The story of Joseph is a story that is too well known to most of our readers. Joseph was a man of sorrows. A major part of his sorrow had to do with rejection. Joseph like few other men, had the misfortune to taste rejection in a way many of us will never have to deal with. HOW TO OVERCOME REJECTION.
Joseph was rejected by his blood brothers. That is bad enough, but he was not rejected by one brother or two brothers or three brothers, Joseph was rejected by all 10 of his brothers. Can you just imagine that for a minute? You come from a family from where you most expect protection, you have many brothers which gives you a sense of a greater protection, but all that turns into the cruel reality of being rejected by the very people you had hoped to be there for you.
“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” Ps. 118: 22
Some of us have tasted rejection when our hope for support, help and assistance was dashed. It could be that you needed support from your family. Maybe you had to pay for your school fees or to get a job and none was forth coming. At such times, we feel hugely betrayed and rejected. Many of us are bitter and angry just because the people we had hoped to receive help from disappointed us.
“I know that when a door closes, it can feel like all doors are closing. A rejection letter can feel like everyone will reject us. But a closed door leads to clarity. It’s really an arrow. Because we cannot go through that door, we will go somewhere else. That somewhere else is your true life.” ― Tama J. Kieves
The feeling of rejection is all but natural to all of us. We often feel let down when our expectations are not met. But all these levels of rejection are nothing compared to what Joseph experienced. In the case of Joseph, the contrast was deep and agonizing. The reason being that he had just recently experienced one of the highest expressions of love that any little boy could imagine. His father had just given him a coat of many colors which must have probably raised his feelings to the high heavens. He felt acceptance, recognition, love, approval and affirmation.
Can you imagine how that young lad must have felt after such a shower of love from his dad? He was probably in seventh heaven. He was most likely in a state of ecstasy, excitement and euphoria. The next thing that happen to him, was the cruelest of all acts of rejection by his very blood brothers. It is one thing for you to be rejected at home and at the dinner table. It is one thing to be rejected by people deciding not to talk to you. It is one thing for you to feel rejected when people turn their backs on you. But when you are actually thrown into a dry pit from which you have no chance of escaping, that is real rejection. It was a rejection on a psychological level. But it got even worse, he was eventually sold out into slavery for peanuts. Now, that is talking about rejection.
“Every candle that gets lit in the dark room must feel a little rejection from the darkness around it, but the last thing I want from those who hold a different world view to me is to accept me.” – Kirk Cameron
Most of us will never quite experience the level of rejection that Joseph had to go through. The lesson this story of Joseph is teaching us is that rejection is a reality in our daily lives. It would be difficult to find anyone who has not gone through life without experiencing the feelings of rejection one way or the other. Rejection is life’s reality. As you read this article, I am almost sure that various pictures and instances of rejection are coming up in your mind right now. That tells us that rejection is a part of life.
“Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” ― Steve Maraboli
Howbeit a painful aspect of life, it is still a reality of life. If rejection is a reality that most of us will have to deal with in life, we therefore have to find out ways of dealing with it. We must be equipped with the skills of how to deal with rejection. We must be equipped with the knowledge of how to overcome it.
Before I go into the details of how to handle this real life issue, I wish to speak to those of us thinking that only weak people experience rejection. The truth of the matter is that when we are strong, when everything seems to be going well for us, when we are on top of our game, we always tend to think that winning is our birthright.
“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” – Bo Bennett
In such situations, we tend to look down on others who struggle, especially in those areas where we seem to be strong. Most of the time we think that we are better than them. We think the reason this other guy is complaining is because he has not gotten his act together. As a matter of fact there is a school of thought that believes that only weak people experience rejection. Even though some of these people could have experienced rejection in their past, but because of the success and victory they are experiencing at the moment, they think things will always go their way.
It doesn’t always turn out this way. The scriptures tell us stories of some pretty strong men that also had to go through the feelings of rejection. Not too many people would doubt the fact that Jesus Christ was a strong man. Maybe He is the strongest man who has ever walked the face of the earth. Well He went through rejection so bad that He had to exclaim “my God my God, why have you forsaken me?” In another instance, He had to admit that even though the spirit is willing, yet the flesh is weak.
Now can you imagine, that was after He had prayed for so many hours seeking for God’s help to let the cup pass over Him? When He did not receive the answer from His Father in heaven, He admitted that the flesh was weak. Can you imagine yourself praying for so many hours and then, you have to surrender to the fact that no answer is forthcoming, the expected answer is not going to come.
