The pain of rejection

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What you need to know:

  • Sometimes, it is the environment that fosters feelings of rejection, leaving individuals feeling disconnected and undervalued.
  • There is a spiritual dimension to rejection, rooted in our connection to a higher power.

Rejection is a universal human experience that can manifest in various forms and contexts, leaving individuals wrestling with feelings of exclusion, disappointment, and insecurity. Whether it is rejection in romantic relationships, friendships, familial dynamics, or professional settings, the sting of being turned away or dismissed can be profound and deeply impactful.

Each person's journey with rejection is unique, shaped by their background, experiences, and resilience. Caxton Ouma, Yvonne Wanjiru also known as Bomita, and Samuel Ouma open up to MyNetwork, sharing their journeys of grappling with rejection and how they navigated the challenges it presented.

Caxton Ouma is a nutritionist.
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Caxton Ouma, 29

I encountered rejection after meeting a beautiful woman who happened to have had a difficult past relationship. When we met, I was her solace. She would open up to me and I would listen and console her. I found myself drawn to her openness and vulnerability. Our friendship blossomed, and I became her confidant, offering support and understanding.

However, when I finally expressed my romantic feelings to her after a while, she declined, leaving me bewildered and questioning the nature of our connection. In the aftermath, I distanced myself, grappling with the disappointment and confusion. Yet, amid the heartache, I recognised the importance of acceptance and moving forward.

Engaging in outdoor activities and fostering connections with others became essential in regaining perspective and realising that rejection is just part of life. Reflecting on the experience, I acknowledged the need to learn from past mistakes and guard against repeating them.

While it is tempting to shield oneself from vulnerability, it is crucial to assess the stage of the relationship before opening up fully. Men, in particular, often find solace in compartmentalising emotions, but addressing them directly is vital for healing and growth.

Communicating openly, even when it is difficult, helps in navigating rejection and understanding its complexities. Building a strong support system proved invaluable in navigating through the aftermath of rejection. I recognised that not everyone is the same, and I embraced the possibility of finding acceptance and appreciation elsewhere, knowing that resilience and self-care are essential in the journey to healing and self-discovery.

Yvonne Wanjiru Bomita is an online business woman and a student.
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Yvonne Wanjiru, 22
Online business woman and a student

It all happened back in high school in 2020. I had finished Form Four in 2019 and decided to repeat in 2020 to improve my grades. I was determined to excel, so I poured myself into my studies. During this time, I formed a tight-knit group of friends who became like family to me.

We did everything together – eating, studying, and supporting each other through thick and thin. I have always been one to face problems head-on and own up to my mistakes, so when I noticed an issue with one of my friends, I felt it was my duty to address it. Little did I know that pointing out this problem would lead to my isolation.

Instead of appreciating my honesty, my friends turned against me, leaving me feeling completely alone. They refused to talk to me, and I was left to grapple with the harsh reality of losing my closest companions. It was not easy, but I knew I had to come to terms with the situation and move forward.

I decided to form a new group of friends, determined not to dwell on the past. Despite my efforts to rebuild, the pain of the breakup lingered, and I found solace in tears and writing to release the pent-up stress and emotions. From this experience, I learned a valuable lesson – to never fully trust anybody, not even those closest to me.

I realised the importance of setting boundaries and maintaining my own space, guarding myself against the potential for future heartache. So, to anyone facing a similar situation, my advice is simple: Cherish your friendships but remember to prioritise your own well-being. Trust your instincts and never compromise your boundaries for the sake of fitting in. After all, it is better to be alone than to be surrounded by those who do not truly have your best interests at heart.

Samuel Ouma is a communication specialist.
Photo credit: Pool

Samuel Ouma,28
Communication specialist

My family background has affected me so much and made me get rejected in various stages of my life. From as early as seven years old, feelings of exclusion and ridicule shadowed my attempts to join other children in play. As I grew older, the reasons for rejection became more apparent.

My humble background clashed with the materialistic expectations of my peers, perpetuating a cycle of isolation that extended into high school and beyond. Even the few friends I managed to make eventually distanced themselves, unable to cope with my honesty and outspoken nature.

Navigating this landscape of rejection took its toll on my mental well-being. Anger, worthlessness, and eventually depression became constant companions. Yet, amidst the darkness, I found solace and strength in my faith. Through prayer and fasting, I unearthed a peace that defied human understanding, guided by the unwavering support of the Holy Spirit. The road to healing was arduous. My self-esteem lay shattered, and trust became a scarce commodity. But through introspection and faith, I began to rebuild. I learned to love and accept myself, acknowledging that not everyone would extend the same courtesy. Affirming my worth became a daily practice, bolstered by the conviction that God is love.

This journey bore both positive and negative fruits. I gained empathy for other people’s struggles while grappling with a newfound skepticism towards their intentions. Yet, through it all, I refused to turn away those in need, because I knew firsthand the sting of rejection.

Rejection, ironically, became a catalyst for spiritual growth. It taught me a lot about resilience, patience, and the value of hard work. And although scars remain, they serve as reminders of the battles won and the person I have become. To anyone facing rejection's bitter sting, I offer this: Know that you are not alone. Embrace your worth, lean on your faith, and trust that brighter days lie ahead. Rejection may bruise, but it cannot break the spirit fortified by self-love and divine grace.

Nelson Aseri is a psychologist and a relationship expert.
Photo credit: Pool

Nelson Aseri,
Psychologist and a relationship expert

Rejection is often borne from a lack of connection or the denial of it, a sentiment deeply rooted in one's family or environment. Our surroundings, whether they be friends, workplace colleagues, or shared interests, can serve as fertile ground for rejection to take root. Sometimes, it is the environment itself that fosters feelings of rejection, leaving individuals feeling disconnected and undervalued.

Consider those who feel unappreciated within their own families. This sense of rejection can stem from a lack of affirmation or connection. Yet, embracing acceptance with an open mind can be a transformative journey. It is important to recognise that rejection does not define our worth or potential for connection.

Take, for instance, people who are dating. Repeated rejections might easily discourage them, leading them to withdraw from the dating scene altogether. However, it is crucial to approach rejection with openness and introspection.

Instead of viewing each rejection as a personal failure, see it is an opportunity to learn and grow. Stepping out of the shadow of rejection often involves seeking out community. By connecting with others who have faced similar challenges, individuals can find support and guidance to navigate through their rejection.

Therapy can also provide valuable tools for processing emotions and building resilience. Moreover, there is a spiritual dimension to rejection, rooted in our connection to a higher power. Seeking solace in faith or spirituality can offer comfort and guidance during times of rejection, providing a sense of purpose and hope.

For young people navigating the complexities of relationships, patience and mindfulness are essential. Building meaningful connections takes time and effort, and it is important to approach each interaction with care and understanding. By cultivating healthy relationship skills and seeking support when needed, individuals can navigate rejection with resilience and grace.