How to Deal with the Feeling of Rejection
A man is walking in a forest deep in his own thoughts as he stumbles upon a diamond on his path, he picks it up, looks at it and because of his ignorance and unfamiliarity throws the diamond back in the forest. Does his action de-value the diamond? Or solidify his ignorance?
Rejection is NOT a reflection of who you are and your greatness.
Although rejection is inevitable, the way we perceive it can make all the difference in our emotional wellbeing and personal growth as a well-balanced person.
I still remember vividly the very first time I was rejected, it was the end of 8th grade, and I was holding in my hand my brand new yearbook. After contemplating and dueling with my thoughts, I finally got the courage to ask this boy that I was mesmerized by for the whole year to write something in my yearbook.
Well, you can guess how that went, he didn’t even look me in the eye, took the pen and hesitantly signed his name, more like a doodle and without a word rolled his eyes and walked away.
I wanted to die.
At some point, we all have experienced the unpleasant, debilitating, and crushing feeling of being rejected, some more than the others.
Rejection knows no boundaries, whether it’s social, romantic or job-related; whether it’s small or big, the aftermath feeling is dreadful, it makes one feel unwanted and unloved, and it opens up an internal dialogue that questions one’s worthiness and decreases self-esteem.
Rejection hurts; literally. When one is rejected the same areas of the brain become activated as when we experience physical pain.
Generally, people with low self-esteem will experience rejection much harder and more painful than those with higher self-esteem. If we feel negative about ourselves, rejection can trigger off several negative feelings, such as humiliation, loneliness, and inadequacy.
People with higher self -esteem tend to be more resilient and have the ability to separate themselves from the situation. A confident person realizes that rejection is simply a part of the risk of living and to grow we all have to take the occasional risk and step outside of our comfort zone.
We can’t avoid rejection, but we can learn steps on how to handle it and lessen the negative aftermath feelings:
• Don’t take rejection personally – Separate yourself from the behavior. Instead, view it as a flaw on the other person’s behalf, and that the rejection is the person’s loss, and not yours (remember the diamond story?)
• See rejection as an opportunity to grow not as a failure – If the fear of rejection and failure paralyzes you from moving forward and taking risks you will never succeed or accomplish any of your goals. Human progress was based on trial and error. Each mistake, rejection or failure is a learning lesson to polish your character and get you a step closer to your desired outcome.
• Feel empowered by rejection – Rejection means that you are living and experiencing life to its fullest. It means you are brave enough to participate in the game of life. Give yourself credit for putting yourself out there willing to take risks.
• Live your life without fear of being judged – No matter what you do or don’t do for that matter, some people judge you, they judge because you are unconventional, they judge because they feel you are better or less than them, they judge because you are different than them; whatever the reason is, it’s their problem, not yours! Live your life the way you want to live. Be happy, better yet be proud of who you are. Step into your greatness without apology.
• Rejection is re-directing you to something better – Most often “when you think you are being rejected from something good you are being re-directed to something even better” – Steve Maraboli. Remember, that we don’t always know what is in our best interest; and we cannot see the situation from all angles. Have faith that the universe has your back and that the best possible scenario will unfold when you are ready to embrace it.
Take a moment to look back at your life; how do you handle rejection? Do you play small and unwilling to step out of your comfort zone? Do you shun away from opportunities to avoid rejection? Or do you face it head-on and see what you can do differently to do better? Do you embrace it and see it as a stepping stone to your greatness?