When You Feel Rejected

Episode #67

Have you ever felt pushed away, unwanted, or maybe even phased out? If so, you have experienced a very common feeling of rejection. Rejection keeps us stuck and unhappy. In today’s episode, we share our own personal struggles with rejection, as well as, tips on how to overcome the feeling so you can move on in confidence and joy.


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Ashley
This is Episode 67. When You Feel Rejected. You’re listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.

Claudine
Welcome back, everybody. Today we’re talking about something that we’ve all experienced. My question for you today is Have you ever felt pushed away? Unwanted? Unvalued? Because if you have, you have probably experienced rejection. It’s something that every single one of us on this planet have experienced. And rejection can create shame, sadness, and grief. So today we’re going to talk about rejection, just the negative damage that it does and practical ways, and practical ways to heal from rejection. So Ashley, tell me, have you ever been rejected?

Ashley
Oh, yes, I have in many different areas of my life Very much so. And you?

Claudine
Yes. I mean, I remember as a small child not being picked for sports. Because I was kind of small and clumsy, I would trip over myself, it was things as simple as that rejection can take all forms, it can be something simple, although as a child, not being chosen for a team does not feel simple at the time, it’s huge. Obviously, I’ve been in relationships that have ended where I was not the one ending it. So that was a romantic rejection. I’ve applied for jobs that I didn’t get. So that was an employment rejection. And over the years, I’ve had friendships that have moved away, or we’ve just lost touch. And there can be that friendship, rejection. So rejection takes all kinds of forms. And again, some of them are small, and some of them are major. And, you know, our brains are wired for survival. So when we feel rejected, it’s like a death sentence. Because our brains needed to develop that when we were in hunting, hunting and gathering . If we weren’t part of the tribe, it was basically a death sentence. If we rejected from our group, then we’ve had a very poor chance of survival. So it’s ingrained. It’s wired in our primitive brains to survive. So to not feel rejected, and yet, it’s something we go through all the time. So that’s why we wanted to talk about it today.

Ashley
Yeah, absolutely. Exactly what you said, there’s so many different facets that rejection hits, you know, I mean, a job romantic relationship, friendships. There, even divorce, I kind of felt some rejection with my parents going through divorce. And even though there’s this underlying beliefs that we may form, and we’ll get into this a little bit deeper further into this episode. It’s not necessarily the case. But that’s what our child brain will come to the conclusion of, we’ll assume that well, it must be because of this. I remember when my parents got divorced. I was, I think, around seven years old, I can’t even remember, but I’m pretty sure I was around seven. I didn’t really talk to my mom about it. And you know, us kids lived with my mom, and would see our dad on weekends. And I didn’t talk to my mom about it until I think, seventh or eighth grade. And I actually asked her, was it my fault that you guys got divorced? And I think a lot of kids feel that when they go through a situation like that with their parents, they take the blame. It must have been something I did. And I thought, gosh, how many years I held on to that, before I had the courage to ask my mom about what happened. What happened? Why did you guys get divorced? And so that is one big example. You know, where I felt because in my head, for those years, I filled in the blanks, it must be my fault, I must have done something wrong. I was rejected, right? And so and we do that, if we don’t voice these things, the situations we go through where we experienced this type of rejection, we’re going to create the belief, you know, we’re going to kind of fill in those gaps and try and our brain will try to rationalize what happened and make sense of it all. Yet, when you’re a kid, you’re doing that with your underdeveloped brain with your emotional brain, right? Because our thinking brain our prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed yet. So it really takes a toll in adulthood.

Claudine
Well, rejection creates so much damage I mean, like you’re sharing it, those beliefs can attack our self esteem. We don’t feel valued, we don’t feel worthy because especially At a young age, we’re not able to process that we’re not able to think it through and go, Wow, that person must have been having a really bad day, or maybe my skill set for this job are not equally matched, but they are for another great job. They don’t think that way. It can attack our emotional well being. I read some studies that show that when you are feeling rejected, your IQ actually drops which I thought, well, that’s interesting. So it affects us mentally, spiritually, emotionally. and physically. I know, we both research some of the ways that rejection links to physical pain.

