Rejection is a part of life and the ability to deal with rejection is a crucial life skill. Unfortunately, it’s also a skill that many people lack. If you’re someone who struggles to deal with rejection, then you’re not alone. The good news is that there are things you can do to make it easier to deal with the pain of rejection.
We are constantly faced with the risk of rejection, whether it’s in our personal or professional lives. And while it is impossible to avoid rejection altogether, there are certain things we can do to deal with it in a healthier way.
In this article, we will explore 10 tips for dealing with rejection in a healthier way. By following these tips, you will be able to develop a thicker skin, a more positive outlook, and a better strategy for dealing with rejection in the future.
What is Rejection?
Rejection is a feeling we all know too well, we often feel rejected when we’re excluded, not accepted, or approved of.
Rejection is the loss of something we had or wanted. Whether you didn't get the job you wanted, or the person you were interested in didn't feel the same way about you. Whatever the case may be, rejection hurts, it leaves us feeling unwanted and not good enough. And, according to new research, it can also have lasting effects on our mental and physical health.
The Consequences of Rejection
No one likes feeling rejected, but getting shot down is a part of life. We've all been there at some point and we all know, rejection sucks. There's no two ways about it. It can leave you feeling hurt, confused, and down in the dumps. Feeling rejected increases anger, jealousy, anxiety, depression and sadness. Constant rejection will lead to putting up emotional walls around you.
Because rejection is so painful, we naturally want to protect ourselves from future rejection by putting up emotional walls or not sharing vulnerable things. We feel insecure or self-conscious about our problems, our hopes, and dreams. We falsely believe that erecting emotional walls will take the sting out of rejection—as if holding people at a distance will keep us from getting attached or falling in love, or that rejection won’t be as painful if the other person didn’t know us deeply.
We also start to anticipate rejection by thinking that rejection is inevitable, so we quickly reject the other person before they can reject us. We want think this will spare us the pain of losing someone we care about or wanted to get to know better. Rejecting others before they reject us can give us a sense of being in control, having the power position, but that doesn’t make the loss hurt any less.
Prematurely rejecting others and putting up emotional walls does not unfortunately, help us create fulfilling relationships and it does not protect us from the pain of rejection.
The Different Types of Rejection
Social Rejection, sometimes referred to as peer rejection, occurs when an individual is not accepted into a certain society culture or group, deliberately excluded from a social relationship or social interaction. Social rejection often includes things like not being invited to a social event and then seeing your friends or colleagues post about it on social media.
Family rejection is a tough reality for many individuals. Family rejection is a very real and painful experience that many people go through. When someone we love or are close to rejects us, it can be devastating. Often, we take it personally even though it may have nothing to do with us. This can lead to feelings of isolation, shame, and sadness.
It can be hard to understand why someone would reject us, but it is important to remember that it is not about us. We cannot control how someone else feels, but we can control how we react to the situation. You are worthy of love and acceptance, no matter what your family says or does. If you are struggling with family rejection, know that you are not alone. Seek out professional help if you can. There are a number of support groups and resources available online and in your local area.
When we are young children, our parents are the most powerful people in the world, and throughout our life, we like to think of our parents as bastions of strength, so we could never conceive of them being damaged themselves. Yet, damaged is exactly what many parents are, many parents are holding on to deep traumas that have not been resolved. When our parents fail to overcome this trauma, they are unable to love themselves through the darkness then they create walls that can’t be overcome and as a result, they reject their children too.
Love (Romantic) Rejection
The hardest areas to be rejected is romantic love, and the suffering that comes with this type of rejection is generally harder than in most other types of rejection.
Love is one of the deepest needs of humans, being loved is the need to belong and to be accepted, so when you are rejected in romantic love, you fail to satisfy this very important need.
It is quite common for most people to love and desire those who aren’t equally passionate about them. It may seem like being rejected or the fear of being rejected makes us more passionate about what we can’t have, making us suffer even more.
The pain of rejection
A lot of people struggle with the feeling of rejection because it can be so hurtful, a pain that we all feel at some point in our lives.
Researchers have dug deeper into the effect of rejection and discovered surprising evidence that the pain of being excluded is not so different from the pain of physical injury.
