Rejection: What it does to us and how to handle it.

5 months ago AuthorJasonOrtiz 0

Let’s be completely honest with ourselves. When it comes to rejection, this is one of the most unavoidable aspect of being human. I don’t think there has ever been a successful person in business, friendship, or any intimate relationship without facing rejection at some point in life.

We all feel it at some point and t is not something we desire. Rejection can make us feel alone, feel unwanted, even feeling completely outcasted. As much as the rejection itself can put a serious dampening on our spirits, it is more important in how you react to the rejection than the rejection itself and its not even remotely close. It is so important to know how to deal with rejection.

Before I continue, please feel free to share these podcasts with others because someone out there is struggling with the very situations you read about, listen to or once experience yourself.

I want to talk about some of the thing’s rejection can and has done to us when we dealt with it in the more conventional ways and then I want to talk about the best ways to handle it.

It’s an undisputed fact that what we tell ourselves about the experience of rejection is the leading way in which it is going to affect us. The mean, harsh, cruel ways in which we put ourselves down, those self-defeating words, the self-doubts, wondering if we are good enough, wondering if we really can get our business running, if we can get the dream job or even if we will find the true, loyal love of our lives and this can and will take a toll on you mentally, emotionally and physically.

As humans, we tend to believe we are (and I am not debating it), the smartest beings on the planet, the most clever, the ones that can figure it out and yet, we rely on small minded things like social groups in our journey of survival. We have somehow evolved into beings with the need of acceptance as some survival mechanism and with total access to continuous connectivity with others, even though it’s over a technological device, this access has grown our need for acceptance. When we can constantly check how many people “like” or “love” our published content on social media platforms, the addictive nature of wanting acceptance can take over in some unhealthy ways, leading our abilities to deal with rejection much harder than it once was. This modern convenience has people living alone but seeking rejection digitally. This way to live is not necessarily a happy way to live and thanks to millions of years of natural selection, being rejected still sucks, more so now in a society less prepared to handle it. This is why tackling rejection and understanding is more important now that it once was.

There are a series of studies that validated that the pain that comes from being rejected can rival that of physical pain. Yes, rejection activates the same regions of the brain involved in physical pain.

Rejection has been studied in many ways, and to save you a podcast of boring references, I’ll bring one example that was studied under a fMRI scanner. The researchers of the study used someone who was rejected and excluded from a sport. This was of course compared to others that did not feel rejection and only those that were rejected started to show increased activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate and the anterior insula. Now why is that important, well because those are two areas in which increased activity is a response to physical pain. After a series of different rejected activities, it led the researchers with the conclusion that a broken heart is in the same realm of pain, if not more than a broken arm or leg.

Interpersonal rejections can be some of the consequential events in people’s lives. Being rejected in a friendship, estrangement from relatives or intimate relationship setting as well as an ostracism by a group can cause a series of emotional, physical, psychological and interpersonal consequences. Human behavior is heavily influenced by hurt and rejected and this can completely alter in the worst way how people interact with others moving forward.

So how is it that we should deal with rejection? Let me get into that…

One thing that is very important is the manner in which we see things. People with fixed mindsets, the ones stuck on their beliefs and thought processes, despite the information that exists that should open one’s mind, these people tend to blame themselves and their personalities for the break up. These are folks that have been cheated on and think they did something wrong to have their partner cheat on them. When this type of person faces rejection, they look at future possible relationships or business opportunities or whatever they were rejected in as a less than hopeful idea.

But the simple shift from mindsets, to a growth mindset, allows one to see their personalities as something that can grow, be developed and worked on. They see the rejection as an opportunity to make improvements, to see hope in future relationships and that they understand life is more flexible that having a fixed mindset and they have a much shorter time recovering from rejection.

Now, taking time to grow after being rejected doesn’t mean the complete reason for rejection is your fault but instead of beating yourself up over it, you need to think about the situation as a learning experience. Someone who doesn’t want you doesn’t mean no one wants you.

Here’s an example of why rejection will not linger in my life. I am an author. I have 11 self-published books on amazon, yet, I have friends who do not own any of my books. I do not personalize their reason for not buying it. I write in the relationship world and this just is not for everyone. Although I believe it can be helpful in some way to anyone, there is a limited audience for every genre and that’s perfectly fine.

I tried to get booked to speak and have been rejected because what I wanted to share was not something they were looking for; however, I have found audiences that love what I have to share. I do not empower the rejection by allowing it to stop me but instead, I look for ways to improve and expand because I learned something from the rejection.

I don’t let rejection prevent me from writing, I don’t let it prevent me from trying to speak and I don’t let it prevent me from conquering my dreams. The moment we do that, we have placed ourselves in a cage and I don’t care what anyone says, living in a cage is far worse than taking chances in life. When people know they are dying, they aren’t thankful for never taking chances. There isn’t one person that reflects on their life and says “wow, I’m glad I did nothing. I am so glad I took no chances and inspired no one”. You owe it to your one life to maximize the experience.

