Rejection hurts! Unfortunately, dealing with hurt and misunderstanding is part of living in this world, even when we do our best to show up as kind and loving. How can we handle rejection and hurtful words? What power do we have in responding to rejection? What are some practical action steps we can take to begin managing rejection? Let’s dive into all these topics in Part 1 on our two-part series on rejection.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [02:00] Rejection Truth #1: We can’t avoid rejection
- [04:35] Rejection Truth #2: We answer to an audience of one
- [06:52] Rejection Truth #3: The need to reassess our hearts after hurtful words
- [09:09] Rejection Truth #4: Dealing with internal struggles of fear and imposter syndrome
- [12:31] Action Steps: Deciding how to handle rejection
- [17:51] Character traits to use if you struggle with managing rejection
- [22:16] A mantra to help you when hurtful words arise
[02:00] Rejection Truth #1: We can’t avoid rejection
A foundational truth when learning how to handle rejection is that there is no way to avoid rejection. Negative comments are going to happen, especially as we continue to advance forward into the kingdom of God. This is just part of living in a fallen world.
At the end of the day, we can really stop being upset and offended when we face rejection, because we know that it’s a part of growing in Christ. Even if we look at the life of Jesus, who lived a perfect life, we can see that He was rejected. This realization is what brought me a lot of freedom from people pleasing and dealing with rejection. Jesus lived a perfect life, and yet He was still crucified. Rejection is a part of existing in this world.
[04:35] Rejection Truth #2: We answer to an audience of one
Truth #2 is another concept that freed me from being a people pleaser: We answer to an audience of one. At the end of our lives, we will be held accountable for all the decisions we make and the talents and opportunities we've been given. We are not responsible for other people's decisions. We can remember the truth (insert your name here): “I follow Christ, He is my Savior, my guide, and the one that I will answer to in Heaven. He is the one who will say to me, Alicia, I gave you these talents. What did you do with them?”
Bible verse for reflection:
[06:52] Rejection Truth #3: The need to reassess our hearts after hurtful words
In moments where we may find ourselves reeling from someone’s hurtful words, it’s helpful to reflect on why that person’s opinion is so important. Why are we allowing their opinion to reign in this situation?
A great verse for this reflection is Galatians 1:10, which leads us to a poignant truth: Who’s approval are we searching for? We have to be willing to open ourselves up and say, “Lord, show me any thoughts that need your purifying lens, that need your touch. Show me where I may have given over this authority in my life and said that, in order for me to feel good about myself in this area, I have to have that person's approval.” Reassessing our hearts after feeling rejected can help us realign ourselves with God’s truth.
[09:09] Rejection Truth #4: Dealing with internal struggles of fear and imposter syndrome
Sometimes the moments of rejection that we replay in our minds can be a reflection of things that we have been secretly fearful of, the things that we hope no one else has seen. These things that whisper to us that we don't want to admit we're worried about, like thoughts stemming from imposter-syndrome and others that are tied to deep fears.
When this happens, our sense of safety can become triggered, and it can cause other fears to begin to surface. In these moments, it’s important to ask what deeper fears have been triggered and ask God what we can do to process and move on from those feelings. How can we turn this rejection into an opportunity of transformation for God?
[12:31] Action Steps: Deciding how to handle rejection
When things are hidden in darkness, we can't deal with them, so it’s important that we not only process our internal struggles but that we take action steps to move out of those feelings. A neuroscientist once described these thoughts to me as ‘sticky,’ mentioning that thoughts are stickier when there are deep emotions attached to them, and feelings of rejection certainly are deep, heavy emotions.
Here are two action steps you can take to avoid having these sticky feelings and thoughts imprint any deeper into your brain:
- Decide what power it will have moving forward.
My encouragement to you is to not give the rejection power beyond the moment. We shift the issue from the rejection itself to the action we take afterwards. What are we going to do with those feelings now? Are we deciding to feed into them by replaying the situation over and over? What else could we do with them? How can we press forward and move out of replay mode? It’s important to note that the longer we allow these feelings to fester, the stronger they become.
2. Check in with God.
It’s always a good practice to check in with God and ask what our part could have been in the situation. When I check in with God, I ask, “What's my part in this? Did I bring this on myself in some way? Do I need to confess or apologize?” I also speak truth over the situation, especially any areas of insecurity and fear that have been brought to light by a hurtful comment. While the enemy loves to amplify the fear we feel, we have the power of His Spirit to use what the enemy designed for evil to bring good. We can praise God for these situations, thanking Him for allowing us to see what needed to be brought to our attention in these moments.
[17:51] Character traits to use if you struggle with managing rejection
On top of action steps, there are a few character traits that are helpful when we are managing rejection. First, self-discipline will help you notice your thoughts and emotions and where they are heading. When you practice self-discipline, you’ll be able to stop in these moments and ask yourself, “What is going on and how am I finding myself back in this place of rejection?”
Another great ongoing character trait to develop is self-control, taking back control of our thoughts. Similar to the discipline trait, we are choosing to stop the thought process in the moment, keeping our thought train from running off the tracks.
The third character trait I find helpful when working out how to handle rejection is the practice of abiding. When we are abiding, we are receiving, listening, and surrendering to God. We have to remember that our walk with Christ is not going to be a one and done process, where we go to one church service a week and then have a perfect, wonderful week. We have to be in constant abiding, connection to the body of Christ. When we do this, we are able to stay centered, continue to receive, and release the situation to God. We can trust him to heal the wounds, and we can obey Him with our action steps.
[22:16] A mantra to help you when hurtful words arise
Before wrapping up this episode, I wanted to help you create some sort of mantra, something that you can go to for help or as a reminder when feelings of rejection and hurtful words come up. To do this, we’re going to use the A.D.D. method that I use with my clients, which stands for acknowledge, discern, and decide.
The first step of A.D.D. is to acknowledge. You want to acknowledge why it makes sense that you're feeling rejected. What kind of fears were triggered or what kind of insecurities were brought up because of this rejection? Why does it make sense that you feel this way?
The second step is to discern. Ask yourself, What's the truth in this situation? Who do I answer to? What is God's truth about what He says about me?
Third, we want to decide. In light of this knowledge, what do I need to do? Do I need to let it go, or do I need to come work with the Lord and dive into it more to start healing? Do I need to recognize that the reality is that it’s connected to a deeper fear and that I don't need to let that be something that takes over? Decide what you need to do in the next step of this process.
I invite you to use the A.D.D. method described in the steps above as a way to come up with an affirmation, mantra, or something that you can use to shift your thoughts as you're working through a rejection issue that you may be struggling with.
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