Ashley
There was a study from University of Michigan, the MRI, and they found that rejection actually can actually activates the parts of your brain where you feel pain, physical pain. And so it really shows how, why when we feel rejected, it hurts like it, it feels like your heart hurts, right? Because right? It actually activates that part. And so your body is thinking, oh, we’re feeling pain, just as if I cut my finger. Well rejection, you’re feeling pain, you know. And so it’s really interesting, that that’s why really think about it. It’s a huge reason why we don’t step out of our comfort zone, in certain areas of our life, or create new goals. Like we get scared to dream, we get scared to have goals, we get scared to initiate and a friendship or we get scared to go after a love interest or Crusher, you know, we get scared. And we’re held back by fear so much, because it’s so painful, right? It can feel just even the fear of the potential of being rejected is so strong that it just keeps us stuck in life. And we don’t want to live there, right? It’s comfortable, it’s safe. But we’re not really happy. And we’re not really at our true core, you know, our authentic self, and rightly enjoying life to the full, which we really desire deep down.

Claudine
Yeah, yeah, it’s hard to rise up and shine when you’re living in fear. And isolation. Like you said, that fear of rejection can lead to isolation, where we then struggle with loneliness, because we’re removing ourselves from the potential of rejection. So then we’re lonely, which in and of itself is painful, a different kind of pain, but it’s painful, or we keep going out there. But we have social anxiety. I know a lot of people struggle with that. That’s not my struggle. I think I become a people person over the years. But with the fear of rejection, people can get anxious in social situations.

Ashley
Oh, I’m one of those people.

Claudine
Are you?

Ashley
You knew this about me.

Claudine
No, because I always see you one on one.

Ashley
Yeah, that’s true. People scare me, people are scary. Because when you experience certain things in your life, especially childhood and growing up, and, you know, I got so stuck in my head, and I would just play these stories in my head and, and the fear and the insecurity I would have, I would just come, I would avoid, you know, crowds, I would avoid people. I’ve even told my kids before, I said, even when I go to church, every Sunday, every Sunday for 23 years, I still get really nervous as if it’s brand new, and I still feel fear. And I have to push myself because I have to remind myself, I’ve been here so many times, it’s not new, it’s, you know, like, I now find someone, I’m gonna go look for this person, and I’m going to go look for that person. So I kind of give myself this task. Right. But I do I can still it’s just so ingrained and conditioned within me that that comes up. But I try not to let it keep you back. Right, right. Do I just not go to church? No, I would feel so bummed out. I don’t want to withdraw and be lonely. I love to be around people. It’s just something I recognize about myself. Interesting.

Claudine
That’s a great point. You know, the other ways that rejection can damage us is when we experienced repetition. We experienced the pain over and over by thinking about the rejection. And like you said, that study shows that we experience it in our brain as physical pain. So every time we rethink about the point of rejection, the time we felt rejected, we’re re experiencing that pain over and over. And another one which you kind of talked about is the distorted thinking we tell ourselves stories, right? Like we make this rejection. It almost it’s like, oh, it must have been my fault. I’m a terrible person. We never I mean, I don’t I don’t think gosh, it could have been so and so could have been having a really bad day or they’re just not a great Place in life. And this has happened to me a few times where I felt very rejected in friendships. And then years later, I was finding out that person was going through like one of the hardest time in their lives and what I experienced as rejection, was them going through something really difficult and just pulling back. That was the way they coped. It had nothing to do with me, like nothing like zero, but yet I was so self centered, not centering self, like we talked about the other day, the healthy one. But I kept thinking, it must be something about me and we start to question our identity. And we internalize rejection as who we are. And it creates shame. Like, this is who I am. I’m not worthy. It must be me. And that’s, that’s not good.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. Claudine, just what you were saying, I went through that same conversation last week with somebody where I was feeling very triggered in my friendships with people. And I was feeling I kind of coined this new term, you know, FOMO, right. fear of missing out, I call it FOLO a fear of being left out. That’s more where it resonates with me. And but it goes to that belief. I’m purposely being left out, I must have done something wrong. And I did. It was probably the third or fourth time where I got triggered, you know, social media, you see something on social media. And then I’m like, and it was finally it was a bigger thing that really, it felt so personal. And so I texted my friend, what did I do? What did I do wrong?

Claudine
Right. That’s how we respond when we feel rejected.

Ashley
So much. But being able to talk through it was helpful, because here I was getting triggered. And then it’s, you know, all this emotion is backed by this emotion, but being able to actually talk through and rationalize and get both sides of the story. And, you know, then you understand what happened. It wasn’t necessarily a personal rejection. I put that belief on, on the relationship and on myself. So I was telling myself, I was rejected, they don’t want me I’m not worthy. I’m you know, and we do this all the time. But it’s not true. I mean, there may be a time where they really just hate your guts, and they want nothing to do with you. Most of the time. That’s probably not the case, right? Most of the time. But it feels that way. It really feels like oh my gosh, it just hits that shame. You know, organ, it almost is so strong. Like it’s it’s so right. Again, right to shame organ and within you. And you just think what did I do and it, it, but a lot of it is so distorted, like you said, This distorted belief, and you won’t be able to heal and move forward if you just sit and wallow in it. Right? It’s just Well, I guess this is who I am. I guess people don’t want to be my friend or I guess, you know, I’m not made for this job. And when we say those things to ourselves, it really damages us really so much. So,

