REJECTION: A FORTRESS OR PRISON?




Some folks have a higher tolerance for rejection that others. After all, we’ve all heard of the clichés like Kelly Clarkson’s big hit, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger or the great Maya Angelou stating that rejection is simply redirection. And they are not wrong. Rejection is often the catalyst to endurance and a preserving spirt. But what happens to people who have endured rejection repeatedly and consequently develop an adverse response or sensitivity to rejection?


Trauma can take many forms and the impacts of it can be just as multifaceted. No matter how minor or grand a traumatic incident may be perceived, we can end up creating a fortresses around our spirits in an attempt to protect ourselves. Rejection is a painful thing to endure. It’s is the hope and expectation of acceptance being repelled. That reality can bring about a resurgence of memories and emotions from an earlier point in our development. Whether that is abandonment from a parental figure, romantic partner or in a professional setting, the affects remain the same—internalizing rejection.


We often think that the rejection is a reflection of our self-worth. We can mistakenly think that someone else’s perceptions of us based on limited interactions and information is somehow definitive of our entire being. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. By understanding whose we are, we have a better time in understanding that our worth comes not from the world but from the light of life that God has placed within each and every one of us. Placing the responsibility of recognizing one’s own worth in the hands of another is detrimental.


Us humans have a very hard time extending the grace that we seek to others. We tend to lower the bar of expectations that we give to others as a way to protect ourselves. Yet in the same breath, become hurt and resentful when that same action is done to us. When I think about the excruciating pain that Jesus endured at the hands of the very people he was meant to save, it taught me that grace is a difficult choice to make. You see the same story repeated by countless change-makers throughout history. What binds these individuals together is a binary purpose—helping others and serving a purpose greater than themselves. By removing themselves as the end all be all of the goals, the action of giving grace, forgiveness or simply moving on became easier to do.


What goal or purpose do you have set for your life? Is it to build a business? Create social change? Have a family? Excel in your work environment? Whatever the end goal is, if we have a purpose to reach for, the obstacles that we encounter on the journey become easier to bare. This does not negate the scars that we get from those experiences. Rejection brings about a sting of fear and cynicism that can be so hard to shake off. Sometimes it feels like there are no amount of therapy sessions or prayers that can remove the pain away. But I assure you that it is a feeling that you can and will overcome in time. With the right tools and support system, change is absolutely possible.


As this year continues to unfold, I hope and pray that we can all overcome the stronghold that rejection can bring into our lives. I pray that wherever you are and whatever you’ve gone through, that you realize that God closes doors for our protection and redirection. I hope that you are able to find a pathway to the goals and dreams you are wishing for and that you are patient enough to trust Him even in the still moments.


Remember, you are worthy. You are blessed. You are loved.


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