“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”
How many times have you faced rejection in your life? How many times have you questioned your self-worth after a rejection? How many times have you blamed others for your rejection? How many times have you been in a corner crying after your rejection? How many times have you thought, what if I have done things differently?
Rejection is painful. This is naturally how humans accomplish things: they try something, it does not go as expected, they try something else, perhaps it is a bit closer to their expected, and they repeat until they reach success. Getting rejected when you find something that seems so perfect can be devastating. There is none who can invalidate the emotional drain that comes with rejection. When you apply for a job, when you are looking for a partner or when you are trying to sell an idea, you are actually opening yourself up, and invite people to accept you. Most of us desire social contact and acceptance from society and when we are not accepted, we freeze, we feel that we are not wanted or valued, we give up, and our entire existence is questioned.
Rejection incites negative feelings and emotions, damages the mood, self-esteem, creating feelings of frustration, shame, sadness or even grief while our youthful optimism is slowly vanished. Additionally, research has also shown that the brain responds to rejection in a way that is similar to the way that it responds to physical pain.
If someone is frequently rejected, he might begin to reject himself as well, believing that he is not good enough for others or that he will never succeed. Though it may be difficult to cope with rejection, there are ways to cope with it.
How can we heal from rejection?
1. Accept rejection
Rejection is a common experience. Most individuals will experience rejection at some point in their lives. You are allowed to be upset about that, and, in fact, it's healthy for you to give yourself some time to process rejection. However, you cannot wallow around in a self-imposed misery for a long time, you need to objectively seek the root causes of rejection. Being in denial can lead to self-blame, negative thoughts and may make it difficult to move forward. You have to face it, accept it, ask some hard questions and use facts to understand what went wrong. In general, if your self-esteem is low you may find rejection to be more painful, and more difficult to accept it and recover from it. Reach out to friends or colleagues and express your feelings verbally. This can help clarify the event and facilitate understanding of why you were rejected. In addition, by being open about what happened and externalizing your feelings, you will develop a strong support system that can help you overcome any negative thoughts of self-worth and will gradually strengthen your resilience.
2. Use rejection as wake-up call
You might have been rejected from a job because you still need to gain some experience or to improve your skills, however, this does not mean that you will never get the job you want. Request for some constructive feedback on why they were not interested and what you could do to improve instead of going off and saying no one will ever hire you. They may not get back to you, or they might find an invalid reason, but if they are honest, they might offer you a valuable insight for your next attempt. Just because one thing did not work out, does not mean you are a failure, or that nothing will work out. Maybe this is a great opportunity to learn new skills and improve the way you do things. Next time ask yourself, "What did I gain from this?" so you can learn from rejection. Rather than simply tolerate the pain, turn it into an opportunity for self-growth.
3. Playing the odds
If you are interested in a job and you do not get it, keep sending resumes. Because if you keep thinking about the number of times you were rejected for jobs, you are going to have a hard time sending out resumes or feeling confident with next interviews. Sending in a couple of hundred resumes shifts the odds in your favor. Keeping the odds in mind makes all the rejections along the way more tolerable. Even if 100 people did not believe in you, there will be one that will see the potential in you. The more you try, the more chances you give yourself of succeeding. Rome was not built in a day.
4. Develop a resilient mindset
Resiliency involves seeing challenges or setbacks with a constructive approach and focusing on the opportunities created when things do not go as planned. Resilient people have a positive and adaptable attitude when things do not go as planned because they understand that success and rejection go hand-in-hand. Whenever a negative thought pops up, remind yourself that it is entirely unproductive. On the other hand, taking action is the best strategy for leaving rejection behind. If you find yourself constantly downplaying your accomplishments and feeling like a failure, create a list of accomplishments. Log all of your accomplishments and contributions, and how you overcame an obstacle in the past. By recognizing your strengths and ability to succeed in the face of challenge, this simple exercise can instantly shift you negative thoughts to positive.
5. Choose your reactions
The way you experience and react to rejection determines your action. Rejections can lead to a person giving up, and another who had the same experiences, to not be bothered to feel bad anymore. We can choose how we react to things. It is not in our power to choose events, however, we can control how we respond to the things we cannot control. Rejections will occur throughout our lives, but it is up to us how we interpret them. We are always in control of our emotions despite any given situation. You have a choice when it comes to rejection, you can either be angry and isolated or choose to rise from the pain and take action.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”