Claudine
So damaging, you know, and it’s funny, as I was reading different things for this, I realized too, there’s so many scriptures about rejection. And in Isaiah 53:3, it talks about Jesus and said he was despised and rejected a man of sorrows acquainted with deepest grief. And I think about that, I think here’s someone who’s perfect, who live life as perfectly as possible on this planet. And yet He was despised and rejected and had nothing to do with who he was. It had everything to do with the people who did the rejecting and despising. And that helps me. I mean, that’s helped me through rejection, really working through like, yes, there might be partly it could be me. But it also is very reflecting of the person doing the rejection, especially when it’s done in an unhealthy way where it’s done through ghosting, or ostracizing pushing out of a group, or done ambiguously. Where it’s vague and confusing, where someone’s not really telling you like their words may be saying, Oh, no, no, you know, you’re with us, or I love you or you’re my friend, or we want to give you this job, but the actions are showing something very different. So that’s very ambiguous. And so there’s a lot. So it just really helpful for me, that was what helped me realize it might not all be me, if Jesus himself was despised and rejected, it’s probably going to happen to me too. And it’s all through the Scriptures. We we can read about rejection in there that they suffered and struggled through it. It’s part of the human experience, we’re going to be rejected. So Ashley, let’s talk about some of the ways we can heal from rejection.

Ashley
Yeah, so one thing I would highly recommend is I like to call it discovery. It’s basically awareness right? Just have this period of discovery and recognize where you may be feeling rejected. What type of relationships do you feel rejected, I’ll give a brief example. I even felt rejected in my marriage. And I felt like my husband would be friendlier. In the way he spoke to our children versus to me. And with me, I would feel like it’s more businesslike. And that’s just a normal thing that tends to happen when you’ve been married for so long. But I would take so personal and feel like he’s completely rejecting me. And I would play, he doesn’t want me he doesn’t love me, he loves the kids more than me, you know, I mean, I would play all these things in my head. And it took me time to discover that’s what I was saying to myself, a lot of it is unconscious to a lot of it are completely unaware of what’s going on. But we can bring it to the conscious level, and recognize and discover where I’m feeling that in my relationships, or in a job, perhaps, or whatever area of your life, it could even be within your own family, but recognizing and just having this period of discovery, you know, with curiosity, not judging yourself not being rarsh with yourself, not criticizing yourself, and how come I’m doing that I’m the, I mean, in a conversation I recently had with my friend, I was like, I was just being so stupid. But there is truth to that, because it like the relationship I wanted to have with this friend. I was the one that was pulling back because of my own belief system. Right and they’re like what’s going on, and I want to be there for you, but then I’m feeling pulled back. And it created this whole inaccurate story in my head. And then it caused us to have this relationship where we’re not as close as we both desire to be. But having a period of discovery is crucial. And again, with curiosity and not judgment, be kind to yourself, ladies, please. Yes, kind to yourself. And along with the discovery period, recognizing those beliefs, as we touched on the belief system that you have formed. So a lot of times it tends to be a pattern, you know, so if you recognize where you have felt rejected, even in your whole past, you know, your upbringing, different experiences, you might remember to adulthood, where are places you have felt rejected? And start kind of asking yourself, Well, why did I feel that? What was I thinking about? Like, what what do I, how do I feel about myself in those situations, and as you go through, you know, that your days and your weeks and everything, you’re gonna realize that you’re gonna find that belief system that you’ve kind of formed? You know, that plays a huge role in all these different areas of feeling rejected.

Claudine
So it’s so true, Ashley. And that’s what we help our clients with is just really addressing those limiting beliefs, those thoughts that need to be transformed, that are in our minds to make new again, so that we can have lives that we desire.

Ashley
Yeah. And you know, really quick, I’ll share what I noticed, with this discovery period, where my belief was, is that I’m not good enough. And I know most of us can read, you know, that resonates with us, because I feel that in so many areas of our life, I’m not good enough. And we repeat that stuff to ourselves. So I recognize as I was growing up with my parents divorce or different things, I also had a breakup as a teen and different types of situations I went through, I would play that in my head while I’m not good enough, therefore, I’m not worthy to be your girlfriend or your daughter or, and, you know, it wasn’t necessarily true. Some things there might be a truth to it, but it’s not like my dad would ever say, Oh, yeah, I didn’t want you to be my daughter. That was something I formed my head. Yeah, no. And so realizing throughout life and throughout the experiences that you go through, you will find a very common belief that you have formed that you hold on to for your survival. You think when you really discover you’ll notice, gosh, why do I say that to myself? Why am I so harsh yourself? It really is because your brain is trying to keep you safe and comfortable. It does not want to feel that pain of rejection. And so it served its purpose. But let’s work through it. Let’s move forward so you can be who you really want to be.

