Rejection hurts, doesn’t it? It hurts regardless of how you are getting rejected or who is rejecting you. Research confirms that the human brain reacts to rejection the same way it does to physical pain. But rejection doesn’t just feel bad, it often leads to feelings of jealousy, loneliness and anxiety. We often misinterpret the hurt and start doubting our self-worth, leading us to feel even worse.
Even though rejection is painful, it can actually benefit us. It gives us room to grow and helps us in applying the lessons that we learned from the rejections in the future. It also helps in building resilience and appreciating the small but significant wins. But of course, in order to reap the benefits, you have to overcome your fear of rejection. Here’s how you can deal with rejection in the right way:
Acknowledge your emotions
Whether you have been turned down for a job or a long-expected promotion, rejection stings. But trying to reduce the pain by forcing yourself to believe that it’s a ‘no big deal’ will only prolong and worsen your pain. Rather than suppressing, ignoring or denying the pain caused by rejection, acknowledge your sentiments! Admit when you are feeling sad, angry, disappointed or discouraged and allow yourself to process the emotions. To cope with rejection in a healthy manner, it’s essential to face the uncomforting emotions head-on with confidence.
Learn from rejections
Do you find yourself overthinking after every setback? Getting a rejection might feel like you are living a nightmare and you might be tempted to avoid rejections altogether. But instead of telling yourself that you’re not good enough, focus on the brighter side of the rejections. Read your rejection emails or negative reviews and look for constructive criticisms within them. Ask for feedback- “What could I do to improve for next time?'' and “Where am I lacking right now?” Turn rejections into learning experiences, use the feedback that you received to improve your approach. Rather than just tolerating the pain of rejection, ask yourself what you gained from the experience? With each rejection, grow stronger and become better!
Self-criticism is a big NO-NO
Remember, self-criticism is NOT the same thing as self-examination, it will only make you feel worse! There might be days when you question yourself- “What am I doing with my life??” and find yourself amidst the whirlpool of self-doubt, on those days give yourself a break. Whether you got blindsided by a recent firing or performed poorly in a presentation, beating yourself up will only keep you down. After a phase of rejection, take time to let your wounds heal. Treat yourself with compassion and replace the negative self-talk with a more affirming message. Mellow down your inner critic and read books or articles on helpful life mantras to keep yourself mentally strong.
Surround yourself with loved ones
Himani, a graphic designer says- “I remember during my childhood I used to sit with my mother after returning from school and vent about everything that went wrong in school on that particular day. She always used to listen to me with patience and tell me that everything will be okay. Those affirming words used to give me so much peace and solace.” Surrounding yourself with people who have been rooting for you the whole time can make you feel valued and bring back your confidence. Confide in people you feel most comfortable with- be it your mother or your best friend. While simply spending time with your biggest supporters can be enough, opening up to them can be a powerful way to heal your wounds. Venting or simply talking to your close ones will help you in getting back out there and trying again.
Mental well-being is important
Self-care is incredibly important since rejection triggers serious emotional responses. There are numerous ways to avoid or minimize the negative impacts of rejection. Talk to friends, family and co-workers who have experienced the same situation and gain perspective from them. Research says that exercise, walking in fresh air and mindfulness meditation can reduce stress and have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing. It is possible to overcome the pain of rejection on your own, but if the setbacks lead to anxiety, panic attacks or causes distress in your daily life, you should consider reaching out to professional support or a therapist.
Rejection is not the end of the world
Rejection is a pretty universal experience and a natural part of the process at every phase of your life. It’s certainly not the end of the world! Once you realize that every rejection is just a hurdle in the road, you will worry less about it and work more on improving yourself. Experiencing rejections in life will only make you fearless and help you in bouncing right back to the next opportunity. Pain usually fades with time, and the pain caused by rejection is no exception. It might be troubling you right now, but in the long term, it will no longer matter to you. Remember, a rejection doesn’t make a goal unattainable, just keep trying and never give up.