Rejection is one of the main causes of depression and social anxiety. Understanding why this is true may help you combat and even overcome some of your depression and social anxieties.
Rejection causes a series of emotional and spiritual issues that need to be addressed. God did not create us to be antisocial. The need for human companionship, love, acceptance, and even touch is intrinsic to our natures. Rejection, however, can subjugate those needs creating even larger and more serious issues.
A predominant theme throughout the Bible is the need people have for other people. From loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44), to sharing burdens (Galatians 6:2), on to praying for each other (James 5:16), and then back around to the emphatic statement God made in Genesis 2:18 regarding Adam, “It is not good that the man should be alone,” we were never intended to live beyond human relationships.
Feeling rejected from one of our most basic needs can have a devastating impact on the way we think, the way we see life, and the way we deal with life. Cain, feeling as if God had rejected him, became so warped in his thinking that he committed murder and then, after being banished for that act, declared, “My punishment is greater than I can bear!”
The hardest thing to overcome in a person’s life is the emotional impact of feeling rejected. Teenagers will go to extra-ordinary lengths to be accepted–sometimes by any group, good or bad. Adults are constantly seeking a niche where they can be accepted and useful. Children who are accepted are significantly more emotionally stable than those who are not.
But those who feel rejected from family and/or social circles develop a fear of rejection which makes it harder and harder to be accepted. The end result of such a case is often depression and anxiety. It is a vicious circle.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO COMBAT DEPRESSION?
The best way to fight depression is preventative. And that begins with acceptance, and acceptance nearly always begins with being accepting of others. If you want to have friends, be friendly. There are enough people out there looking for acceptance that if you would simply accept them, you will, in turn, be accepted.
Part of the problem is when we want to be accepted by a particular person or group that has rejected us. You can’t force someone to accept you. But you can be accepting of others. We miss out on a lot of life when we can only see one or two areas of our life. There are many more people out there to get to know.
Next, don’t hibernate. I believe God meant for our earthly happiness to be found within our God-ordained relationships. Fearing rejection means you are in perpetual rejection. You can’t be accepted if you are never in a position to be accepted. Get out and do things with people. Involve yourself in their lives. Find ways to contribute to the wholesomeness of other people’s lives. When you are focused solely on yourself, you miss out on so much joy!
Lastly, find acceptance with God. Knowing that God loves you will see you through many a dark valley in life. One of Jesus’ promises that, when put to the test, never fails is one made to Peter. Peter, trying to feel accepted by Jesus made this statement in Mark 10:28, “Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.” What an amazing statement. Yet, it is one that is only made by a person who is still seeking some measure of acceptance or feeling somewhat depressed or anxious.
Jesus responded with an incredible statement that has been proved true over and over again: “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
For me, the key phrase is “now in this time.” You can be accepted here, in this life, on this planet. In my pursuit of God and Jesus Christ, I have found a richness and depth of acceptance that has brought me tremendous confidence and joy! Depression is rare for me, but then I have a very, very large group of people that accepts me.
WHY CAN’T PEOPLE JUST ACCEPT ME FOR THE WAY I AM?
Without delving too deeply into this subject, let me explain in short why that statement is absurd. First, it demands everyone else bend to your inflexibility. Secondly, it becomes a condition of your own acceptance of others. Thirdly, it implies a complete disregard for personal improvement. Fourthly, it precludes you from ever allowing yourself to change for the sake of another. And lastly, it isolates you to a miniscule world where everything else must revolve around the way you are–a tiny world indeed.
With that being said, there are aspects of who you are that are just who you are. You can’t change many of your likes and dislikes or some personality traits. However, there are many areas we can improve on. This doesn’t mean you should change just to be accepted. Teenagers do this, joining gangs and changing to fit the culture. You change because it is right to do, and when you are seen to be growing and changing for the better, you will automatically attract people into your circle of life who are going in the same direction as you.
I stand firm on my beliefs, not on me. I need to improve. And I can change for the better. I don’t demand, ever, that someone accept me for who I am, but I do seek people who are willing to accept what I believe and where I’m going. How can two walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3)? If two people are going in the same direction, it is natural to walk together.
One lady, whose bluntness had cost her many of her relationships, told me once, “This is just the way I am.” I shrugged and replied, “Then change the way you are.” Until she can learn to accept that others struggle with her bluntness, how can she expect others to accept her? It would be different if she said, “I’m working on it. I’m trying. Could you help me?” Ah, that is much easier to accept! Her willingness to change for the better is something I can believe in! It is something easy to accept!
When you become more accepting of others, you are accepted. When you feel accepted, you will not fall into depression as often or have as many social anxieties.
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