In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers found that people who were rejected were more likely to experience physical pain. In the study, participants were asked to talk about a time when they felt rejected. They were then given a mild electric shock, which they could control. The researchers found that those who had been rejected were more likely to give themselves a stronger shock.
These findings suggest that rejection doesn’t just hurt our feelings, it can also cause physical pain. And, unfortunately, the effects of rejection can last long after the initial hurt has faded. So, what can we do to protect ourselves from the pain of rejection?
How to Handle Rejection
It’s important to remember that you are not alone. Everyone has experienced rejection at some point in their lives. The key is to not let it get to you and to continue moving forward.
If you are currently dealing with rejection, here are a few things that you can do to try and ease the pain of rejection:
10 Ways to deal with rejection
1. Acknowledge the pain and grieve
We often feel ashamed or embarrassed when we’re rejected and just want to put it behind us. This results in suppressing our feelings, denying that we’re in pain, sometimes, things like drinking or eating too much to cope.
Do not deny, suppress, or try to numb the pain. Give yourself time to let your feelings exist and be processed. Accepting your feelings, crying, journaling, exercising, therapy, being in nature, extra self-care, meditation can help. You may grieve a rejection for months, the duration and intensity of the grief will depend on what you’ve lost; it could last just an hour, or days or several months but go ahead and grieve, you need to let it out.
2. Tell yourself it will go because it really will
No one likes feeling rejected, but getting shot down is a part of life. We've all been there at some point or another. But just because rejection is painful doesn't mean you should avoid it at all costs. In fact, rejection is a necessary part of life that can teach you a lot about yourself, other people, and what you're looking for in a relationship.
3. Try to examine your role in the rejection, why you got rejected.
Not all rejection is justified, especially parental rejection where innocent children are rejected but in some instances, it pays to acknowledge any contribution you might have made to result in being rejected. Life requires us to forgive so regardless of what you might have done, no one deserves to be rejected but if you think you have a habit that might be causing this, you might need to make the necessary adjustments and fix your relationships.
4. Treat yourself with compassion
It might be hard to do so right now. Do not assume you caused or deserve the rejection. Build resiliency, and remember that everyone experiences rejection. If you catch yourself analyzing your past or yourself, gently draw attention away to something external. Avoid blaming and criticizing yourself. Be your own friend.
5. Put yourself out there and meet new people
New people have new exciting stories to tell, which helps you stay distracted. When you meet new people, you want to put your best foot forward, and this will force you to pick yourself up, talking about yourself and highlighting your positive attributes.
There are many places to meet new people, join a new gym, find a new hobby to meet like minded people or find a social group online.
Meet new people but DON'T start a new relationship before you get over your current hurt. Quickly getting into a new relationship is definitely not a healthy way of dealing with rejection.
6. Talk to a trusted person or consider counseling.
Going through this difficult period alone is too much to bear, avoid ranting your grievances on social media and think of someone you trust. An adult friend, or close relative. Find someone a good listener who can help you sort out what went wrong.
You might also consider counseling or psychotherapy, this is an excellent way to help yourself deal with your emotions.
7. Learn from rejection
Lessons from this might reduce your chances of being rejected in the future. Analyze this experience to see how you can avoid similar situations from repeating themselves. This does not mean you will face rejection once or twice in your life. Rejection may come in different forms at different stages in your life so develop a resilience to overcome rejection and pain.
8. Do not take rejection personally
Rejection says nothing about you as a person. Remember getting rejected is part of life and it is not a personal attack. People can reject a person because they don't know everything about you.
9. List what makes you great
Rejection leads to false beliefs, and belief that you’re inadequate. These false beliefs add to the pain of being rejected and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Remind yourself who you are. Draw a list of what makes you great and surround yourself with people who value you and appreciate your greatness. Write down some things that are positive about yourself — a list of some of your strengths and values, and start your morning each day by reading them out loud to yourself.
10. Strengthen your resiliency
Develop a coping mechanism by allowing the appropriate time to be upset and moving on. The easier and faster to heal from this rejection will also mean that future rejections will not completely put you down.