To look or not to look

computer 2I assume that all of us have experienced rejection at some point in life. We were dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Or, even worse, our spouse walked away.

Even if we were one of the fortunate few to meet and marry and stay married to our first love, we’ve certainly experienced rejection from a friend or a family member at some point.

Like it or not, rejection just comes with the territory of being alive.

And if we are completely honest, most of us have ended a relationship/friendship for some reason ourselves. Although ending a relationship isn’t necessarily painless, it is typically more difficult to be on the receiving end of rejection, right?

There is something incredibly difficult about being the one left. Something that compels us to ruminate and try to make sense of what happened to us. And this is okay for a while.

Days. Weeks. Months. Depending on how close our relationship with the other person was (a spouse or a distant friend?), we’ll need time to grieve. We’ll need time to heal so that we can move on whole, healthy, and ready for the relationships the future holds for us.

But when months turn into year(s), we no longer have a healthy, healing situation on our hands.

How do we overcome rejection?

I believe that oftentimes when we can’t move on (whether or not it is apparent to others), one big thing stands between us and our wholeness. And that is that we continue to look.

We know that the healthiest thing for us is to extend forgiveness in our hearts. And we try our best to do this.

But with social media and blogs/websites recounting the moments of people’s lives, it’s tempting to “just look” and see how things are going for this person. Just one little look can’t hurt, right?

WRONG.

This is one of the WORST things you can do. It absolutely impedes the healing process in your heart and mind. The things we set our minds on matter. Because, the things we look at and think about form our affections.

And when we continue to go back and look at this other person and their life, even from afar, our heart will never be able to completely get over them. We will never be able to truly move on (even if we physically have). We will never be set free from the pain of their rejection.

I didn’t date many men before Brance. But I did date a few and all save one of them dumped me. But I can honestly say that none of them are an albatross hanging around my neck. I honestly wish them well in life (yep, 100% true story). But, I think about them rarely, if ever. And I believe that is because I have made the commitment not to look.

I don’t Google them or look for them on social media. I don’t ask friends who may be connected to them what they’re up to.

In fact, a couple of years ago one of my ex-boyfriends tried to connect on social media and I didn’t accept. But it wasn’t for spite. I even contacted a friend to get her advice, because I honestly didn’t harbor ill-feelings for this man. I am just completely convinced that not looking is the best policy.

All of this holds true for rejection from friends/acquaintances, as well. Although, I have had to learn this one the hard way. Brance and I have been thankful for the time that we have spent in Boston the last 5 years. We love this beautiful city and have learned a lot and grown in ways we wouldn’t have if we had never come here. But, as we have worked to start a church, these years haven’t been without some hard knocks relationally.

And it wasn’t until I applied my same no look policy that I’ve used for ex-boyfriends to these situations that I finally was able to heal. And, oh man, does that ever feel good!

This is trickier if the person who has rejected you is family or remains connected to your close circle of friends. But I think this policy of not looking can help in those situations too. You may still be connected to the person through other relationships and at times need to be at the same place, but if you refuse to dwell on them and their rejection or ask for details of their life from your mutual relationships (or even worse, gossip about them!), this will absolutely help you heal.

Okay, ya’ll, I realize this no looking policy may seem a little strange to you. Perhaps, you disagree with me. Or maybe, you’re wanting to give it a try. Regardless, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Let’s talk!

p.s. I should mention that choosing to not look gets easier over time. It can be difficult in the beginning, but it is totally worth the effort!

2 thoughts on “To look or not to look

  1. So true, Lauren. I face some hard and fast rejection after I held a close friend accountable for some poor choices she was making. Even though she said she appreciated me and didn’t think anything less of me, not long after she cut me off. I still had to see her on almost a daily basis, which was hard! Then she moved away (one of her poor decisions) and it was a lot easier to deal with. But we have a mutual friend, the only person she hasn’t cut off, and she keeps me in the loop about the goings on, which is super hard. It’s like a train wreck, it’s terrible and hurtful but you can’t look away. Now this friend that moved away is moving back. It’s just a lot of pain…

    1. Dawn, I am sorry to hear this! Oh man, it’s tough when a formerly close friend just walks away from the friendship. It can feel like a divorce. Or at least that has been my experience. And then to have to continue to hear about that person through a mutual friend can make it that much harder to move on. One thing that helped me A LOT, in a similar situation a couple of years ago, was trying hard to focus on the positive. To not allow myself to dwell on all the “crap” (and there can be a lot!!! For me it really made me feel like something was wrong with me. It made me question my worth). Instead I tried to view the broken relationship as a trial meant to help me grow. Like literally expressing thankfulness for an opportunity to grow in patience, grace, and forgiveness anytime I started feeling weighed down by the situation. Doing this really turned things around for me. It wasn’t easy and it took some time, but it’s definitely been worth the “work”. I’ll keep you and this situation in prayer, especially as your former friend moves back near you!

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