Many of us including myself have not had an idealist life, ok more than many. In fact I don’t really know what an idea life is, other than the images we see on television or in the movies. Things that make us believe this is what a good life looks like.
Personally, I don’t think I was ever meant to have this type of life. I am at a point in my life where I believe I was meant to have really hard trial put before me. As a means of strengthening me for who knows what is to come. I am someone who will persevere under any circumstance. Don’t get me wrong I have my breaking points and my past is certainly indicative of how I have chosen bad ways in dealing with my breaking points. I am one that can be punched, kicked or hit over the head with a 2X4 and still keep going. This can be both good and bad. When I have my mind-set on something and yet I know it’s not the best thing I still go for it and then just suck it up, when trouble heads my way I keep going taking on whatever may come and telling myself “this is what you get, you deserve this, you may this choice and now you have to live with it.”
Growing up I was never part of an “in crowd”, I wasn’t someone liked by many people. My family was considered white trash and we did not fit in with the rest. I was generally the last one chosen for any particular sport and during recess spent many times alone playing by myself. On top of that my Dad wasn’t interested in me either. So I learned from a very early age that rejection was going to play a key role in my life.
Despite learning and knowing this was what I was in for, it hurt and cut deeply. It has always been worse than having someone take a physical knife and cut me with it.
For the most part I accepted rejection and never fitting in with anyone as a part of my life. I would try little attempts here and there and learn again rather painfully it was better not to try at all. I also learned that showing emotion and crying in front of others only made matters worse, so I kept it all inside in front of others and would come home go in my room or out in the wide open space and I would cry and scream and let it all out. I would begin telling myself that I was a mess, that I didn’t deserve friends and that I was a loser and that what everyone was saying about me was true. There was nothing likeable about me in any form and I deserved what I was getting. I would tell God that he had made a mistake in me and that he should take me out because I was a waste of time. I would stay out where I was crying and screaming and telling myself these things till I was done and then go back inside. No one ever really knew what I was doing outside by myself and now I don’t think even cared.
Late into my 30’s I began talking with other guys and had a few deep conversations where I heard other guys talk about similar situations they had been in or done when they were younger. I was shocked to know that anyone else had ever thought or felt that way. It made me realize that if there were a few other people out there like that I am sure there were more. As I began taking with other guys I got to know and having some pretty personal conversations I found this was more common than I had imagined.
Everyone had faced rejection at certain points in their life. I don’t know that everyone has handled it the way I have, but I do know that it is really difficult. Because of all the continued rejection and difficulties I have faced in my life I try very hard not to reject others, instead I try to go on the other end and be all-inclusive. I know how badly it hurts and wounds others and I really don’t want to make someone feel that way. I attempt to reach out to many guys from all walks of life and engage in conversations with them so they feel like they are heard and what they have to say matters.
I don’t always do the best at this. Even now as I close in on 40, when I reach out to someone, or start building a relationship with them and I don’t get a response or get the sense from them they aren’t interested it hurts. Last year was a rather difficult year for me in relationships, people I had built some serious relationships with made it obvious they were no longer interested in continuing in a friendship. That’s been a hard thing for me to take and really pushed my buttons. Even as a husband and father, it’s a strong reminder of what I experienced growing up and have dealt with all my life. I try and remember this isn’t the way it is with everyone, and you will not always click with others, enjoy the relationships you have and focus on them. Those are the relationships that will enhance you quality of life.
How do you handle rejection? Is it the same way you’ve always handled it?