02/01/2013 08:21 am ET Updated Apr 03, 2013

Can Rejection Be Your Protection? Yes!

Here's a question from a reader about rejection.

Dear Maddisen:
Have you heard the phrase: Rejection is God's protection? I just overheard this in a conversation while I was getting a coffee. I don't get it but I can't get it out of my head. Have you heard this? Do you get it? Thanks, BA

Dear BA,
Thanks for your question. Yes, I'm familiar with the expression, "rejection is God's protection", and I'm happy to share my definition and how I've seen this concept working in my life and in my clients' lives.

Let's face it, for most of us, whether we get rejected in love, friendship, in work, or wherever, rejection feels awful.

Rejection tends to turn us inward in a negative way -- causing us to feel unworthy, flawed, not good enough, unlovable, frustrated, confused, angry, sad, etc. -- which can get us painfully bogged down in paralyzing self criticism.

But if we believe, as I do, that all experiences in life directly support our learning, growth and upliftment -- then rejection must also be a path for our learning, growth and upliftment.

So, if you experience rejection, the first question to ask before spiraling down into the dark abyss of confusion, self criticism and suffering is: How is this rejection protecting me? Further, how is this rejection serving my wellbeing and happiness? How is this rejection helping me to learn, grow and become happier in my life going forward?

The Reward of Rejection
Here's a story that exemplifies this perfectly. I worked with a female client who was dating a guy she liked very much. She still wanted time to get to know him more, but was sensing the potential for a deep and long-term relationship. Early in their dating, they both agreed to cancel their online dating subscriptions and to be exclusive -- so that they could focus on getting to know each other built on a solid foundation of loyalty, honesty and trust.

Several months into dating, she found out through a mutual friend that he was back online on the dating site, but hadn't told her. She confronted him, he openly admitted he was back online looking, confessed he wasn't sure he was ready to commit, and asked for some time apart to get clarity on what he really wanted.

My client deduced that essentially he was breaking up with her, and she felt rejected and sad. And as we worked together, I could see that she was starting to spiral down into questions of why and why her, and down, down, down into that suffering and muddy place of feeling unworthy, unlovable, flawed, self critical, etc.

At that point, I asked her how this perceived rejection might actually be a way that her higher self was protecting her. At first, she shared how his actions were dishonest and disloyal. I asked how his actions might be a mirror to inform how she was treating herself, and how she might be being dishonest and disloyal to herself in that relationship. And then, I could see the light go on in her teary eyes. The truth she realized was this: she was not really certain about him either, or happy with some of his core qualities and values, but continued to date him anyway because of the pleasant companionship and qualities she did enjoy about him. So in essence, she realized she was settling, and not being honest with herself about what she was truly and fully wanting but not getting, and was therefore not being loyal to herself by staying in a relationship that truly was not satisfying or aligning with her deepest values and desires. By the end of the session, she clearly understood how his rejection was truly her higher self's way of informing and protecting her, and saw that this fellow was not her match.

This is not to say that she did not feel some sadness and loneliness after this loss of her former companion. She did feel sad, and really missed his company for a while. But with my coaching support and her keen awareness and desire to grow into more fulfillment and happiness, she knew it was healthy to feel these emotions, accept them, and trust that the dynamic and positive nature of her life and goals would move her forward into something even better next time. It became real for her that she was more aware, wiser and feeling a deeper sense of contentment as a result of this experience, which was disguised as rejection -- because she was being honest with herself and loyal to her core values and heartfelt desires. Perhaps she needed the experience to build a more solid foundation of loyalty, honesty and trust within herself.

Ask yourself -- How Is Rejection Protecting Me?
From this day forward, if you experience rejection, the first question to ask before spiraling down into the dark abyss of confusion, self criticism, and suffering is: How is this rejection protecting me? Further, how is this rejection mirroring and informing how I might be rejecting myself and my needs? How is this rejection serving my wellbeing and happiness? How is this rejection helping me to learn, grow, and become happier in my life going forward?

And so, BA and all my readers, this should give you a much better understanding of the phrase: Rejection is God's protection. I understand that not everyone may align with the word "God". Don't get hung up on that. It's the concept that is most important here. Or use whatever is your most accurate equivalent of God. For example, "higher power," "spirit," "source energy," "the universe," etc. Or, if you prefer, simply use the phrase: Rejection is my protection.

"Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the 'Beloved.' Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence." -- Henri Nouwen

There's nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself. -- James Lee Burke

I don't want anyone who doesn't want me. -- Oprah Winfrey

I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection. -- Billy Joel

From the heart,
your Life Coach Maddisen

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Copyright 2013 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.