How to deal with rejection

Have you ever walked up to somebody you were interested in, started talking and within minutes the person walks away? Have you ever applied for a job and you were turned down? Have your friends ever cancelled on hanging out with you?

There are many ways in which you can get rejected. Sometimes it doesn’t bother you very much. And sometimes it does. Sometimes it might feels like there are raining rejections. Sometimes it’s just one rejection in the middle of approvals.

When you think about the last time you were rejected. Do you remember how you felt? Hurt, angry, disappointed, like a failure or maybe even challenged, encouraged or fearless?

How you feel about rejections is actually a part of your very personal response.

If you fear rejection it might prevent you from your personal development and from going after the life you want.

Are you afraid of being embarrassed when you are turned down? Are you afraid of hearing that you are not good enough? Are you afraid of feeling worse after you were rejected? Of feeling discouraged and unworthy?

Believe it or not. Everybody struggles with those feelings. But if you follow your fear of rejection, your life and your personal development will come to a halt. Pretty much everything you encounter bears a risk of rejection. Just going to the bar to order a drink might lead to a rejection. What if the barkeeper doesn’t like your jacket and therefore doesn’t pay attention to you when you try to order, what if you ask a person what time it is and they just shout at you „Fuck off“. Any conversation, any situation involving others might lead to a rejection.

Rejection is the exclusion from a group, an interaction, information, communication or emotional intimacy. The psychological term of rejection is Social Rejection.

Does it hurt? – Of course it does.
Should it hurt? – That’s up to you.

Researchers found out that it’s not only natural to experience severe mental agony as a result of rejection, but it’s also as “real” as physical pain. When we feel rejected we feel like we don’t belong.

Roy Baumeister, Professor of Psychology at Florida State University says that that belongingness is such a fundamental human motivation that we feel severe consequences of not belonging. In 1943 Maslow already established the idea that the need of belonging and love follow the basic needs, for safety and physiology, immediately.

But how do you deal with your fear of rejections? And how do you recover if you actually were rejected?

To answer these questions, first of all let’s look at the different traits of people that have problems dealing with rejection and people that feel comfortable with rejections.

Which “rejection type” are you?

See which of the following applies to you:

Difficulties with rejection

  • you believe that rejection will lead to a lot of embarrassment and pain
  • you feel like you’ve been rejected many times and you can’t take anymore
  • every rejection or setback makes you feely unworthy
  • you feel like rejections only happen to you and that they are special
  • you feel like everybody in the world has to like you
  • in the moment of rejection you think it’s the worst thing that ever happened to you and you’ll never be able to handle it
  • you think if you blow it ones, there is no other chance
  • after several rejections you feel hopeless and you give up
  • you generalize rejections. For example you are rejected by 5 consultancies when applying for a job. You generalize it in „all consultancies don’t want to hire me“. And in a defense reaction you say „I don’t want to be a consultant anyway“.

OK with rejection

  • you feel a little down when you are rejected. But you are not totally crushed by it. You know life will go on.
    you have had some success in your life before. When you are rejected you can hold on to the successes and appreciate them.
  • you know from previous rejections that you can handle it
  • you know there are enough options for anything. You act out of abundance. If you are rejected by one you might be approved by another.

Easy on rejection

  • you know most rejections are not personal. It might be your missing internship for a job application, it might be a recent breakup when you try to hit on somebody, it might just be a bad mood
  • you know rejection is as much part of life and as natural as approval
  • you know rejection is part of the whole
  • you know if you did everything you could to avoid rejections you would die of boredom
  • you think that rejection might even be positiv because it wouldn’t have been a good match anyways
  • you think every „no“ brings you closer to a „yes“
  • you see rejection as an opportunity to learn from your possible mistakes

How do you deal with your fear of rejections?

The best way to deal with your fear is to face it. Do whatever you are scared of and find out that you can handle any situation. You can find more info about this here.

When you face your fear and you put yourself out there you’ll probably get rejected even more. Make it a game. Try to get rejected as many times as possible. Tell us about your experience in the comments to help each other see that rejections are natural.

When you collect rejections you have to have a healthy, beneficial response to it. Otherwise those rejections will just make you feel worth.

Develop a positive attitude to deal with rejection; for your personal development.

So how do you develop a positive attitude towards rejections?

Focus on those issues a person „easy on rejection“ focuses on. And prepare yourself. Believe me, your attitude will change once you anticipate your reaction before hand. Expect that there are different outcomes for every situation. Maybe it is in your favor. Maybe not.

Have you ever been rejected and at first you thought it was the worst thing that could happen to you, only to notice that a few days later it turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. When I was younger and one of my former boyfriends broke up with me I thought it was the worst. Not knowing what to do I decided to got to Mexico for a few months and had the best time. It turned out the break up couldn’t have been better. Do you have similar experiences?

Ask yourself: how bad can a rejection be?

Often we imagine things to be a lot worse than they actually turn out to be. So don’t panic. You’ll only know once you tried it.

As the bestselling author H. Jackson Brown said „Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.“

And if you are rejected:

How do you recover from rejections?

If you are rejected here are some strategies to deal with it:

#1 Take your time to feel down about it.

A few hours, maybe even a few days. Don’t try to suppress your anger, frustration, embarrassment or whatever it is that you feel when you were rejected. Accept the feeling. Talk about it with your friends. Don’t make the mistake of pretending you are totally fine with the rejection. If it bothers you, it bothers you. Make sure to not dwell about it for the rest of your life though. Get over it.

#2 Do something normal

When you deal with a rejection try to do something that excites you, that you have fun doing. Remind yourself that there are plenty of good things in your life that are just fine. Be thankful for those little things. You can find a great exercise to strengthen your thankfulness here.
Be aware of what you think about being rejected

Do you blame it all on yourself? Do you blame it all on other people? Pay attention to how you reason your reaction. Do you make it worse than it is? Imagine what you would think if your friend told you about the exact same situation. how would you judge it then? Is there a difference?

#3 Put it in perspective

Was the rejection really that life changing? Does it really have the impact you thought it might have. If you got rejected when hitting on a girl, is she really the only girl out there?

#4 Always have some options

It is a lot easier to handle the rejection if you have a plan B. If all your focus and energy and everything you have depends on one single decision, it puts a lot of pressure on you and makes it a lot harder to deal with the reaction. This is something that often happens with Start-ups. An entrepreneur might has been working on his idea for 3 years. It’s all he did. And once he’s ready to get out there he keeps pushing it to the future. He is to scared to let the world know about it, because the possibility is there that his idea will be rejected. In this particular case it would have been better to test it early. But that’s another story.

When you read about habits of successful people, having options is often mentioned.

#5 Make it a game and credit yourself for trying

Don’t take rejections too seriously. Make it a game for yourself. Imagine you are in a maze and you want to get out. Maybe one approach leads to a dead end (rejection), maybe the next one too. And the next one. But eventually you’ll find out a way to get further out.

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