Healing Our Rejection, Finding True Acceptance
Our most basic of needs is to be nurtured and loved. When these are not experienced well we suffer from pain and rejection. Painless people don’t exist except in fairytales and many advertisements.
Our experience of rejection can fall into at least broad 3 categories
- The rejection we all experience as a result of original sin.
- The rejection many of us experience from imperfect parenting and other difficult childhood experiences.
- The rejection we experience in life when someone we love deliberately moves away.
1. The rejection we all experience as a result of original sin
As far as category one is concerned, this is common to all man. As a result of the fall we moved away from intimacy with our Creator, the only source of unconditional love. When trust in Him died in man’s hearts, we turned to idols. Sin not only separated us from God but from our true selves who were created to draw our identity from our relationship with Him. Jesus saved us and brought us back to the heart of the Father. As we draw close to Him He shows us our true selves and this healthy self-knowledge is vital to finding the true acceptance in the deepest part of our hearts. Grace frees us to reject the tendency to value ourselves primarily by our achievements, appearance and the opinion of others.
2. The rejection many of us experience from imperfect parenting and other childhood experiences
Although this comes in different degrees we also all experience it in one way or another. Some of these experiences can be be very severe and hurtful: abandonment by parents, abuse, harsh and unkind words, the near absence of encouragement, bullying at school and so on. Yet with the help of God’s grace and if needs be the help of professional counselling we can find healing and wholeness.
3. The rejection we experience when someone we love moves away
One of the most painful experiences of any human being is the rejection of love – when ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends, close friends move on the pain is very real. Many of us have been at times victims and other times the perpetrators, being rejected and rejecting.
What is the answer?
The answer is the experience of acceptance and the grace to overcome the negative thoughts about ourselves. Primarily we all yearn to be loved and accepted not for our attributes, talents and achievements but for who we really are. There is only one ‘me’ and I am not clonable.
The first step before anything else therefore is to live rightly related to God, keeping in mind Jesus’ words: “Everyone that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me” (Jn 6:37). When we are more secure in the love of God with His grace we can follow these important principles.
1. We need to allow the pain to surface – Pain is bad but unresolved pain is worse it. We need to come out of denial. We may need help in how to deal with this.
2. We may need to ask God forgiveness for our reaction especially anger, bitterness and the tendency to turn to quick fixes to dull the pain and bury it. Often sin easily festers here too and we need to repent and receive the mercy of God.
3. Ask God for the grace to let go of the pain especially self-pity. Many people who feel rejected will in turn reject others or go to the other extreme and idolise them. Instinctively they become overtly concerned with people-pleasing which can masquerade as love. They might also waste a lot of energy in always trying to prove themselves.
4. We need to choose to forgive those who hurt us. This is essential to healing: parents, abusers, people who teased us, teachers who didn’t choose us for the school play, close friends who abandoned us, boy/girlfriends who left us for somebody else and so on.
5 . We need to resist the lies that we believe of ourselves, often instigated by the devil, the ‘father of lies’ (John 8:44). Thoughts that we are unlovable, unforgivable and so on are best overcome with the truth of God’s Word.
you love everything that exists, and nothing that you have made disgusts you, since, if you had hated something, you would not have made it. And how could a thing subsist, had you not willed it? Or how be preserved, if not called forth by you? No, you spare all, since all is yours, Lord, lover of souls!
”But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, `You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
6. Allow the Lord to minster deeper acceptance and comfort to you in prayer and the Eucharist. Allow others in the Christian community to bless you with their love, words and encouragement. If needs be you may need to seek additional professional help. Keep in mind it is a process.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.