Those were the words I heard my seven-year-old son tell me someone had told him – after his older brother came into my room last night to let me know his little bro was sad and crying because of this.
It took me a good five minutes or so of asking him what was wrong and trying to let him know it was alright to talk about stuff like that, to get him to finally say that someone at school had in fact told him, ‘I don’t like you.’
Poor kid. I could tell he was struggling with it and it immediately made me think of how difficult in can be to deal with rejection or negative words said about you. That’s never a fun thing.
I asked him what led to this happening and he said when he went up to the kid to play with him at recess, that’s when the words were said. Turns out it had happened a couple of weeks ago but it was still bothering him. He’s a sensitive little fella, kinda like his Dad. Poor kid indeed…and knowing how I’d be dealing with it, I asked him if he was trying to figure out how to make the other kid like him. He said he was.
So I gave him the best fatherly advice I could think of (which probably wasn’t much, but I tried.) I told him, ‘Buddy…I’m sorry they said that to you. And you wanna know something? Unfortunately at different times and in different ways, people are going to tell you that throughout your life. But here’s the thing. Whenever someone tells you they don’t like you or puts you down like that – it’s because they wish they could be like you. It’s because they see something in you they don’t have. You’re a good kid and there’s no reason I could think of why anyone wouldn’t like you. So you forgive them for making you feel bad and hurting you, because that’s what Jesus did and it’s what God does for all of us whenever we mess things up. And you just keep smiling and keep being nice to them even if they’re not nice to you in return. God likes you and your family and the people who know you best like you, so don’t worry about making everyone like you because the truth is, not everyone will. But that’s ok. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them but more importantly, there’s nothing wrong with you.’
By the time I’d finished rambling he was pretty sleepy, so I tucked him in and he went to sleep. Hopefully he felt at least a little better.
The only reason I’m posting this here is in case someone else out there might be struggling with rejection or the sting of harsh words that might have been said to you, either recently or perhaps a long time ago. It’s going to happen sometimes, it’s part of life. Just remember you are loved, you are wonderfully made, and you are perfectly likable – no matter what anyone who doesn’t think so or doesn’t stop long enough to realize might say 🙂
Have a great day, friends.