Rejection 8 – No Self Worth

The word “inferiority” goes along with the subject of rejection. That’s because a person who suffers rejection has had their sense of self-worth damaged.

When someone who should love you fails to do so, or when someone preys upon your life in some way, using or abusing you to their own pleasure, then your intrinsic personal value has been demeaned. You have been “put down”, devalued and treated as worth less than others.

Loss of Value

We each have incredible value, as people made in the image of God. As descendents of Adam we are “children of God”. Therefore we should be treated as those who deserve respect, love, care, and so on. When we are not treated as having that value we suffer a loss of value.

Our feelings of “loss of value” start by being devalued by others. Being devalued is an abuse of who we are.

When a parent neglects a child, or someone uses another person for their own selfish ends, or our qualities are ignored or discounted, the statement is made that the true value of the person is not there. This can have deep and profound impact on our “soul”, our inner being.

Low Self Esteem

Once we have experienced rejection or loss of value in the eyes of others, we then devalue ourselves in our own eyes. We can even come to despise who we are.

If others, especially our parents or superiors, fail to find the value in us that we believe is there, then we could conclude that we are not really of the value that we hope. We lose confidence in ourselves and our own hopes and perceptions. We discount our value and worth, in comparison to others.

Picturing Loss of Value

I have used price-tags as a simple way to express how people who have been rejected tend to give themselves a very low value compared to others. They see other people as being rich in talent, personality and intrinsic worth. At the same time they see themselves as of inferior value.

Even if the rejected person acts confident and assertive, suggesting their own value and merit among others, they are most likely feeling unsure of their real value. They are very likely afraid of their own lack of value and hoping to bluff people anyway.

A person with low self esteem tends to have unrealistic perceptions of the achievements, abilities and value of other people, especially those who seem confident and successful or who are acclaimed and admired by others. This is because they elevate the value of others in comparison to their own loss of value.

Low Expectations

One lovely young lady I assisted years ago really related to my picture of low self worth. She told me that she had once applied for a job for which several dozen other ladies applied. She went through the application and interview process, but had no real expectation of getting the job.

When the employer phoned her to advise that she had won the job she immediately advised them that they must have rung the wrong person. They assured her that she was their choice, but she took some convincing. She could not believe that she could have been the best choice out of so many applicants.

These low expectations often lead people to withdraw from the race and give up various areas of endeavour. Competitive situations only remind them of their failings, and even if they are encouraged by others that they could excel or win in a situation, a rejected person will likely pull out of the race, due to their low expectations of victory.

Inferiority

The term ‘inferiority’ means ‘of lower value’. An inferior product is of lower intrinsic value than a superior product.

These feelings of low self worth and loss of value are feelings of inferiority.

Now, as mentioned earlier, feeling inferior deep on the inside does not mean that people throw in the towel. There are those who press on to be great achievers, yet who carry deep feelings of inferiority. The point here is not that the person projects or lives by those feelings of low self worth, but that they carry them, even secretly, deep in their soul.

Think Soberly

The answer to these feelings of low self worth is to be healed by the love of God. Some people try to heal themselves and others who struggle with low self worth, by pumping up their self-image. Such a course tends to pride and self-delusion.

The Bible warns us not to think more highly of ourselves than we should. We are told to “think soberly”, not with delusional self-aggrandizement. So beware how you try to remedy this low self worth problem.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

We are not warned against holding too low a value of ourselves. God does not condemn us or warn us about low self-esteem. God does caution against pride, haughtiness of spirit and thinking too highly of our self.

Humility Head Start

If you are struggling with low self worth you at least have this to your advantage, you are likely to be more humble than some. As God heals you and affirms your intrinsic value to Him, don’t let pride displace your acknowledgement of others.

We are to prefer others ahead of ourself, so keep a humble heart toward others, and be willing to bless them with priorities ahead of yourself. You have a head start on humility, so don’t waste it.

Rejection 6 – Heart Wound

While the picture of rejection used in the last article summarises the process of rejection, this lesson looks at the most poignant element of the impact of rejection.

When people cut off the love supply we go through the process of rejection. What that does on the inside of us is create a deep, internal wound that we may carry for the rest of our life.

Knife in the Heart

I use the rather dramatic imagery of a knife in the heart to describe what it feels like at times when we are rejected. The person offending or rejecting us might be horrified if they understood the pain, impact and dimension of what they have done to us.

