What is Rejection?
Rejection surfaces in different ways and can be painful and tough to handle for most people.
- You apply for a job alongside a friend and your friend is picked while you’re dropped
- Your boyfriend calls it quits with your relationship
- Your spouse asks for a divorce after a minor argument
- You go to a house to market a product and the lady of the house shuts the door on you
- You write a novel and send the manuscript to publishers to consider and they all return it saying it’s no good
- You pick your phone to cold call and the first person you call bangs the phone on you
- You’re sacked from a job
- Your biological parents give you up for adoption
I can go on and on but that, in essence, is how rejection shows up in our lives and if we don’t handle it carefully, it blossoms into a sore that affects our self-confidence.
Many times in my life, I have suffered rejection but I’ve found a way to move on despite the rejection. What has helped me, most times when I face rejection is looking at the issues surrounding the rejection objectively. If I look at the issues subjectively, I won’t recover from the rejection, so, I take an honest and dispassionate look at the matter. For instance, if a lover called off a relationship, I’d ask myself questions like: ‘Am I at fault? What did I do wrong? Is he justified?’ After this exercise, I would feel better because I would have been able to identify the true cause of the break-up and decide to move on despite it.
Another way I deal with rejection is to tell myself to fail forward, like John C. Maxwell proposes in his book with the same title. I give myself the freedom to make mistakes (after all, I’m human and the number of mistakes I make will be directly proportional to the level of success I attain) and choose to fail forward afterwards.
Yet another way I handle rejection is to tell myself, ‘life is a game which I can’t always win. I’ll win some, I’ll loose some and if the losses come, I’ll take them in my strides’ and move on.
Why You’re Feeling Rejected
Our real problem with coping with rejection is the fact that we allow past experiences to control our response to new events. For instance, because your parents gave you up for adoption when you were born, you begin to assume that everyone else doesn’t love you. If you’re not careful, you’ll feel rejected just because you entered a store and the attendant didn’t greet you. If you ask me, it’s too general an assumption to make and can becloud your vision for the future, as everything another person does will become a problem for you.
Yet another reason you’re feeling rejected is you have based your sense of self-worth on the approval of others. It’s understandable, if you do this as our parents teach us to greet and be nice to others, so, they can also be nice to us. When you’re nice to others and they reject you, you begin to start feeling rejected.
Other Ways to Deal with Rejection
- Don’t Blame Yourself!
If you’re rejected for a job, business or relationship, don’t blame yourself. Don’t start igniting feelings of self-pity and low self-esteem because you may not be the cause of the rejection. Don’t assume you’re inadequate. Put the past behind you and push for greater and better things. Just accept that you won’t land every job you apply or bid for but there’s one out there for you, if you keep pushing to get it.
- Don't Make a Rejection Seem Bigger Than It Is
The fact that you got sacked from your job doesn’t mean you can’t get a better-paying job. The fact that your boyfriend called off your relationship doesn’t mean you won’t meet the man of your dreams. You just have to keep calm and move on with your life.
- Don't Allow Rejection to Rob You of the Joys of Living and Following Your Dreams
In his book titled: “Failing Forward -Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success”, John C. Maxwell says keep moving despite your failure. Don’t allow rejection to rob you of the joys of living. There are many joys ahead but you can’t see them if you continue to wallow in self-pity.
Maxwell continues, “Think about a recent setback you experienced. How did you respond? No matter how difficult your problems were, the key to overcoming them doesn’t lie in changing your circumstances. It’s in changing yourself. That in itself is a process, and it begins with a desire to be teachable. If you’re willing to do that, you’ll be able to handle failure. From this moment on, make a commitment to do whatever it takes to fail forward.”
He maintains we should get a new definition of failure and success, while quoting Nelson Boswel’s “the difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake” and stressing that failure and rejection are an integral part of success (even though we hate them).
- Determine to Learn from Rejection
Make up your mind to learn from every rejection you suffer. If your boss sacked you, look at what transpired between the two of you. Were you not up to the task? Or your boss simply refused to see your worth? Maybe you were an excellent employee but your boss didn't have what it takes to value a wonderful person. Rejection is not always a reflection of you, personally. It may be the ignorance of another person who failed to see your value or worth.
- Build Your Self-Esteem
Build your self-esteem, you owe yourself that. Once you do, you would never doubt your value and being rejected will not alter what you think and feel about yourself. Don't just while away your time, but learn to LIVE. Do the things you enjoy, surround yourself with positive people, help others and live with purpose, while still celebrating your uniqueness.
- Develop the Right Attitude towards Life
Life, like I earlier said, is a game. You win some, you lose some but always have a positive mindset even though things may not always go the way you want them. Knowing that rejection is an unavoidable part of life helps in no small way but anytime you suffer it, dust yourself up and move on. Don’t cry over spilt milk, it’s of no use. Don’t internalize failure or rejection. Anytime it hits you, just say “the job didn’t work out. I didn’t fail” and that will help you move on to bigger projects.
- Take Advantage of Opportunities
Anytime an opportunity to attain new heights surfaces, take advantage of it, even if you have been rejected at a similar opportunity in the past. Don’t allow your past to hold you captive, determine to break new grounds. Who knows, you may succeed this time around?
- Never Ever Give Up
This is actually a bonus tip but I’d like to quickly say you should hang in there when you start taking advantage of opportunities. You’re one step closer to your success. So, don’t quit because quitters never win and winners never quit.Keep pushing, like the guys who wrote ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’. I read that it was rejected by over 140 publishers, yet Mike Litman and Jack Canfield didn’t give up. They kept pushing until they got a publisher and the book became a best-seller.
Summary and Action TakeAway
Rejection, no matter how little, hurts. It’s like a sore for most people. But, our attitude towards them will determine if we will allow our rejection to define us or if we’d learn from them and move onto greater, better and honourable things. A whole new world awaits us, only if we get past our rejection!