Rejection stings. No one likes to be rejected. In the age of social media the pain of rejection knows no bounds. I was reading a post on a popular Christian magazine’s Facebook page this morning. We would love to think that only someone who agrees with the magazine would be posting comments on their page, that was hardly the truth. Most of the comments were negative, pot stirrers, people who were running in with a quick cut to the jugular and then disappearing into internet obscurity.
Before social media, there were definitely people who were like this. Mean girls who would reject your offer of friendship and then talk about you behind your back. Today, the negative comments are thrown right in your face. You know every word they say about you.
Before social media, you could plan a party and excitement would roll in as you received the phone calls of those who were RSVPing that they would be in attendance. Now, you not only see the responses of those who have chosen not to attend but also what they chose to do with their time instead. You feel rejected when a person would rather spend time at the beach than with you on your birthday. You feel rejected when you see photos of your group of friends all having lunch together, and you were not invited.
Social media has even given rejection no accountability at all. You can unfriend someone without having to tell them why the friendship is over. A person can kick you out of a facebook group, without ever having to tell you what you did wrong. You can be banned. BANNED. A term once applied to people who were bad news and thus banned from a certain store, restaurant, or event. Now, any regular person can be banned from a group… for no reason at all, for no reason ever given.
And, the worst part about it…. you know that this has happened. When you attempt to view their social media account. Unfriended. When you can’t even find the social media account. Banned. You are left with unanswered questions… what did I do wrong? I thought was being helpful? Did someone misunderstand me? Why didn’t they like me?
It is easy to wallow in those questions, wondering why you have been rejected. It some instances it can hurt as badly as someone rejecting you to your face, in other instances it may hurt worse because you don’t even know why and there is nothing you can do about it.
I learned a long time ago to stop running after those who can’t make time for you, and to focus on those who will. We can too easily get wrapped up in being accepted by a particular person, group of friends, or even social media account… that we can forget about those who have always been by our side, supporting us, who have pursued us.
A new friend reminded me one day when I was lamenting over a rejections… “Gena, those are just not your people.”
So true. Maybe it is the wisdom of age catching up with me, but I realize that I don’t have enough time or energy for those who are “not my people”. And, I am learning to better recognize who truly are my people. Who supports me. Who can I trust. Who allows me to be me vs. changing me to what they want me to be? Who can allow me to grieve how I need to grieve? Who treats me like an adult, a person, and not a project? Who trusts that I am capable person vs. talking down to me like a child?
When you begin to set boundaries, identify who you want to bring into your circle… rejection begins to sting less. I think, in part, because you stop inviting the pests into your sanctuary in the first place… and you are quick to get rid of the ones that slip by.