Many parents, spouses, friends and people try to dismiss what they have done and to excuse their outburst, neglect, selfish behaviour, and so on. But for the one who feels rejected the action can prove to be devastating in its significance.

We have seen in previous lessons that the main area where rejection impacts us seems to be our emotions. So the knife in the heart imagery makes a pretty good generalisation to represent how rejection affects us.

Broken Heart

We use the expression “brokenhearted” to describe the internal feeling we have when we are let down, jilted or hurt by others. So an image of a heart broken in two might work just as well.

The Bible uses the term “broken in heart”, so that gives further legitimacy of the idea of hour heart being the place where the injury takes place.

“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

However, I like the idea of a knife in the heart, because it suggests an attacker. Even if the person who caused the hurt is ignorant of their impact, the victim can usually identify the one who they feel has hurt them. When we come to the stage of resolving rejection you will find that the process of ‘forgiveness’ is very important. So having a sense for the offender, or the one who wounded us, in mind, will lead easily into that process.

Reference to a “broken heart” does not maintain consciousness of an offender in the same way a knife in the heart does.

Hurts

Another terminology for the inner wound which we experience in rejection is “hurt”. We speak of carrying hurts. These hurts are bruises on our heart.

While the knife imagery invokes the more severe impact of rejection we also carry many bruises, hurts and inner pains that are not such intense wounds.

Many people carry some level of pain, even if they call it disappointment, hurt feelings, soreness, or whatever. Hurt is a good term to use for that large collection of inner injuries which impact us to varying degrees, even if not serious enough to be called ‘wounds’.

The Mind

I should point out that the imagery of a wounded heart does not rule out the wider impact of rejection. Our mind gets involved in the rejection issue, so I want to take a moment to acknowledge that too. While our focus may be with hurt feelings, inner wounds, deep personal pain and other emotional effects, we may not realise how much our mind is impacted by the rejection experience.

Troubled thoughts, agony of mind, struggle to find reasons, rationalisation, intense self-interrogation, and other mental mind-traps can tangle a person in distraction.

Most people who are carrying deep inner hurts are mentally distracted. Some find it impossible to concentrate or even think clearly.

The focus on a wounded heart should not displace our awareness of the intense mental pain that many people go through. The mind is part of our soul and it needs to be restored, just as our feelings do.

Pain Vocabulary

The feelings which people grapple with when they have been rejected can be wide ranging. We have already mentioned hurt and pain. Along with them there are such things as being disheartened or discouraged. People can lose heart and give up on themselves, others, relationships, studies, career, and even life itself.

Feelings of inferiority are a powerful element of rejection. The notion comes to the victim that if they are worthy of being abused, rejected or neglected by the people who should love them, then maybe they are simply of no real value.

Feelings of fear, especially the fear of further rejection, can enslave people’s hearts and minds. Distrust of others and uncertainty about emotions, relationships and their own expectations from life can easily spring up in a rejected life.

Trauma

We will look in future posts at some of the responses which tend to spring up in the fertile soil of a wounded heart. All of those various feelings tend to be underpinned by the overriding experience of personal trauma and pain.

When I am working with people to lead them into freedom I like to find, if possible, the moment when the knife pierced their heart. That moment of personal trauma can be a key to unlocking the pain that has engulfed them.

Delayed Impact

While looking for the moment of trauma I came to realise that there can often be a delayed impact in a person’s life.

I have encountered many families where all the children were abused in one way or another, and yet each person responded differently. They each had a personal journey of abuse, despite their shared experiences.

The idea of ‘delayed impact’ is summarised by the scenario where a father keeps putting off time with his child. Imagine a child going to his dad to show him something. The father brushes off the child with something like, “I’m busy at the moment. Show me later.” Then, later, the dad is on the phone, reading the paper, about to make an important call, not wanting to be disturbed, thinking about something important or the like.

Each time the child goes to his dad the child is in reality being rejected. But the child trusts the father and accepts his excuses, not feeing the pain of rejection. But then, on one momentous occasion, after being rejected yet again, the penny drops for the child. They suddenly feel the impact of rejection and realise that their dad is never going to have time for them.

In a family this delayed impact can hit each child at a different age or stage of life for each one. They may all be rejected but some feel the impact far more deeply. Some children can even be so robust emotionally that they never realise how rejected they have been, while their sibling has been devastated by the same treatment all the children received.

