I was not surprised when he walked into my office. "Typical case", I thought to myself. At five feet, we were almost the same height as I sat on my high chair. Bad case of acne, ears that stand out, buck-toothed. I smiled and extended my hand.
An hour later he was gone as I pondered over the cruelty of high school students towards those that did not fit the profile of "Prince charming". I had just finished writing the summary of our counseling session when there was another knock on the door. I looked up into one of the most angelic faces I have ever seen. She slowly pushed the door shut with the back part of her foot as her milky eyes nervously scanned the room. It was the first time she was coming to see me. "Not a typical case" I mused. I smiled and extended my hand. She ignored my hand and I motioned to her to sit down.
She was clearly one of the most attractive girls in the school. After she left, I pulled out another box of tissue paper from my drawer and put it on the table, throwing away the empty one. I did not think it was possible for so much liquid to be stored up in the tear ducts of any human being. I had seen five students that morning, and this was the fifth time I was summarizing the session as "Suffering rejection."
Frank D Hammond, in his widely read book "Overcoming Rejection," suggests that rejection results from the denial of love. When one is loved, he is approved and accepted; when one is rejected he is disapproved and refused. The hurts of rejection are synonymous with refusal, denial, turn-down, rebuff, repellence, cold shoulder, slighting, shunning, spurning, ignoring, neglecting, avoiding and disapproving."
Human beings suffer rejection the most during childhood and adolescence. We have all grown up as part of a community, and the most loving and protective parents could never have shielded us from suffering rejection from our various communities. This community may be immediate relatives, play school, kindergarten, grade school, high school, university, working environment and ultimately in a marriage relationship. It seems like most insecure people have a need to "beat down" somebody else in order for them to rise up in their own estimation.
The two cases cited above, go to prove that "Cinderella" will suffer rejection right in the same dining hall as "the hunch back of Notre Dame". So long as spite, envy, jealousy, hatred and sheer self-centeredness continue to be human traits, then rejection is here to stay. Show me one person who has never had any of these undesirable human traits portrayed against them at any one time, and I will show you one person who is out of touch with what is going on around them. Those among the human race who have received the most love and acceptance in infancy and early childhood, are the ones most able to withstand the ugly onslaught of this unsympathetic world.
Rejection almost always comes with pain and a loss of self worth, and a natural response to pain is to recoil. This is a mechanism for self-preservation. As a result, people who have suffered severe rejection build emotional walls to protect themselves. Who can they trust? Will they be hurt again by those who have causes them to suffer? Often in order to protect themselves, they begin to suspect the intentions of others, and a distrust of their motives. As this paranoia grows, they eventually convince themselves that everybody is plotting against them and anything you tell them gets a sharp retort.
Because we will be rejected at one time or other, we need to build positive "shock-absorbers". We need to accept and love ourselves first before seeking the acceptance and love of others. Each one of us needs a healthy portion of self-worth. We need to develop our talents and our hobbies. Seek to do what we enjoy doing. Then we need to take a good look in the mirror and determine to love the person we see. Accept the things that cannot be changed like height and facial features. People notice when we do not like ourselves - and join that club! Be your best cheerleader!
God has created us all as unique individuals. Let us celebrate our individuality. However the greatest acceptance that any human being can ever experience is the acceptance that we receive from God. In the Book of Psalms 139, God tells us that we are beautifully and wonderfully made. The new Testament further tells us that God loved us so much that he gave His Son to die for us! What a wondeful message!
Nellie Odhuno Shani is a Counselor, Conference speaker and writer. Her first books are available on amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles and on her author's websites.
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