Monday, December 13, 2010

The Far Reaching Effects of Rejection


To throw Back ... an interpersonal situation that occurs when a person or group of people exclude an individual from a social relationship ...the shunning of one or more. At some point in our lives most of us have felt the effects of rejection.  I can remember the rejection I felt in High school for being the weird religious girl who didn't smoke, drink, curse or fool around with boys. Luckily I remember it but I no longer feel the agony of being an outsider. I like to think it made me stronger, I would have rather felt included.

Someone I care about was recently rejected by a 3 year love interest. At first she seemed okay, numbing her emotions and filling her life to the brim with work, school, and activities. She isn't as experienced in the rejection process as other I know. She had plenty of friends in High school and was always able to rely on another pal if a "Best Friend" rejected her. She always had options and I would consider her "popular." College was similar as she enjoyed her dorm mates and made new friends. I don't think she knew what hit her when this boyfriend just blew her off and ended things without any explanation. She no longer feels welcome in her own group as he has started dating one of her "close" friends, who seems to know more about the whys of the breakup than she does. She is now lost, angry, and insecure...acting in ways that are very untypical of her regular happy, outgoing, confident self.

Another person I care about had a different High school experience. She was labeled and ridiculed for being an individual and paid the price of non conforming. She often felt the sting of rejection at school and especially at church. She got a thick skin and learned to brush off side-ward glances and criticism. Its not that she didn't hurt, she just learned to splash cold water on her face, hold her chin high, and give'm the old single finger salute. College has been a different experience for her, she has been excepted. Even though she was made to wonder what was wrong with her during High school years, she's now finding out that she's not just likable, but lovable just the way she is. She has blossomed into a confident, happier, more relaxed person. It seems that the chip on her shoulder we've been trying to keep steady for the past few years has been handed off to someone else.

Rejection is one of those things that can make us change how we feel about ourselves. You could feel  confident and secure walking into a room at one moment, but with a few evil glances, some whispers accompanied by turning can turn into a puddle of insecurity instantly. Rejection makes us want to withdraw and run away. Just when we need people to embrace us we find ourselves pushing those who love and enjoy  us away.

Its hard to watch someone you love go through hard things. Its hard to be pushed away when you know a big hug is what is needed. Its hard to feel like your relationship is suffering because of the actions of someone else. Its hard when you know what it feels like to be rejected and you would happily take the pain because you are much better at dismissing it then they are. It's hard when all you want to do it make that person not only feel Likable...but Lovable!

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