Monday, May 14, 2012

The Rejection Cycle

      This week, we are going to learn how rejection issues create more rejection.  First, I'd like to share an embarrassing story.  It was a pivotal moment in my life when I realized that I needed a serious change. 

      Fourteen years ago, my husband, Michael and I were still dating.  Since I was new to the area, he and our good friends wanted me to go to a family style restaurant that they really enjoyed.  We ordered two meats, a few sides, and some wonderful buttermilk biscuits.  The waiter brought out big bowls and platters for us to pass around like we do at our family table.  Michael and the friends took a bite of the mashed potatoes, their eyes rolled back in the heads as they enjoyed the flavor, and went on and on about how awesome the potatoes were.  Michael, with his mouth watering and clearly in love with the potatoes said, "Oh my goodness, these are the BEST potatoes ever!" I thought to myself, "How can he say that?  He hasn't tried mine."  I actually felt angry because of what he said but I tried to hide my feelings so I just looked down at my plate.  Then my friends chimed in,  "I know!  These people make the best mashed potatoes than anybody! Nobody can touch them!"  I felt my heart beat faster and no matter how hard I tried to not say what I was thinking, my mouth opened, I snarled my nose,  and out burst my jealous words, "They're not all THAT great!  Mine are way better."  I was so jealous of those stupid white potatoes. And I have never forgotten the looks I received either.  They looked at me with shock and disbelief.   Oh my goodness, I felt so embarrassed that I could lose control like that but I couldn't shake the feeling of jealousy and anger. 

     Why would I react that way?  Why would I say such a thing to my friends? How could I be jealous over a bowl of potatoes?  Did it just happen out of the blue?  No. That reaction had been building up for some time because of the repeated rejection I had felt through the years. In my first post, Did That Really Happen, I shared with you that as a little girl, age 8, I believed that I was not wanted, loved, and in the way.  I felt like I was just a problem that my parents HAD to deal with. I felt a strong sense of rejection.  The reason I reacted so badly in the restaurant is because my self worth and acceptance was based on how well I could do things which is known as performance based acceptance.    I instantly felt like I was being compared which was not the case.  It was just my mind interpreting things incorrectly because of my low self worth.

   Negative behaviors can create more rejection.  How do we define rejection? What is it to reject someone? According to it is;

    §  To refuse to accept, acknowledge, use, believe, etc
                  §  To throw out as useless or worthless; discard
                  §  Something rejected as imperfect, unsatisfactory, or useless
   Oh goodness!  They just described how I felt for years!  I know that you think of times that you have felt rejected.  We have all felt rejection.  Jesus felt rejected through his ministry and on the cross.  It can be very painful and difficult for us to heal from because it attacks our self worth and esteem. 
    Rejection becomes a nasty little cycle that repeats itself over and over and we are left with feeling more hurt and more pain.  Remember that low self worth comes from repeated rejection.  Let’s look at this cycle.  (This is from June Hunt’s, How To Handle Your Emotions) :

Triggers feelings of worthlessness

Brings feelings of self hate

Self Hate
Despise yourself, produces negative behaviors

Negative Behaviors
Reproduces rejection

    In that restaurant, I was feeling worthless and felt that I was being compared to another person.  It was only my imagination.  In my first post, I shared with you how our minds automatically interpret what we hear, see, smell, etc., then we put meaning to it, then an emotion follows.  That's exactly what I did because of my low self worth. Do you see how the cycle fits here?  My mind interpreted that my friends were comparing me to somebody else and that I didn't measured up, then I felt that I wasn't good enough, worthless.  Then the jealousy and ugly behavior manifested.

     Think of other behaviors that bring about more rejection.  Some people are known as the  show off, the liar, the Mr. know it all, the overly sensitive person that gets offended easily or cries easily, the hothead, the overly competitive person, the person who doesn't respect boundaries, got to have it my way person, the person afraid to trust, the party animal, the blame game person, the bragger, the loner, the recluse, the workaholic,  etc.  There are so many negative behaviors, I can't list them all here.  For now, think hard about how you react to situations and if there are any negative behaviors that you need to work on.  Then ask yourself where it is coming from.  What is it in your past that is holding on to your heart? What are your hot buttons, your sensitive areas, or your triggers? There has to be a change if you want the bad feelings and behaviors to stop. They add stress and pressure or even hurt feelings to those who spend time with you. People will begin to avoid the stress, pressure, and hurt feelings thus causing you more hurt and pain because they are also avoiding you or reacting to you. You will feel rejected and it cycles until you make it stop. Let me tell you, the behavior will manifest itself when you least expect it.  No matter how hard you try to control it, it will present itself and there will be no taking it back.  Once it's out there, it's just there and you aren't the only one who is affected.  It's time to make changes and break the cycle.  Are you ready?

   My next post will give tools to help make the changes you desire.  If you feel that someone you know could benefit from these posts, please share this blog with them.  Until next week, I leave you with these scripture refrences for encouragement.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them."  ~Ephesians 2:10~

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."  ~2nd Corinthians 5:17~

Friday, May 4, 2012

God's Image or Yours?


