by Cherise Wesson of EllaVate Life Coaching
If you breathe oxygen and have blood flowing warmly through your veins…I would be willing to bet that you have experienced it at some point in your life. Perhaps it was the prospect who chose not to do business with you. Maybe it was the a father who wasn’t there for you. It could have been the feeling you experienced when you were the last one picked for the kick ball team at recess. Maybe it was the cute guy you had your eye on who failed to even acknowledge you or your interest. Maybe it was the jokes you experienced the first time you decided to try wearing eyeshadow in the 7th grade, or the way you wobbled the first time you put on a pair of pumps…before the wobble was an actual dance. It could have been the time your mother forgot to pick you up from school and you were the last child there. Maybe it had to do with the basketball games that were missed, even though your father promised to attend. Perhaps it was seeing all the other classmates greeted by their parents with flowers and banners after a championship game while you stood there hoping no one would notice that you had no one. What am I talking about? Rejection. It can cause some to shrink back, and others to develop through the feelings of perceived rejection.
Let me share one of my many experiences.
I was in the fourth grade. I was a little rough around the edges and a tad wild. (I had all boy cousins) I LIVED on the basketball court. I had long, messy auburn hair, skinny, knobby knees and big feet…not to mention buck teeth and freckles. I was never picked last on the court…or in any sport for that matter. I could climb high trees and run as fast as anyone else. I was extremely confident. I didn’t know I wasn’t the greatest thing since the invention of squeeze-its. My mom always told me I was her beautiful rosebud and listed the reasons she was so proud of me. (I love you, Mama!!!)
One day, as I excitedly skimmed the school newsletter to see if maybe…just maybe this time I was picked for Super Star, I noticed that a school talent show was coming up. I wasn’t Super Star this week either. Maybe next time. (I’m sure that getting in trouble for talking and cutting up had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me getting skipped over for Super Star week after week. Just like I am sure my desk was stationed by the Teacher’s desk because she loved spending time with me. LOL!!!) As awesome as I was…I figured I would sing in the school talent show. Did I have any previous training or experience in singing? Nope. But how hard could it be? Right? Besides I see people do it all the time.
I found a cassette tape that had a song that I actually knew a few of the words to. I figured that would do just fine.
I would like to tell you that I practiced and prepared for the talent show. But I didn’t. I played basketball instead. How hard could it be to get up and sing in front of the whole school, faculty, and parents? I was used to being in front of them…on the COURT!…or as an altar girl before almost catching the Priest’s room on fire while playing with matches. (Sorry Father H!!! It was only ONE robe and I flipped the hanger around so you couldn’t see the singes. You can thank Anthony for putting it out quickly!!!)
I remember when it was about to be my turn. All of a sudden I got butterflies. But the show had to go on. They called my name so I walked up to the mic.
“SCREEEEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The mic squealed extremely loud.
The song already started but I couldn’t hear it. I did what I thought was best…I jumped in and figured I’ll figure it out as I go along. That didn’t go very well. Neither did the actual song. It was sang by an older lady who was singing southern gospel songs. (Hey…the words seemed easy…LOL!!!)
I remember looking out at the audience and seeing many different responses. Some looked as if they were as lost as I was. Others looked as if they wanted to cry from embarrassment FOR me. Others laughed. And some of the faculty just turned around backwards and pretended to inspect the ceiling and door posts.
I remember I was still optimistic about it all the way until I stutted back to my seat. My classmate, Abraham (sorry for calling you out if you are reading this, Abe! I forgive you! LOL!!!!), commented in front of EVERYONE, “Dang, Cherise…why didn’t you sing something cool like Pearl Jam or something at least. That sucked!”
That is when i felt a punch in the stomach, looked around and saw the other students, faculty and parents staring at me as I sat there in the cold, tan, spotted metal chair in our parish hall. My face got hot and my palms began to sweat. I could feel my eye start to well up with tears. Never again would I approach a stage to sing, or even sing in front of close friends or family. I was bruised. Scarred. Whatever you want to call it. It SUCKED!!!
Why do some seem to be effected by it more than others? I don’t have all the answers and there can be as many reasons as there are people in this world. Each person’s experience is unique to them. Although I do not have all the answers, I do think I can share on the topic: 1. I have experienced and do experience feelings of disappointment and rejection from time to time, 2. I coach ladies who have experienced and currently deal with feelings of rejection, 3. I am human.
I am a firm believer that God gives us purpose in life, and since we have free will, we are the ones who give meaning to the things that happen to us in life. This doesn’t mean that you will never have feelings that get you down, but you do not have to stay down. Perspective is an interesting thing. Try some additional ones on for size.
Here are a few basic ways that you can deal with feelings of rejection. Try them on for size as well.
Know that everyone is different. Not everyone will see or value the things the way you do. It is impossible to read minds. Give room for differences without taking things personally. Kind of like trying to fit a Coke bottle lid on a Sobe bottle. They are both related but are different sizes and therefore do not fit or accomplish the needs at hand. It does not take away from the value of either one.
2. Multiple Outcomes
Do not go in to situations unaware of the possibility that things may not go the way you want them to. Likewise do not go in with the expectation that all will fail and be completely horrible. Have balance. Move forward with confidence while understanding that there are possibilities of different outcomes. If you can live with the worst possible outcome, I’d say go for it. People don’t die from failure, but the fear of failure has kept a lot of people from really living.
3. Not Always About You
Avoid personalizing every outcome. You do not know what is going on in the other person’s mind, what their schedule is (unless you are a stalker…LOL), or many of the other factors that vie for one’s attention on a daily basis.
In the world of self-help and self-development, it is not uncommon to hear the suggestion that self-esteem is the cure for inferiority or rejection. Although that is good information I believe it is incomplete information. Self-esteem can be compared to a 5hour energy drink. It works…temporarily. Once it wears off you are back to the state that you were in. Self-esteem is good when it is rooted in your God-given identity. God made you in His image. You are special. You must esteem yourself as He describes you in his Word. When God created the human race He called it “Good”. He approves of you and is attentive to every detail of your life. He even knows the number of hair on your head. (Which is pretty cool…because as I type this i am sitting in Starbucks, thinking that God knows how many strands of hair I have that are mine…as in “grown out of my scalp”, and how many strands of hair that are in these tracks that I have glued in…which means He also knows that my tracks are coming loose… and I am trying to hold out until my next hair appointment…on Friday…with Ayana,The Hairazor!) Receive God’s unconditional, unearned, love and acceptance. It works better than the 5hour self-esteem.
5. Have Fun
Keep your life! Live! Life goes on. Go do what you love to do. Don’t go into the “black hole” when you feel rejected…whatever your “black hole” is. Mine is work. Since I know this, I can keep it in balance and not work out of avoidance when I get hurt, but out of a love for coaching, building my business and researching. Some people get lost is the black hole of Ben & Jerry’s, others in filler relationships or even alcohol or other substances. That is not a beneficial way to go. LIVE your life and enjoy. Jesus said one of the reasons he came was to give us life, real life…abundant life (John 10:10). Get out there and have fun!