The thing is, at times we draw our meaning from our role(s) in life and from our associations. What do I mean by our associations? For example, from our immediate family we have ongoing connections. From our extended family we either experience acceptance, exclusion, or sometimes both. Then there are things like our church group, other groups we join, and our longstanding friendships.
We draw meaning from each of these groups when they validate and uplift us. When these groups are important to us, then their opinions of us can uplift us. Perhaps that is why it is so painful when their opinions or actions bring us down or leave us out. It feels as though it completely destroys us.
But here is something that I have discovered. These people can certainly do those things. But our role/purpose/beauty/meaning and more come from God. It is essential to our OWN peace of mind to remember: pain, sorrow, rejection will come our way. But none of it devalues us. No matter who or what attempts to throw you off kilter (purposely or inadvertently), you matter. The world is a brighter place with you in it. To allow past actions to stay stuck to us like a thistle on a pant leg gives far too much importance to their action.
Why should they have the power to change you or dim your outlook? As I consider my own life, I realize that I mustn’t ever give in to the easy inclination to wallow. As I tell my students, that is just plain silly! Here is a tactic. If you are feeling crappy and crushed by someone, schedule some time. Schedule some time each day to feel bad about it.
What do I mean? Specifically set aside 30 minutes each day–at a specific time– to feel bad about the situation. for example, you tell yourself you will feel sad about how suzy-Q treated you from 7:00pm to 7:30pm each day. If the lousy feelings rear their heads at other times, remind yourself that you have a special time to wallow and process, and that it will have to wait until that time of day. If it is past that time, then it has to wait until the next day.
When that time rolls around, go ahead and wallow. But when the time is up, then you must stop. I have found that when I use this method, something interesting happens. I stop wallowing! I begin to move on. Pretty soon a day comes and I forget my wallow time. Then I decide to just set time aside every few days. Before too long, I have moved on.
We cannot let the hurts keep us stuck. Why would we do that when we have a Shepherd at our side who is strong, loving, inspiring, joyous, forgiving, and more? Sometimes we discover in life that someone has rejected us, someone who we never thought would do so. It shocks us. But you see, it hasn’t changed our worth. Here is what I wrestled with. I wondered if I had been mistaken all along about the person. But now I realize, it doesn’t really matter. People are free to accept and love us, or reject us. Neither decision is necessarily permanent. There are people who love us and people who do not love us.
There is no reason to be shocked by that discovery. Those who reject you may be back some day. Those who demean you today may change. Even if they do not, why focus on them? Notice the beauty around you and rejoice that there are folks who do love you.
So yes, it is ok to schedule some wallow time. But schedule some time to skip and dance, work and relax, rest and hug. Life is good. You have value. Don’t worry too much about those who think you are beneath them! Whether you are or are not beneath them, your Shepherd is at your side. He always has your back.