     We are continuing our look at low self worth this week. If you are a new reader, you will benefit a lot from this post but I encourage you to read the last post titled,  What's Behind Your Mask  to identify even more negative behaviors and hidden issues. Just click on the blue title to go directly to the page.  Did you answer the questions to see if you have any hidden low self worth in my last blog?  It’s surprising, isn’t it?  Oh but wait, we have more questions.  I know, I know, and you thought we were done.   Below are some questions from the author, June Hunt, that I believe will be helpful.  Some of the questions have been revised.  Don’t answer according to how you know you should be or wished you could be but instead, answer truthfully and honestly.  Nobody’s listening to your thoughts or your heart but you and God.  

     Inner Insecurities
Ø  I am self-critical and have feelings of self-loathing
Ø  I am fearful of failure and avoid risk-taking
Ø  I am overly affected by the opinions of others and strive to meet their standards
Ø  I am undeserving of and yet desperate for the approval of others
Ø  I am unhappy with my appearance and achievements
Ø  I am negligent of my appearance
Ø  I am unable to set appropriated boundaries
Ø  I am ashamed of my background which causes me to struggle with depression
Ø  I am controlled by a victim mentality
Ø  I am inferior and feel incompetent when compared to others

Relational Roadblocks
Ø  I am overly critical and distrustful of others 
Ø  I am demanding and unforgiving of others
Ø  I am defensive when confronted
Ø  I am argumentative and resistant to authority
Ø  I am undeserving of /or unable to accept compliments
Ø  I am afraid to get close to people and establish intimacy
Ø  I am a peace-at-all-costs people pleaser
Ø  I am reluctant to express my true feelings
Ø  I am hesitant to accept responsibility for my wrongs
Ø  I am often afraid to defend myself
      Did you answer yes to any of these?  If so, then you have rejection and low self worth issues.  Even if you hear yourself saying, “I’m just a little like that,” the problem is still there.  How would you react to a fly, roach, or hair in your food?  They are small problems but I’m sure you would do what it takes to correct the situation, wouldn’t you?  So then, I encourage you to approach this the same way.  Even if you feel that you do one or some of these on a small scale, it needs to be handled so a positive change can occur. Be very honest with yourself. 
      For most of my life, I sought after the approval of others and discovered that I was a really big people pleaser.  I didn’t know that it was from low self worth.  I had a fly in my food and didn’t see him there.   I thought that I was just a giving, compassionate person, and that I loved to help others.  The reality of it all was that I needed that pat on the back and to hear, “Good job” so that I would feel needed, wanted, validated, and that I mattered.  Another problem I had is I was overly sensitive and would get my feelings hurt easily and would get angry at the person who hurt me.  I hated feeling that way, especially being so sensitive, argumentative, and defensive. Why couldn’t I just feel settled in my own skin?  Not only did it steal peace from my heart, I was seeing the negative affects it had in my relationships with others.  God didn’t create me to be this way and something had to change.  It’s so hard to listen to people excuse their behaviors by saying, “Well, I can’t help it, that’s just the way I am.”  What about this one, “I’m a red head, I can’t help it,” or “I’m Italian, that’s just the way we are.”  Or to hear, “Don’t get mad at me, God made me this way!”  No He didn’t. Don’t buy into this lie and accept it.  If you do, you can’t change it because you are training your mind to accept it and therefore, will not feel the need for change.  Think about this, He created us in His image.  So does your image line up with God’s image? 

Genesis  5:1 ~ This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.

     What is the likeness, image of God?  God is a just and loving God.  The Bible tells us that God is Love.  First Corinthians Chapter 13 is known as the love chapter and I like to use it as self inventory to see if I am living my life as a loving person which helps me to single out any negative behaviors that need attention.  What is love?  According to verses 4-8, Love is patient, kind, doesn’t’ boast and is not proud, doesn’t dishonor others, is not selfish, not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

   I always share a tool with you so that you can begin to make the changes you desire. This week’s tool is geared toward helping you investigate your thinking and to compare your behaviors to the Word of God.  Make a note where you fall short and prepare your heart to be open for change by acknowledging that there is a problem, a fly in your food.  Maybe you have a lot of flies or some flies are bigger than others.  Don’t accept any negative behaviors as being normal and the way you were made but understand that life’s challenges, circumstances, and your environment have sculpted you into the image you are today.  Any negative input has stolen any parts of God’s image from you and taken your peace of mind and your heart with it.  Strive to learn about who He is, His attributes and take back what was stolen.  Reclaim what God created in you before your first breath was taken after you entered this world!  Accept nothing less than how He truly created you and then, only then, will you begin to experience more peace and settle in your heart your acceptance and worth.  Whose image do you desire most, God's image or yours?

   Next week, we will look at rejection and how it can become a cycle of more rejection.  Low self worth and rejection work together against us.  In the next few blogs, we will continue to learn  how to recognize  signs that we have  self worth issues and feelings of rejection to deal with and gain control over them through acknowledgement then healing can occur.  I leave you this week with this scripture about peace in our hearts:

Colossians 3:15  ~ Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.