Handle on the Knife

If you can remember the day that the knife struck your heart you will find it fairly easy to grab the handle of the knife and remove it from your life. Rejection can be healed in either case, but I like to encourage you that if you can relate to the knife in the heart imagery you are on track for wonderful freedom.

God is able to give you a new heart. He binds up the broken in heart. He restores your soul. He even makes your soul prosper (3John 2). So don’t be afraid of what you have gone through or the pain that has destroyed you. Your day of deliverance is at hand, because Jesus has done all that needs to be done for you.

Rejection 3 Heart Cry

The cry of the human heart is to be loved. And that sets people up for deep rejection experiences. And, as we saw in Rejection 2, this is somewhat out of our control, because we were designed as love receptors.

Above everything else that people seek, they want to be loved. And this yearning for love not only motivates us, but it brings people into some of their deepest pains.

Hidden Longing

People are unlikely to tell you that they are desperate to feel loved. It’s one of those things that people don’t talk about, especially in Western culture. So this deep heart cry to be loved functions as a hidden longing in the human heart.

People mask this longing by investing themselves in activity, success and a myriad other things. And, of course, people can find great meaning and value in things other than relationships. However, the hidden longing for loving care, affection, value to others and the like is still present in people’s lives.

Heart Crying

Not only is our desire to be loved our heart cry, our experience of not being loved makes our heart cry. Loneliness, hurt, fear, shame, heartache, pain, desperation, self-rejection, and many similar terms relate to the cry of the crying heart.

Now, people usually hide their pain, so you won’t often see this heart cry on someone’s face. Most people pull themselves together, put on their ‘stiff upper lip’ and soldier on. They may do so in hope that things will get better, or simply not wanting to add shame to their hurt feelings. However they come to it, most people cry on the inside, but keep up appearances on the outside.

Universal Pain

I expect that everyone has had moments of inner sadness and pain. A life without disappointment is hard to conceive. We all have hope for good things, and when those good things don’t materialise we have to work through a reality check, and then keep going.

So pain is a universal experience. Moments of crying on the inside are commonly understood. How we react to it and deal with it can be varied, but the initial pain is part of the human experience.

My Tears

I don’t know where my feelings of rejection and inferiority came from. I have asked God to show me and to date He has never made it clear to me. But I do know of times when I felt pain in my later years.

I can recall wetting my pillow with burning tears that ran down my cheeks late at night. I can recall the quivering lips as I tried to suppress inner hurts and disappointments. I can recall the intense feelings of insecurity, feelings of intimidation around people who made me feel inferior, and feelings of fear of being mocked or shown up in some way.

I can recall the burning heat of a face bright red with shame. I remember the burning eyes, streaming tears and glowing cheeks which I experienced too often.

I’m sure I am not unique.

Love is Powerful

That is why love is so powerful. Everyone wants to be loved. While you may not ‘love’ others in any emotional sense, you can at least care about them.

If you notice someone, talk with someone, listen to someone, show care to someone, meet someone’s needs, give consideration to someone, speak up for someone, take time for someone, you will have powerful impact in their life. That’s because everyone really wants to be loved.

If you are keen to build a bridge toward someone, then choose to make them special. Show them affection, care, compassion, consideration, respect, attentiveness, value, or the like and they will register that, unless they are totally closed to you or the world.

Important People

Someone once pointed out to me that the last thing I should ever casually talk about with a celebrity is what makes them famous. A person’s fame is usually the curse of their life. What they want to find is someone who values them as a person, not as a performer.

The same is true for people who are attractive. Many attractive women are annoyed by the amount of attention people pay to them. They learn to distrust the motives of people who look at them, smile at them and want to interact with them.

When you take an interest in the person for who they are, not for what they mean to you, you are giving them a very special gift. So always be ready to talk about the inane, or to find out what is important to that person. A star may be very relieved to talk with someone about their first dog, or the food they hate, or something equally as distant from their stardom.

The Power of Compassion

While you are still thinking about dealing with your own pain and need, take time out to show compassion to others. Remember, they have a heart cry to be loved.

Learn how to make others feel special. Learn how to listen to them and engage them in things that THEY value. Give them your time and your listening ear. Engage with their stories and their personal journey. Most people are blessed to have that kind of royal treatment, and some people are desperate for it.

