How To Deal With Rejection And Overcome The Fear Of Rejection
Rejection is as common as a cold. Everyone has experienced it. If you have not, well, you are one lucky individual, and I need the details of how you achieved that. But if you are like most other individuals, like me, then you have experienced or will continue to face some form of rejection.
Rejection is unpleasant, and if I can be frank, it’s downright painful. Nobody wants to experience being rejected because it is the opposite of what we genuinely desire, which is acceptance and belonging. Our need for acceptance and belonging was inbred into us for survival throughout our evolution as humans. We are created to have social relationships and interactions, so when we are excluded and dismissed, it affects us more than we realize.
How To Deal With Rejection: The Aftermath of Being Rejected
Rejection comes in many forms. We may experience rejection from a potential relationship partner, job, college, or family member. Rejection attacks our self-worth and self-confidence. It causes us to call into question our abilities and qualifications, prompting us to ask ourselves questions such as why not me? Or what is it that I do not possess to make them not accept me? If we are not careful, we will begin to pick ourselves apart to find the root cause of the rejection.
Being Rejected can take a toll on our mental, emotional, and physical health. The social pain that we feel from being rejected is equivalent to physical pain. Not only do we experience physical pain, but rejection can affect our hearts. Heartache is a side effect of that, but it can dramatically decrease our heart rates when we are excluded from activities and social groups. Emotionally, we develop a fear of rejection, so in an attempt to prevent it, we alter our behaviors and personalities. For example, we become people-pleasers, passive-aggressive, and present an inauthentic version of ourselves. Mentally, we develop disorders such as depression, social anxiety, and borderline personality disorder when we experience ongoing or long-term rejection. It takes a toll on our self-esteem by making us feel inadequate and inferior.
My Plight With Rejection
One of the most crushing rejections I have ever experienced occurred when I did not get accepted into graduate school. See, I had my life after college all mapped out. After graduating from undergrad, I planned to attend graduate school to obtain my MA in Counseling. There was one school’s graduate program that I longed to attend for several years. I placed all my hopes into this one program. So, you can imagine my excitement when I searched through the mail one afternoon and found a letter from the school. I ripped the envelope open with excitement as if the envelope held gold on the inside. And just as quickly as that, my excitement turned to sadness.
After reading my rejection letter, I immediately felt crushed, sad, and hurt. Since I did not get accepted into the school, I strongly desired to attend; I felt lost. I asked myself, “What do I do now?” The rejection shattered my dreams, it ripped my plans into pieces and I had to figure out what to do next. Naturally, I am an overthinker and I tend to self-analyze probably more than the average person. So, in the meantime, I took an in-depth look at myself. I searched as hungrily for reasons to explain why I didn’t get accepted as a dog searches for a bone. After driving myself into a frenzy, I never found a real, legitimate reason. I conjured up many possible ideas as to why, but they all just took a jab at my abilities, inadequacies, and self-esteem.
When I would experience rejection from a romantic relationship, I questioned my body type, appearance, attitude, personality, and standards. I convinced myself that the answer laid somewhere in those attributes I mentioned. I became determined to figure out the problem. I believed that if I found the answer, then I could somehow modify my persona or behavior and prevent rejection from occurring again. I tried to control and lower my chances of being rejected.
I tried to control something that was out of my control and in all honesty that frightened me. I had a strong desire to know why I was not accepted when I experienced rejection. I never received the answers I thought I needed to know. I had to learn to stop my search for answers to my burning questions and accept the fact that I would never receive them. As I am a little bit older now, I decided to end my quest to find answers and began to chase after the goal of finding peace and accepting the outcome of rejection.
Overcoming The Fear Of Rejection:
The next question we must answer is: how to deal with rejection and prevent it from taking a toll on us? By now, we know experiencing rejection is inevitable, so we must practice healthy ways to deal with rejection when it occurs, such as:
- Understanding that the feelings and emotions we experience after rejection are valid.
- We must practice self-compassion with ourselves, which involves expressing kindness and understanding to ourselves after rejection.
- We are not allowing rejection to define us as a person. We cannot allow rejection to label us as unworthy, unfit, or inadequate.
- Most importantly, we can learn from the rejection. We can learn a great lesson if we become students and allow the experience to teach. We can see it as an opportunity and use that opportunity to grow and become better.
On this journey of life as we continue to grow and learn, we will encounter rejection, but the essential factor is how we respond to the rejection. I hope that we all react to and deal with rejection differently when we reencounter it in life by utilizing the tools I mentioned above. I desire for us to change our perspective of rejection and ourselves after we experience it. We will no longer allow rejection to halt us, but we will allow it to propel us forward into greatness.
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