I guess in His place, you and I would have felt deeply rejected. This is especially painful when you have put in as much work as Jesus did. The Bible recalls that He prayed so hard that even the sweat from His body was as if it were blood. And in the end, He still got no for an answer. Well I don’t know about you, but that could lead a lot of people into a deep depression.
“Rejection is part of the journey toward success, so don’t be insulted or get upset when it happens. In fact, get excited about how you just got closer to your “Yes!” ― Michelle Moore
The point I am trying to make is that strong men too can go through and experience the feelings of rejection. The Apostle Paul experienced a huge feeling of rejection at the hands of the early church. Even though he had given his life to Christ, with some supernatural experiences with Jesus Himself, yet he was not accepted by the brethren. That is rejection! It took a while before he was accepted as a Christian minister. The Apostle Paul had to head for the desert in Arabia, because he could not receive the hand of fellowship from fellow ministers. I guess he decided that fellowship with animals and birds in the desert would be a better option. That is what rejection can do to you.
Friends, these are strong individuals, yet they had their own experiences of rejection. Some of you might say I’ve never had such an experience, congratulations, but have you ever considered that your experience might just be around the corner? Whatever the case might be, the fact still remains that we need to educate ourselves on how to deal with rejection, but even more importantly, we must study this subject so as to know how to help other people around us deal with these feelings and experiences of rejection.
STEPS TO OVERCOMING REJECTION
1. COME TO THE REALIZATION THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU
The first thing you need to do is to know that you are okay! The fact that you are rejected by your boyfriend, girlfriend, colleagues, or family does not mean that you are abnormal. The feeling of an inferiority complex and abnormality clouds the minds of someone going through rejection. Especially when you are rejected in the aspect of love. Ladies tend to think that there might be other ladies that are better than they are. Men tend to think that it is because they don’t have enough achievements or possessions.
“(for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.” Deuteronomy 4:31
It is essential that you realize that there is nothing wrong with you as an individual. If you are going through rejection the first thing you need to remember is that other people, even those better than you, have gone through the same thing before you. As we have seen above, strong men who we might think are much better than us have also gone through rejection. In most cases, rejection doesn’t point to the fact that you are abnormal or otherwise. It often has to do with a relationship factor. Rejection is more of a question of relationship rather than a question of who you are.
Your identity and your personality should not be put under scrutiny in the case of rejection. Several factors could be responsible for rejection, they are too numerous to be mentioned here. The basic point I want to make here is that you know this does not have anything to do with you as a person or as an individual. Be sure of your acceptance in the eyes of God. Know that you are accepted by God Himself. He is the most important Person that matters. If you are accepted by Him, it means you are okay. If you are accepted by Him, it does not matter who does not accept you, but if you are not accepted by Him, it doesn’t matter who accepts you.
2. GIVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
When we encounter rejection, one of the most common feelings we have to struggle with, is the feeling of putting the blame on yourself or on others. We often ask the question, what have I done wrong? Or, who is to blame for this? At such a time, we become unnecessarily harsh either on ourselves or on other people. In times of pain, we don’t see things the way they really are, we see things through the prism of our temporary pain. I would like to encourage you to first of all not be so harsh on yourself. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you are not as bad, as you feel right now. Maybe it’s not really your mistakes that are to blame for this. Maybe it’s not all about your failures. Maybe there are other factors that are responsible besides you. Even though we are not trying to live in denial, we should sure take responsibility for our actions when we know that we are responsible. We need to take responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
“Rejection isn’t failure. Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It is how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.” ― Richard Castle
What I am trying to help you avoid is damaging yourself, by putting too much blame on yourself. I am simply suggesting that maybe you should not be too categorical about your faults and failures. Maybe you should give yourself some of the benefit of the doubt.
The other side of the blame game is that we often blame either ourselves or we blame others. In a situation when, let’s take for example, a relationship goes sour: the offended party, which we always seem to be, often puts the blame on the other person. For example a boy and a girl separate, then the girl begins to put all the blame on the boy. He is this, he is that, he is not kind, he is wicked, etc.
This is another trap that rejection sets for you. Rejection wants to put you in the slave mentality trap of blaming other people. It wants you to live in that captivity for many years to come. Rejection wants you to have bad feelings towards other people. Some people actually try to find refuge in blaming others. Satan wishes to entrap you by giving you a false sense of consolation, through blaming others for your situation.
