How to Deal with Rejection without Letting It Crush Your Spirit
Being liked feels vital; in fact, we are wired to value social connectedness and approval because, generally speaking, our success depends on it. However, the harsh reality is that we all face rejection – frequently throughout life! Exclusion could be in the form of job loss, losing a client, relationship breakdown, fall out with a friend, or even the rejection of an idea. This article will discuss how to deal with unavoidable rejection throughout life without letting it crush you.
You probably realise already that your perception of things counts for a lot, and when it comes to rejection, it is no different. How we perceive something (irrelevant from the cold hard facts) determines how we feel and react. The neurochemistry in our brains is wired to be sensitive to particular information, which suggests we are at risk. We are more likely to experience false positives; in other words, we are more likely to perceive even neutral events as a source of rejection. This shortcoming doesn’t have to be a fast track into a world of hurt. We can learn to pause and reflect on the facts before we console ourselves with a Netflix marathon and a tub of icecream.
Getting more information is invaluable, helping us to determine if we are actually being shunned or merely reading too much into it. Given our bias towards rejection, we have to learn to pause and actively seek clarification. Clarity may come from simply asking outright. Addressing issues head-on with others is often a way to dispel misunderstandings and resolve differences.
If we have good reason to believe that we have indeed fallen out of favour, then reflecting on this can bring valuable information to light. Perhaps in this space of self-reflection, there is room for increased perspective, personal development and conflict resolution skills. A certain amount of time allocated for honest self-reflection is a powerful opportunity for growth. Do not let your self-reflection go beyond this and turn into wallowing in self-blame or pity.
If opportunities for resolving the situation come to light then, by all means, make a plan and put these into practice. However, frequently, you will find that people do disagree, your ideas disliked, and your company is unwanted. Painful right? I will let you in on a secret; not everyone needs to like you; in fact, they won’t. The only part you have complete control over is how you let this impact you.
Desperately trying to escape this feeling you may end up apologising for what you believe, ignoring what is important to you or worse still channelling this hurt into seeking revenge. The antidote to this? Learn to make space for this feeling of pain. Spend some quiet time with yourself so that you can hear your inner voice, offer up self-compassion, and soften around this discomfort. Learning to tolerate a painful emotion is an incredibly valuable skill. In following these steps, you are developing powerful emotion regulation skills.
Having taken time to accept that everyone will not like you, and this is ok. The next step is to reflect on things that you do well and the many positive and rewarding relationships that you have. Black and white thinking can lead us to imagine that our rejection is universal and that no one likes us. However, rarely is this ever the case. The world is full of different personalities and characteristics. If we were all identical, it would be very dull indeed. Appreciate your differences and align yourself with others that enjoy them too.
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