Things are so bad today that people pay money to a therapist to simply listen to them and show some kind of understanding. Now that says something about how desperate the heart cry has become in Western society. Even family and neighbours are failing to show the care and concern that was once part of normal life. People are paying others to at least resemble what care and compassion look like.

Can you see a ministry opportunity in all that? I can. And I release you to go and do it!

Rejection 1 and Inner Healing

About forty years ago God began a work of healing my heart. That work completely revolutionised my life and became the platform for so much of who I am and how I bless others.

So it is my delight to share something of what the Lord taught me through that process. I have already explained the Steps to Release which outline the journey which God led me through. Those steps became the template for my personal and ministry capacity to gain freedom. What I present in this Rejection series is the more personal journey of my own deliverance from rejection.

My Journey

I discovered that I was a victim of feelings of inferiority and rejection which devastated my personal, social and spiritual life. God graciously opened my eyes to His Word and to the work He wanted to do in me.

Once I had experienced personal freedom I was keen to help others find freedom too. Many of those that came to me for help were also victims of rejection, inferiority, insecurity and related issues. Helping them come to freedom expanded my understanding and enabled me to see the more complete picture of what could be called a ‘rejection syndrome‘.

As I escorted people through the journey to their freedom I began drawing stick figures to illustrate what I suspected they might have been encountering. Those simple drawings were scrawled out over and over again and people would often point at the page and say, “That’s Me!”

When I met cartoonist Rig Bell, in the early 1980’s, he offered to create images that were better than my clumsy stick figures. He took my sketches and came back with the pictures which you will see in this series.

Setting Things in Order

Obviously there is a great deal I could teach about Rejection, Inner Healing, Deliverance and the like. Years of experience and so many different testimonies have given me a broad concept of some of these issues. However, my concern is to simplify things and set them in order, so that anyone could grasp them and apply the truth to their life.

The simple presentation which I will break open to you in this series is not the final word, nor all that could be elaborated on. It is simply my attempt to make the subject clear and practical.

My Inferiority

I have vivid memories of my desperate feelings of embarrassment, insecurity, blushing, self-consciousness and inferiority. I could tell you stories about how I lived with the intense sense that people were watching me and that I must be self-aware at all times. I was afraid to look people in the eye. I would blush and go red like a beetroot, blinking at 90 miles per hour, with tears streaming down my face.

I could not tell my teacher I needed to go to the bathroom (toilet), so I invented belly-aches so she would suggest I go to the toilet. I developed the habit of checking my watch as I walked, to create an air of having something important to do. Yet I would look at my watch about every four paces, out of sheer torment at the thought of people watching me.

It was pretty weird, but it was ‘normal’ to me. I didn’t know any different. I just had to live with that and I also had to develop my compensating strategies.

An Extrovert

Despite my intense inner feelings of inferiority I had a strong desire to be up front and in the limelight. That created great tension, which I dealt with by sheer bluff and determination.

I created several coping strategies, such as out-staring people, forcing myself into the limelight and throwing myself into things, and making more of my strengths than was reasonable, to compensate for my limitations.

My compensation strategies worked very well. I became a class-room hero. I championed the debating team. I excelled in lead roles in the school musicals. I represented my school and district in national public speaking competitions. I was the best joke teller in the school.

Still Broken

But for all my extrovert performance I was still broken on the inside. I needed God’s love and His grace to deliver me from things too powerful for me. I needed His wisdom and the truth of His Word to break the chains of my slavery.

And all my efforts to set myself free only became another layer of problem which I had to undo in the process of walking into freedom. I later discovered that the defeatist, extrovert and rebel can all be variations of hurting people. Despite the life pattern which is chosen as the survival or coping mechanism, these people are still hurting on the inside, because they are still broken on the inside.

Rejection Series

So, welcome to this Rejection Series. There will be more than two dozen articles and as many pictures, which will unfold the drama of my own journey and the truth of God’s gracious deliverance available to all.

If you suffer from rejection, inferiority, self-pity, extroversion or rebellion, or if you have a heart to help others, you will find this series an effective tutorial on how to lead people into self-awareness, truth that sets them free, and ultimately, to God’s deliverance. If you are searching chrisfieldblog.com for these posts you will find them labelled first as ‘Rejection’, then numbered in order. Enjoy.