Unfortunately, this false sense of consolation works so well with people who already see themselves as victims. They tend to pity themselves and find consolation in putting the blame on others. What you need to do friends, is to also consider giving other people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he is not really as bad as you think. Maybe there were some circumstances that were beyond his control. Maybe there is something you are not seeing. Maybe there are other factors behind the scenes that might be responsible for what you are feeling other than this man. Learn to give other people the benefit of the doubt. That would save you from the effect of blaming others thereby thinking you are hurting them, but really you are hurting yourself. Don’t drink poison hoping that your enemy will die.
3. STOP AND ANALYZE.
Usually when we fail, make a mistake or are rejected, we are overwhelmed with feelings. At such a time, the least we should do is stop and analyze. Emotions usually get the better of us. The best way out though would be to cast the emotions down, while you analyze the circumstances that led to whatever situation you find yourself in. Ideally as you try to analyze. You must first remove yourself from the picture emotionally. You should look at yourself as a neutral observer rather than as the wounded party. If you could successfully isolate yourself emotionally from everything that just happened, it would give you better grounds to objectively examine what has transpired.
“Each rejection brings us closer to acceptance.” ― Ramesh Lohia
That is why the act of stopping to analyze is very helpful in the situation of rejection. Try to objectively analyze the actions of others involved. Moreover as you think over all that has transpired, try to retrieve some of the pictures, placing yourself meanwhile in the place of a neutral analyst. That would enable you to objectively reassess all that led to that situation.
This practice will set you free from the tendency of self-condemnation and the condemnation of others. Once you see things the way they are, make a sober decision, not to repeat the mistakes that led to the place that you are in. Take a step further, be determined to get more knowledge, read books, and acquire all necessary wisdom, that would safe guard you in the future.
4. REJECTION COULD BE GOOD FOR YOU
In life, there is always room for paradoxes. There are times when even rejection can work for your good. A great insight into this is seen in the book of Psalms 27:10
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the lord will take care of me.”
God in his wisdom will sometimes set us up to be rejected by men so that we have the privilege of directly relating to Him. No matter how you look at it, it is always better to deal directly with God, than to deal with the best of men. Men will always fail you sooner or later. In order to rescue you from greater damage, God will often allow men to let you down so that you can fall into His ready arms.
“Misfortune is the best fortune. Rejection by all is victory.” ― Vālmīki
Another reason why God would rather have us rely on Him than on mere mortals is that humans are not eternal. They die! So supposing you are not rejected by men and you keep on relying on them only for them to die. All of a sudden, you would be left alone. But that is a greater damage because they will never be able to come back to help you. It would have been better if you would have been rejected and then you could have discovered God as your Helper.
One other reason why God would allow men to let us down, is for our own good. It is so that we might develop the capacity to do things for ourselves. God does not want you to grow up as a vegetable. In order for that not to happen, He will often allow men to let you down so that you can develop your own muscles.
So ladies and gentlemen, stop seeing your rejection as a tragedy, it could be a blessing in disguise.
5. CHANGE YOUR FOCUS
Normally when we are rejected, our focus is primarily on ourselves. We tend to focus on our feelings, we concentrate on our pain. We are actually supposed to be doing the opposite. Our focus should be on areas of improvement and correction. For us to be able to do that, we need to ask ourselves, what is God trying to teach me in this situation? That question would help you to conduct a personal inventory on yourself, so as to discover the lessons God is trying to teach you. It would help you to make a list of the areas where you are still weak.
“Rejection is merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny.” ― Bryant McGill.
There are some things we all don’t see. There are black spots in the lives of everyone. It is only at a time like this when we are reexamining ourselves that we see clearer those things that were hidden from our focus before. So the idea is, we shift our focus from self-pity to self-improvement. We shift our focus from self-blame to self-inventory. We shift our focus from blaming others to seeing the weaknesses to work on. We shift our focus from the injustice we felt was done to us, to the issues in our lives that need to be corrected. This way our pain is not wasted, by doing so rejection becomes a gain rather than a loss. We convert the most negative experiences into beautiful blessings.
6. NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU
Sometimes we are rejected because people don’t like us. The best way to overcome this sort of rejection is to already be aware that not everyone will like you in life. When we think however that it is our birthright to be accepted and celebrated, that is when we get disappointed.
