I regret circumstances that injured me. The pain of a past betrayal and rejection nearly did me in.
Someone once said I was broken, but that's not true. I was was shattered, but I still carried on.
One of those home remodeling shows featured a mirrored wall that had to be removed. To do that, they put a film of adhesive over the mirror and then broke the mirror to remove it. Like that mirror, I was broken but still in one piece.
That I could still rise every day and go about the business of living was miraculous. Truly. It was the hand of God and the love of my husband and children that kept me engaged in life. It was little bits of encouragement that prodded me on.
Still, I looked back. I looked at the past and dwelled on the pain. But I've learned that if you spend time looking back, you don't make much progress going forward--and I really wanted to move forward. I wish I could say within months I'd moved on. But that would be untrue.
It took me years to shake off the feelings of shame and loss. Years before I could admit to others what had happened. Years before I could shake the feeling of being not good enough for others.
Friend, I don't want it to take that long for you to move forward.
Through that experience I've learned six ways to recover from rejection:
- Cling to your faith. When you find yourself in a world with a shifted reality it's comforting to know that God never changes. He loves you and wants the best for you.
- Trust that God will see you through it. In the immediate months following my betrayal, upon waking a song of praise or a scripture verse would begin to play through my mind. What a blessing! That gift from God allowed me to crawl out of bed and begin my day.
- Don't allow the situation to define you. Realize that the hurtful behavior that broke your heart says more about your betrayer than yourself.
- Live in the present. Spend time with loved ones and good friends. They are the people who count, and they don't see you as someone unworthy or unlovable. They are the mirrors that reflect our true selves.
- Walk bravely toward the future. Keep moving forward. Choose to believe that happiness and purpose will be a part of your life. You still have a future. You still have goals. You still have dreams. Claim your future, and work toward your goals, and your dreams.
- Forgive. Yup. That's a hard one. Forgiveness means giving up the desire to clear your reputation. It means you stop wanting something from the one who hurt you (something you'll never get anyway). It frees you from having that person living in your head.
You may wonder why I put forgiveness at the bottom of the list. It's not because it's least important. It's because forgiveness takes time. Yes, you should forgive. You can say you forgive. You can want to forgive. But it takes time for your emotions to catch up with your desire. Forgiveness needs to marinate. At least it did for me. You have to give your heart time to heal, and with healing comes the ability to separate yourself from the hurt.
I have called myself a prisoner of hope for many years now. I never explained that designation, but it was because I deliberately chose hope in my darkest days. If you're suffering from a betrayal or a rejection, may I make a suggestion? Choose a new name for yourself, even if you keep it private. That small shift in thinking will help. One day after another will pass, and eventually you'll realize that you're not emotionally tied to the pain of your past. You'll be an overcomer!