A painful experience which we’d all preferably choose to forget. Do you remember the last time you were rejected?
Was it by your friends or co-workers who may not have invited you to drinks after work?
Or was it possibly your partner or spouse who left you for someone else?
Could it have been your boss who overlooked you for that promotion?
Or, did an investor not believe in your dream?
Let’s face it – rejection hurts, and it happens to all of us.
Throughout our lives, we all face rejection. It starts from childhood through to adulthood. Albeit not a pleasant experience as it brings about negative feelings such as self-doubt, unworthiness, and not being good enough. It leads to internal conflict as we start questioning who we are and our abilities.
If the rejection is not handled correctly, it could increase anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Studies have shown that rejection is both the cause and consequence of depression, which leads to suicidal tendencies. Rejection situations can cause people to dislike themselves, give up, gain weight from emotional eating, or develop any other emotional disorder.
On the other hand, fearing rejection holds us back from taking risks, reaching our goals, or even being open to new relationships. In some instances, people become workaholics to prove their worth, while others entertain people by overstepping unhealthy boundaries to gain acceptance of love and friendship.
According to Darryll Stinson, rejection should not be feared but seen as your friend and not your enemy. He has a fascinating view of how we should perceive rejection and leverage our moments of pain to be the most significant catalyst to our success and proof of our value and uniqueness.
- The first way to view rejection is as a psychological projection.
This is when someone unconsciously projects unwanted feelings or emotions onto someone else rather than admitting or dealing with it. When someone feels inadequate, has low self-esteem, or has anger issues, they project these emotions onto others rather than managing them. If you can see that the rejection you face has more to do with someone else’s inner turmoil and not your value, your life will change.
- The second way to view rejection is as protection.
Rejection offers you protection from something or someone that is no longer a part of your life. When being rejected by a partner, spouse, job, promotion, or friends, you can view the rejection as a protection from those people or circumstances that would have caused more self-doubt. Protecting you from a future that would not have been the best for you. Perhaps, there are far better career opportunities or suitable partners for you out there. Rather than internalizing rejection as you are less valuable, see it as self-growth and making the right decisions for a better future.
Here are some guidelines to assist you in coping with rejection:
- Acknowledge the situation & your feelings:
No matter the situation, face it head-on. With rejection comes other unwanted emotions like embarrassment, anger, resentment, or awkwardness. Acknowledge all your feelings and confront them. The pain will linger for a while. Give yourself enough time to deal with all the emotions but don’t dwell too long on the event.
- Remind yourself of your worth and practice self-love and positive affirmations
Rejection can hurt your self-worth and might leave you feeling unworthy or “not good enough.” Write down attributes and qualities you know and love about yourself. Include things like where you add value to other people’s lives. Read these lists out loud to yourself, and add new ideas as it comes to you. Also, take time for yourself and keep yourself busy doing things you enjoy like jogging, journaling, or reading.
- Keep things in perspective and be kind to yourself
Try not to over-analyze the situation or imagine the worst-case scenario. Example: You did not get the promotion. Does it mean you will be without a job? No! Overthinking and adding to the problem will only make it worse. We tend to beat ourselves up over the things that might have led to rejection, but this will only worsen the situation. Be kind and allow forgiving thoughts to run through your mind.
- Reject negative self-talk
We tend to criticize ourselves after experiencing rejection:
- “I wasn’t prepared enough,”
- “I don’t deserve the promotion,”
- “I talk too much,”
- “I am just too boring to be around.”
This type of negative self-talk enforces the belief that you were the cause of the rejection when it had nothing to do with you. If you believe that you are not good enough, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, use positive affirmations and self-compassion as you would with a friend or partner.
- Observe the lesson and face your fear
With each rejection, there is an opportunity for self-discovery and growth. By reframing the rejection and fears, you allow yourself to grow and improve. Remind yourself that things don’t always work out and that through this experience, you have gained a lot of knowledge, which has enabled you to cope with rejection better in the future. Look for the lesson, and reframe it as projection or protection.
If you need assistance in processing rejection, anger, resentment, or any other negative emotions, please feel free to contact me.
Debbie Hartmann, Life, Relationship and Teen Coach @ My Kinda Life Coaching.