leader or pastor.

How to Overcome Rejection Issues (Part One)

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Buying into the lie

When you look at the world today, especially the celebrity world; everybody wants to be the next Rihanna, Beyoncé , Kim Kardashian, Jay Z, Drake or the next biggest thing. The media bombards us with images of beautiful people, in exotic beautiful places. These subliminal messages convince people into believing that in order to be successful in life, we have to look like this, or have this, or be doing that.

But when we view those images and compare ourselves, it seems like we fall short of the ideal. Many people already feel insecure about themselves on the inside and now they are made to feel even worse about their physical appearance. Some people even go to the extent of having major reconstructive plastic surgery to look like their idols, believing the lie.

If you don’t know who you really are and your purpose you want to become other people. I believe there is an identity crisis in the world today.

Some people may say, well, there’s nothing wrong with being like someone else, to aspire to do great things. It’s true there’s nothing wrong with admiring someone who seems to have made it, and you have aspirations to be just as successful if not more. There doesn’t seem to anything wrong with that. But there’s everything wrong with wanting to be like someone else because you don’t like who you are.

Why does Rejection hurt?

So where do rejections come from? Or rather why do we respond to rejection in such a negative manner ? Why can’t we just get on with life, why does it affect us so much? Because rejection affects the way we think about ourselves. The way we think about ourselves will influence our behaviour, which in turn, affects everything we do in life.

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In order to solve any problem/issue, one needs to go to the root. With my experience in counselling people with behavioural issues, the common practice is to investigate their past, the first occurrence or the beginning and start of the problem. What occurred in their past that caused the current behavioural patterns? Like for example you ask how their childhood was and if there was anything that happened in their childhood, or was there anything that happened in their life that made them feel less than, inferior, or the first occurrence of a some form of rejection in their lives. Most issues with rejection do stem from childhood but not always. Some stem from teenage years, maybe from bullying or pressure to conform etc and also adulthood.

So probably, from the first occurrences of rejection/abandonment/abuse, there would have been this thought implanted in their mind that they were not good enough. And that thought would have continued going through their mind and if something happened that was similar to the earlier sense of rejection, that thought or lie would arise again, almost to justify those initial thoughts,’I told you you are useless’. So a person who has been sexually abused or abandoned/rejected as a child will have this thought implanted in their mind that no one will ever want them, no one will ever desire them, or love them. So they withdraw from people thinking they’re unloveable.

Or some who have the same thoughts will cling to every person, every relationship, whether it’s toxic or not and their thoughts will be ‘I will do whatever I can, be whatever you want so that you will love me. Even though I’m unloveable , I will make you love me’, the same thoughts/ lies manifests itself differently in different people and different situations.

So the person has continued to believe that thought as the truth. It’s like a seed that has been planted in their mind and their thinking has caused the seed to grow and grow into a large oak tree till it permeates their whole existence and destroys their life. How do you destroy a tree? You chop it down from its roots, you up root the tree. That thought, or lie begins to affect the way they think about themselves, it begins to affect the way they interact with people, it begins to affect the way they live their life. Get rid of the roots so it doesn’t grow again.

So the root started from the seed that’s had been planted, those thoughts that have been able to grow. Uproot the thoughts that says your useless, unwanted, undesirable, uproot feelings of worthlessness, uselessness, feelings of not belonging, of not fitting in, feeling like an outsider, feelings of insecurity, feeling unloveable, uncared for, not wanted, unappreciated, despised, feelings of shame.

Signs and Symptoms of People Dealing with Rejection Issues (Part Two)

(Contd from Signs and Symptoms of People dealing with Rejection Issues (Part One) )

3. People dealing with rejection issues can be extremely defensive, they don’t like to be corrected, they always have a comeback, always have to have the last word. They are extremely competitive and can be jealous of other people’s achievements, and are never satisfied with where they are in life. Because they want to be bigger and better than everybody else, as then they will receive acceptance, approval and validation. They believe their identity is wrapped up in their performance which explains their extremely driven nature. They are high achievers. Like I said before, they go out of their way to please people and when it’s not reciprocated they withdraw feeling used and abused. Then they meet new friends or reconcile with old ones and the cycle of ‘cleaving and leaving’ continues.

4. Some people with rejection issues do not trust anyone. They keep everyone at arms length, they create a wall of resistance and they don’t let anyone through, or let anyone into their heart for fear of being hurt. They do not have really intimate relationships because of fear of rejection. They relate to people on a superficial level, they withdraw from anything too deep. If it starts to get intense, they will do a runner, that is they leave the relationship. It’s like I’ll leave you before you leave me. They’re always pushing people away, they don’t want to be hurt, they don’t want to be rejected. It’s too painful for them and it reminds them of the past hurts.

5.This person is always angry, angry with people, angry with life. There is a deep rooted resentment and bitterness that comes up when there is some form of conflict with someone. They go from 0 to 100 at the slightest perceived provocation. Or they will engineer conflict so that they can verbally or physically attack someone. It’s almost like they want to hurt someone as much as they are hurting. They also rebel against authority and do not like to conform to societies rules. They are extremely opinionated, and they don’t have patience with others who express views contrary to their own. They misread or misrepresent intentions, that is, someone may say something and they will feel you’re attacking or saying something demeaning about them. I remember a friend of mine who was complaining about a person in her church, who was always offended with whatever topic she was preaching, because she thought the pastor was referring or talking about her. My friend had spent time with this person to help her work through her problems, but it seems like she was still struggling with some issues.

6. These people are quiet and sensitive, they hold things in and don’t speak out. They never speak their mind because they don’t want to be judged or rejected by anybody. If someone does something to them, they will hold it in and not say anything, they will hold the resentment in until someone does something trivial to them and then they let it all out- like an avalanche. Very judgemental and they judge themselves a lot. For example, if they say hello to someone and the person didn’t reply, they begin to think, and think, and think about what they did to that person, they won’t let it go ( I used to be like this!) in their mind, they will think about the last time they talked to that person, ‘maybe I was rude, or wasn’t listening that’s why she didn’t greet me?’ Maybe the person didn’t even hear the greeting at all or was distracted by someone else that’s why she didn’t respond.

All these symptoms have to do with a faulty belief system. What you believe about yourself, you will eventually become. Proverbs 23:7. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. This is what the bible says, what it means is that the way you think about yourself is what you will eventually become. These people have believed a lie and it is affecting their life, their relationships, their career. So how can a person overcome the obstacles and hindrances that rejection brings? I would like to address that in my next blog. Stay tuned!