Claudine
Yeah, those are great, great practicals. I know one that helps for me is feeling the fields. That’s what you always say. Feeling the fields. But don’t fixate. So acknowledge it, because rejection can bring about embarrassment, anger, humiliation, confusion, shame, all these things we’ve talked about. So allow those feelings acknowledge them, like you said, discover what you’re really feeling for me, I spent so many years not even knowing what I felt. So just discovering, oh, I’m angry right now. Or Oh, I’m hurt or I feel humiliated. Those things were really powerful for me to start to be able to feel my feelings and name them. But then don’t fixated on don’t fixate on them. Last week, I was reading an article, it said that emotions actually travel to our body in about eight seconds, I thought, wow, the emotion itself, just the pure emotion, it’s eight seconds. The problem is we keep thinking about the thing that produces the pain or the anger, the hurt of humiliation, and so then we keep re triggering, re triggering and triggering. So feel the feelings, spend those eight seconds or a little bit more. But don’t fixate, don’t keep ruminating on those thoughts that are producing those feelings.

Another one that’s really helpful is feel reborn, feel remorse, over regret. So regret is I should have should have should have should have. You know, and we’ve talked about that before, what happens when we have these should have or all those things, it’s not good. It’s not healthy remorse, on the other hand, is looking at our responsibility to what’s happened, the ability to respond, and what we can control. So for you even sharing your experience with your friend, knowing that you are pushing away, like now you can, you can take responsibility for the fact I pulled back. Like I was not helping in my friendship, because I pulled back you can control that. There are other things we can’t control. But there are things we can control. And lastly, for me, I’ve had to really lean into God’s grace and and really, like I shared earlier knowing that Jesus knows how I feel he’s been there and he did it. And he didn’t retaliate. He didn’t act out in anger, I’m sure he felt pain and hurt and all those things. But he also understood the human condition. And he also understood that it was other people’s response to him. That was the cause not him himself as he was perfect. Right, even though I know I’m not perfect, and so far from it. I know that Jesus understands my pain, and I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me, even when I do do something that causes me to be rejected, because sometimes we do do things. I mean, we can have friends that we’ve just treated unfairly, or unkindly. I mean, I don’t personally like to be friends with people that are mean to me. Yeah. No, like, it’s not my go to boundaries, there’s boundaries, it’s okay. It’s not like go to, you know, Hmm, let’s see, who do I want to call it a the person who is mean to me or the person who builds me up and I think I’m gonna go for, you know, be. What’s behind door number two? But those have been really helpful for me. And, you know, learning to that rejection doesn’t easily respond to reason. Like right now, we’re talking a lot about all these reasonable ways to deal with rejection. But, you know, our brain doesn’t necessarily respond to that quickly because it is a pain like you said, like physical pain, like if you get a cut, it hurts. You don’t just say well, it was just the knife went a little too deep and now I’m bleeding. I mean, you know, you’re still gonna feel the pain right? No, I’m bleeding this hurts like even a little paper cut, it hurts. So you can’t reason it away. But we can use these tools and these practicals to heal and not let it rob us of our identity and our confidence, our self esteem and our peace ultimately, our joy and peace in our hearts.

Ashley
Oh, absolutely. And especially when it comes to rejection, we really have to be careful and protect our hearts. Because if you think about it, we can feel so justified in blaming other people or not forgiving for a situation or you know, what have you feeling resentment, bitterness, we can feel so justified in those for if we feel like we’ve been treated unfairly. But even a lot of times it’s the belief behind it. The belief behind the situation, yeah, that makes us feel these feelings like anger or frustration or pain, or hurt and rejection and all those things. And as I said, even just the small example with my husband, I, he wasn’t rejecting me by just being super friendly for the kids. He just had in his mind, when I come home from work, I want to be extra giving to the kids, like, you know, because he’s tired. He’s coming off a long day. And I had to really pay attention that I’m just creating this whole belief. That’s not true. And yet, so I would feel really hurt and insecure, and you know, all these different things. But I had to stop and realize, do I want to feel this way? No, I don’t want to feel this way. Can I talk with him and share how I’m feeling and work through it and get his side his perspective, because a lot of times, we get stuck in just feeling so rejected. And we withdraw, because we’re stuck in our own perspective. And this conversation I had with this friend last week, I said, I want to get your perspective on our relationship, because this is what I’m feeling. And I want to know where you’re coming from, because I know there is responsibility on my part as well, you know, and where I need to grow. And but a lot of times, all the time it takes we need to process through what we’re feeling. Discover what those beliefs are. So we can be more clear headed and open minded to hearing the other person’s perspective and be able to change things and be humble and being able to recognize, hey, I need to grow in this area. Okay, it’s not a blame thing. It’s just something that happened. But I needed to grow in a certain area as well. Like you said, I need to, you know, I have a what’s your quote? Respond what?

