Dealing with Rejection: How a man can work through it in in a healthy way

I have almost always felt like an outcast, whether that is self inflicted or a true reality it is something that I have felt since I was a kid.

In fact, I remember a very specific instance of this when I was in sixth grade.

A kid in my class was having a birthday party and invited everyone in the class except me. All the kids began calling me the black omen and this lasted for several months. I was blacklisted, and no one would hang out with me, or wanted to sit next to me or play on the playground.

I wasn’t really sure why, and I had no idea why i was being called the “black omen”. My best friend even started calling me that and wouldn’t hang out with me either.

I though something was wrong with me, and was trying to figure out what it was. At around the same time this was going on, I got tripped during gym class and my head hit a bar in the gym and made my face swell up and have black eyes for a couple weeks.

Having this happen was one of the best things that could have happened to me, because I learned some very valuable lessons.

Unfortunately, it has also caused some very negative traits for me like:

  • Never allowing myself to get too close to people

  • Not trusting

  • Ending relationships at first sign of betrayal, disappointment, or rejection

If you find yourself feeling rejected I know exactly where you are and have been through this many times. This article is aimed at showing men how to step through this in a healthy way and to grow and learn from it.

I’m not perfect as I have clearly pointed out, but I do understand this.

  • It stinks to be turned down for promotions

  • It stinks to be ostracized by your peers

  • It stinks to be let down and rejected

When dealing with rejection, it’s easy to become bitter and bury yourself deeper into despair by assuming that people are rejecting you based on something that you are doing, or by their behavior. This isn’t always true, and our assumptions or observations can be way off.

There is a method that you can use when faced with this type of situation:

  • Self Reflection

  • Confront

  • Create Distance & focus on something else

  • Resolve

Now, let’s walk through these in detail.

So what should I do when I feel rejected?

I always lean towards the side of self reflection in all cases first. This is no different.

The first thing that you can do is actually try and determine whether you are part of a problem, and are doing something that is unfavorable or annoying.

However, don’t always assume that something is “wrong” with you. Sometimes there isn’t anything that you are doing that is causing people to reject you. As was the case with me in sixth grade. There wasn’t anything that I was doing to cause the other kids to act that way. It was just something they did because I was new to that school, and they were young and immature.

Once you have self reflected, and determined whether there is something that you are doing or not, then the next best thing is to confront the issue with the other party.

Confronting the Issue or person

I am an engineer and self proclaimed mechanic and “fix-it” guy. So I like to approach things very analytically and dissect them the same as I would if I was working on a car, or a project.

Unfortunately relationships are much more delicate and complex than a machine. Mainly because people are intricate and unpredictable, and not all are made the same.

However, most situations can be approached the same way.

If it is a person that you feel has let you down or rejected you, then ask them to be honest with you and let them know how you are feeling. Hopefully it is just a simple misunderstanding or maybe you internalizing something the wrong way.

However, if the person says that they were not doing it on purpose, yet still continue the behavior then it is probably time to get some distance.

If it is a misunderstanding then you can move past it and move forward.

Most issues or misunderstandings can be avoided by just communicating with the person that wronged you or you believe wronged you.

Never approach them with hostility or bitterness though. Think of it as you are just trying to understand the situation, like a puzzle to be solved. It’s much better to be inquisitive rather than accusatory.

Creating Distance

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If you truly believe that there is an issue that cannot be resolved, even with communicating with the person(s) about it, then it’s time to create some distance.

This was the case with me during the sixth grade. After the initial class uprising, and tripping incident, I was pretty lonely and depressed, and even started to believe there was something wrong with me.

I didn’t tell anyone about this, and still haven’t other than my wife, and now you.

During this situation, I just decided that I couldn’t change who I was, and that I would continue being me, but would focus on doing the things that made me happy.

Naturally, me being myself, created distance between me and my classmates. I wasn’t going to beg them to be friends with me or be someone I wasn’t just because I didn’t “fit in”. Instead, I started getting interested in model trains, restoring cars with my dad, and physical fitness.

I bought a 15 foot rope and hung it from a tree out back, and I practiced climbing up and down with and without the use of my legs, everyday for months. Eventually, the kids in the class lost interest in me and moved on to something else. However, I didn’t really get close to any of them in the future, except for my best friend and the girl I had a crush on since I started going to school there.

Distance can solve a lot of issues, and will help resolve things. On the flip-side though, sometimes things never really get resolved, but you learn to move on and get over it.

Resolved

If you have done everything you can do to move forward in a positive healthy way, then you will come out on the other side stronger, and more resolute in your life than if you had chose to be bitter or angry.

Either way the issue will be resolved, you will have either salvaged the relationship or situation early on, or you will have preserved your own character and integrity by understanding how to work through the [pain of disappointment and rejection.

Remember that people are not the enemy, it’s typically our own issues, assumptions and reactions to them that end up causing us problems. It’s our own anger and fear that give us negative results.

The enemy is always looking for a way to kill, steal and destroy everything in your life.

Ephesians 6 says:

We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

Remember, you are in a fight, every single day.


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