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious.” 1Peter2:4
In the real sense the truth is, no one is obliged to like you. People like different people based on their preferences, that might not have anything to do with you at all. It is protective to know that people have the right to decide who they want to relate with. Some people might prefer not to relate with me which is their choice.
Let’s give people the liberty to express themselves according to their understanding. If we are to be objective, we must also admit that we too are guilty of this type of attitude. It is not everybody we receive or like. We don’t always feel comfortable with everyone and it is our right. We all have the right to choose our friends. If we afford ourselves the privilege of relating with those we wish to relate with and be friendly with those we wish to be friendly with and avoid those we don’t wish to be close with, it is only fair to give others the same choice.
So my friends, not everyone will like you. Let’s leave it like that. But if you sit down thinking, but I am good, how could anyone reject me? Then you would only become more victimized. People don’t know you are good, it is only you who knows it yourself. At times, even in those things where you think you’re good, others might view them as negative. Simply because they are different. They have a different background, a different culture, a different value system, a different upbringing or simply a different world view.
What is important is that we learn lessons from the people that God allows to come across our path. Even when we are being rejected, we could still obtain some valuable lessons through these people. Not everyone that comes into your life, comes to stay. Neither is everyone that God permits to cross your path supposed to be your friend. This attitude will help you to be more at peace with whatever happens to you in life in relation to rejection.
7. FORGIVE AND LET GO
No matter how good we think we are, we too offend people. Just as we are thinking of what to do with those who reject us, so other people that have been hurt by our actions or lack of actions are also doing the same. They too are wondering what to do with us. What I am trying to say here is that every one of us, is in need of forgiveness. If we forgive others we shall be forgiven. If we don’t, then we too don’t stand a chance of being forgiven.
One major key that would make it easier for us to forgive others is to learn to separate the man from his actions or attitudes. People’s actions don’t always reflect who they are or what they are thinking towards us. We might dislike the actions but still forgive the man. This is how God relates to us. He dislikes our sins and actions, but loves us nevertheless. See everyone that has offended you is somebody that deserves to be understood and forgiven, irrespective of their actions.
“Isn’t that the greatest tragedy? When someone rejects us, no matter how they abuse our love, we hope against reason that somehow they will come back to us.” ― Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Yes actions must be confronted, challenged and corrected, still men must be loved. If we forgive others their trespasses, God will forgive us our trespasses. What we do for others, God will do for us. If we live in unforgiveness towards others, we will never taste a good life. We will not know the happiness in forgiveness. So friends, learn to separate people’s actions from their person and you will find it easier to forgive.
8. PLEASE GOD RATHER THAN MAN
At times when we are rejected, some people tend to go down the path of compromise. They try to go against their principles and value systems just to please the person who is aggrieved with them. Others might even go to the length of subservience just to prove to others that they are good. People live a compromised life, and lifestyle because they want others to like them.
“It’s common to reject or punish yourself when you’ve been rejected by others. When you experience disappointment from the way your family or others treat you, that’s the time to take special care of yourself. What are you doing to nurture yourself? What are you doing to protect yourself? Find a healthy way to express your pain.” ― Christina Enevoldsen
Ladies and gentlemen, please quit trying to prove to others that you are good. Know who you are. Be sure of your qualities. Above all, be determined to please God rather than man. If your focus is on pleasing God, you will not focus on pleasing men.
If you could be transparent before God and be sincere with Him, then you would have no business trying to please man. Be more concerned about God’s opinion of you than man’s opinion. Please God rather than man.
“So many people will tell you “no”, and you need to find something you believe in so hard that you just smile and tell them “watch me”. Learn to take rejection as motivation to prove people wrong. Be unstoppable. Refuse to give up, no matter what. It’s the best skill you can ever learn.” ― Charlotte Eriksson
Dear friends, these are just a few of the measures to take to set yourself free from the pains of rejection. I believe that by practicing most of the truths in this article, you will be able to help yourself and the others around you who are suffering from rejection.
This problem is going to become more and more prevalent in our world as we enter into the last days. People’s love will grow cold. Men will become lovers of themselves rather than lovers of others. People will become more and more selfish and egocentric. All these things will lead to more and more rejection and feelings of guilt.
This article therefore, I hope will go a long way to equipping us for the challenges ahead of us as cyber-generation believers.