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July 11, 2019

Rejection:  noun  – the spurning of a person’s affections

I was digging around in some old files and came across the start of a blog from probably about 3 plus years ago.  I’m not quite sure of the date, but that would be about the right time. He was in elementary school then.

I was in the car with Cade, and he mentioned that he was bummed that tomorrow was Tuesday, which meant art.  I asked, why would you not be excited for art in school?  Shouldn’t art be lots of fun? You get to create, draw and have fun doing things.  “Yes, but want if I make something that I really like and I think is great, but the teacher doesn’t like it and tells me that is sucks.”  My first thought was, I don’t think that would be the case of an elementary school art teacher. My response: “I think with art, you will just be graded on how much effort you put into the project and finishing everything that you are supposed to do.  I don’t think they are going to be grading your project based upon the outcome.”  “That’s not how it is Dad, she is not very nice.”  I thought, here we go, not even middle school and we are dealing with issues of rejection.  And it’s not even about girls or not making a sports team, starting line-up, etc. its about an art project.

As a parent, one of the things I am not looking forward to is watching my kids having to deal with rejection, as yes, one thing I know for sure, is that rejection will happen, it’s guaranteed.  And it will for sure happen with girls.


Dogs are awesome anti-rejection tools!

Rejection is one of the most difficult things to deal with in life.  We all long to be accepted, loved and part of the “tribe”.  We want to be “in”.  But the reality of life is that we will all go through situations in which we are rejected.  It can be work, school, sports, friendship and most often relationships.  No matter the venue, it can be extremely difficult to endure.  And now in the world of social media, this issue seems to be more and more prevalent and can be part of a trigger event that leads to catastrophic results.  Rejection leads to a lot of things, including anger and aggression.  Several of the recent shootings and attacks, can at some levels be traced back to the perpetrator being impacted by the sense of rejection, which then leads to an act of violence.  Rejection also takes a huge tool on our own self-worth.  It leads to feelings that we aren’t good enough, that we don’t matter and don’t measure up.  We then beat ourselves up, with negative self-talk and negativity.  From an article by Guy Winch on Ideas.Ted.Com  “The greatest damage rejections causes is usually self-inflicted.  Just when our self-esteem is hurting the most, we go and damage it even further.”

We need to try and avoid self-criticism after dealing with rejection.  We have to try and avoid making a list of why we don’t measure up.  Yes, we should take an inventory of the situation and learn from it on how we can make changes makes things better in the future, but we should never spend time just putting ourselves down and punishing ourselves.  Instead of telling ourselves after a first date gone sideways, “I’m worthless and not lovable” we should think, maybe next time I won’t jump into a political tirade as the first thing out of my mouth on a first date.  We need to learn and improve but that shouldn’t include punishing ourselves.

Often rejection occurs based upon a fit or circumstance issue.  I remember my sophomore year of college, having a great conversation with my freshman roommate in which we both decided that we were now way better friends since we weren’t sharing a room together.  The issues/tension that occurred had nothing to do with our personalities, but more to do with our habits.  I am a morning person and he is a night owl; being complete opposites like that doesn’t work well when you share the same dorm room.  We always got along; however, he would get annoyed when I would wake him up at 6am in the morning and I would get annoyed when he was up until 2am.  The fit was just off, thus we were probably better friends when not living in the same room together.

Granted not every case is like that, but it’s important for us to learn how to recognize factors in rejection and try not to let the rejection destroy our self-esteem and self-worth, as often the situation really wasn’t all about us.

The feelings we get when we feel rejected stay with us much longer than any good feelings we get from feeling “included.”  We carry the bad memories with us as they leave scars on our heart.  I wish it was different, that the scars would be the happy times and the good moments in our lives. Those are there, but the negative times, the rejection, is what we carry even closer to our hearts and those are generally the emotions that are easy to conjure up.

I have already written a bunch about my own transformation from middle school to high school and my dealings with self-worth and acceptance.  The quick recap:  I went from a 5-foot 2-inch eighth grader (yes a little pudgy kid) to being a sophomore at 5’ 8” 140 pounds then to 6’ and 190 pounds as a senior.  Yes, I grew up, lost weight and looked completely different.  It’s still easy for me to recall events and incidents that occurred when I was a “big boned” kid, from taunts of “Big Boy” to having to get special baseball pants because the league issued sizes didn’t fit.  The feelings of rejection and not fitting in are easy for me to recall.  Here is a story of early rejection that I will share.  Honestly, I am pretty transparent with my good friends, as we have known each other forever and there is not really much I haven’t shared, but this story, I actually haven’t told anyone.  My sister is the only person whom I have ever discussed this story with.

It was fall my sophomore year of high school and it was getting close to Homecoming.  At this time in my life I was still going through a physical and really a self-confidence transformation, but it really wasn’t complete at this time.  I decided that I was going to ask out girl whom I thought was cute.  I really didn’t even know her very well at all.  Somehow, I got up the courage just to ask her.  I did and she said no.  I won’t list names, because it doesn’t really matter – she ended up moving away and didn’t graduate high school at Cedarcrest, anyhow and I don’t hold any grudges towards her as I really didn’t know her very well, so I totally understand her response.  I do remember the feeling of rejection, especially as in my mind it was supposed to work out: I was going to have the courage to ask and she would say yes, and the perfect ending would be provided.  But that is the movies and not life.  I do remember the feeling of rejection as that is not something that is easily forgotten.  I didn’t tell anyone, not my friends, nobody.  That feeling would only be known by me.  I didn’t want people to know that I had put myself out there and was totally shot down.  A few days later, my sister mentioned it to me, as the girl had told her about what happened.  I can’t remember her exact words, but what I remember was that it was reassuring and sort of a “don’t worry about it, you will be just fine” type of response.  In my circle of the world, she was the only person who knew.  I am sure that a few of my buds, who might read this will be interested in more details, as I really didn’t tell anyone about what I was going to do or the results.  But I think the fact that this event is something that I still can recall at 42, tells you the power of rejection.

My goal was to hide the rejection, if no one knew, then it didn’t happen.  It’s a great theory, but not the case at all.  The rejection sticks with us; we can’t hide from it.  We need to learn and then move forward.  Remember that even if we are falling flat on our face we are still moving forward.  We need to learn how to limit the self-inflicted pain that rejection can bring so that we can hopefully move forward with confidence to be ready for the next time when rejection might be lurking.  One thing that is certain, is that rejection will happen again.




One Comment leave one →
  1. Glenn Thistlethwaite permalink
    July 11, 2019 9:11 am

    Excellent blog. Thanks for sharing these experiences and your thoughts.

    Sent from Glenn’s iPad Mini


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