Claudine
Response ability.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. I have an ability to respond to the situation. And that’s my choice, right? I get to control to respond. You have situations like that. And that’s what we want to drive home. And I’m going to say one more thing. That’s really helpful. As Claudine mentioned, it takes time because our brains are so conditioned, with this pain of rejection that we do hold ourselves back, we can self sabotage our relationships, we, you know, there’s so many things that happen because of this intense fear of rejection. But it takes time, allow yourself to just discover, you know, your thoughts, your feelings, sit with your feelings. But also, one thing that’s really helped is I like to call talk down your brain. Because when you’re really discovering these thoughts going on in your belief systems, rather than, you know, criticize yourself and be harsh and feel shame about these beliefs that you formed, be come at it with a perspective like, this is my adult brain now talking to my child brain, hey, it’s okay. This is a different situation. I know, we believed this for a while it’s not true. It does allow the rationale and the logic to come in. Now that you have the fully formed brain. So I like to think I’m kind of having this inner conversation within my brain, you know, my adult self to my child’s self, like it’s okay. Like, you know, you don’t have to think that anymore. And what do you how do you want your relationships to be? Or how do you want your marriage to be? Or what, you know, what do you want, okay, let’s go after it. Let’s, you know, let’s do it, you can do it and start saying, even affirmations to yourself, know, and be able to get through those crazy belief systems that we’ve built to be able to step out of our comfort zone, and go for that life that we really want take that life, you know, in our graphs, and that we really want and rise up and shine and feel good and be who you are made to be.

Claudine
Right. Right. Those are some great points. One of the things you talked about Ashley, which was really good, and really helpful is just that explicit communication, where there were specifics given I think that helps so much to deal with rejection when you’re able to have those conversations that give you the specifics. And I think about the scripture that says speak the truth in love and just think where we’d all be if we put this into practice, like, right, you know, I would love our friendship or, you know, this friendship has run its course or I don’t see marrying. Well, I know my daughter. There was a point many years ago where she started dating a young man that she had liked for a very long time. And he finally asked her to be his girlfriend. And then after seven weeks, she broke up with him. And we’re like, What is going on? She’s like, Why don’t see marrying him. So I don’t want to date him anymore. And it was very interesting. But anyway, she was very clear like it was specific for her like, and she spoke it to him very clearly and specifically I’m not sure how he responded. But anyway, she was young, I think she was still a teen. But it was it was spoken clearly. And specifically, I think even for jobs, a lot of times we get these rejection letters, thank you for your interest, we’ve gone with another candidate, and you’re left like, well, what was missing? Was it my skills, right? And my personality was it…

Ashley
What what did I do wrong?

Claudine
Right? where it could have just been, had nothing to do with that it just could have been like, this person knows, and this person knows whatever else. And that’s what they needed. So just that explicit communication, where it’s specific, and we need to do that, too, if we are trying to build relationships that are healthy, be very explicit. So that is a great example of what you did in your friendship. And I think I’ll leave us with this. I’ll leave us with this scripture in Deuteronomy 31:6. This is to remind us all that, although we may be rejected on this earth, there is someone who will never leave us and it says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified. For the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. That’s powerful. We may face a lot of rejection, but there is one that stands at our side that will never leave us and never forsake us. Until next time, amen.

Ashley
That was great. Claudine. That was great. This is such a great topic because we all experience it. And I think I want to drive home one last point, as we say goodbye to our listeners, that when you experience rejection, it is not a knock on yourself worth, you know, and I mean, you’re any less of a person, it does not mean that you’re unworthy of love, nothing like that. But that’s where we have we do have to fight those thoughts. that’s those are thoughts that come up, you know, that we, like I said, talk down your brain rationalized. No, no, that’s not true. So just remember that we want to send you off with that. So thank you, everybody, for tuning in. Today with us. We hope you take something and can that it really resonates with you and that you’ll be able to rise up and shine over rejection and live life to the fullest. We’ll catch you next time.
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.