I must say something I am not great at is dealing with rejection. It struck me today, when I’m turned down for something, I tend to shut down. As of the last few years, I have been able to cope pretty well with rejection, and I’ve credited that to a growing faith, and proper management of anxiety. But right now? Well, I’m pregnant, hormonal, and just plain sensitive.
It’s not always a big rejection that hits me – sometimes it’s something as simple as someone cancelling on social plans – sometimes even plans that I had begun to think might have been too ambitious. But when I offer something personal, like making a meal to share time with friends and it is turned down, I feel rejected, downtrodden, and zapped of energy.
It probably stems back to childhood – I was one of those kids that has a personality that didn’t quit – loud and weird, but someone that well-adjusted individuals could tolerate. Other kids do not always appreciate the uniqueness that is children like me, and therefore teasing and avoidance of me occurred often. I remember trying to invite many a young friend to hang out with me, and being told they had other plans or were busy, and hearing laughter later that they had managed to escape the pain of having to spend time with me.
It hurt my tender, young feelings. I was a little too young to understand that sometimes people are afraid to accept others as who they were, and that being an individual might get you ridiculed – differences are seldom tolerated by people trying to fit in, especially in adolescence. I had been taught to be me, and who I was wasn’t something people wanted to be around. Not all people, but enough to have a significant impact on my feelings.
As I’ve grown up and expanded my social circle, I’ve found most adults are happy to accept different ideas and personalities, and if they aren’t, I am not usually hurt, I know people have different tastes and feelings. However, the serious rejection with my peer group has cause me to want everyone to think I am as awesome as I feel that I am. This has developed into a serious need to please others, entertain, and not offend, even if that means hiding my true feelings.
It’s hard for me to explain that during this time of discovery in school for ministry, I feel plunged back into the old childhood scene, but with the advantage of being much more socially aware and capable of making friends. But when people turn me down, I immediately think they must not like me and are finding excuses to not have to hang out with me. It’s a bummer way to think, but it’s where my mind goes.
I look to the Lord for strength while my emotions make me insecure, and am doing my best to understand that just because people are too busy to spend time with me, they aren’t necessarily avoiding my company.