We are guilty of at some point being affected by rejection because of our life filters. These are the ways in which we view what happens based on our individual experiences in life. Our inner voice, the one that critics us, is integral here in the way we view the rejection. Those who are able to identify positive situations as well as situations for what they are, can view rejections in a healthier sense as opposed to those that see more negative in situations. Those that view negativity primarily in situations tend to let this inner voice is undermine, critique, and even sabotage us into a longer suffering period. This inner voice represents a destructive thought process that frequently hurts us in life and in relationships, often attacking us when we are most vulnerable. When we’re dealing with a rejection, for example, the voice is there to tell us, “See? I told you it wouldn’t work out. No one could ever really like you. You’ll never find what you want.” It also gives us bad advice, “You should never have put yourself out there. You can never trust anyone again. You’ll only get hurt.”

In reality, we are all flawed. We have things we want to work on about ourselves, and this inner voice is not really friendly when it comes to allowing us to work on self. We have to work on shutting out the negativity that particular inner voice delivers with more honest and positive thoughts. Let’s be realistic, sometimes rejection is simply because you aren’t one person’s cup of tea and that could very well be because they don’t even know what they want. That has no bearing on what your position in life is.

And this is gonna bother you a bit, but personalizing rejection is almost borderline narcissistic. People who want and even expect everyone to like them have some real narcissistic views about things. Being accepting to the understanding that we are individuals, and no one is for everyone is such an easier and more honest way to go about things.

Another way to deal with rejection is to stop building up whoever it was that rejected us. Someone rejecting you does not in any way determine that they are better than you or that you are not good enough for them. That is such a childish way to handle rejection. Let me say it like this, you will have a hard time getting over rejecting by mourning over a person that doesn’t exist in the way you try to see them or remember them.

Another way to handle rejection is to be best prepared for it. Now how is this possible, well, the reality is that one must realize and acknowledge when they are living an illusion of connection and security. They have allowed this to replace true intimacy, real love, and affection. This type of person settles for the notion of being in a relationship, the avoidance of being single, so much in fact that they somehow end up missing out on the real attraction, the true respect, and pure warmth that brought two people together originally. When and if this type of relationship ends and it often does, the person who approached the relationship that way is the one that is left mourning, they do not only mourn the relationship, but this unhealthy fantasy they created of being connected to the other person. They somehow forget or ignore the ways they struggled, the parts of them that didn’t fit so well with the other person, and the qualities they didn’t like in their partner or about the relationship. They did so because the notion of being in a relationship was so much stronger than the reality of the situation.

Accept and acknowledge your realities.

 Our feelings of unworthiness from rejection sometimes isn’t even about the rejected situation at hand but more so of a reflection of something deeper in how we view ourselves. We have started to idealize the person or the relationship and long for it, even in an unhealthy way while simultaneously reinforcing the idea that we are less than or unworthy. At times we only feel worthy while being accepted by that person. What we must realize is that what’s tormenting us often has less to do with the actual reality of what we lost and more to do with a fundamental negative feeling about ourselves that drives us to believe fantasy over reality.

Let me share something I found from author Dr. Kristin Neff. These three ways to handle rejection is such a helpful manner in which to engage self.

  1. Self-kindness vs self-judgment: When we notice our critical inner voice creeping in and coloring our outlook, we should aim to practice self-kindness. Basically, we should treat ourselves the way we would a friend. We can be sensitive and empathetic to our own struggle. This isn’t about feeling sorry for ourselves or denying our mistakes, but it is about not being judgmental or cruel toward ourselves.
  2. Common humanity vs isolation:  Neff emphasizes the recognition that no one is alone in their struggle, even though it can feel like that at times. All human beings suffer, and most have experienced rejection. Remembering this connection can help us avoid the feeling that we are somehow different or isolated. Many people have been down a similar path, and we should feel hopeful and connected when it comes to our future.
  3. Mindfulness vs over-identification:  Mindfulness is a practice of focusing our awareness on the present moment, learning to sit with a thought or experience without judgment. In addition to having almost countless mental and physical health benefits, mindfulness helps us to avoid over-identifying with painful thoughts and feelings that arise. We can feel our feelings without allowing our negative thoughts to take over. We can avoid boarding a train of “critical inner voices” that catastrophize and distort ourselves and our reality. Mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises can also feel calmer when strong emotions or reactions arise.

Self-compassion teaches us that we can be a friend to ourselves when we experience a rejection. We can be honest about ourselves and the situation, while maintaining kindness and understanding.

It is really important to allow ourselves to feel the emotions that are accompanied by the rejection. Whether it is anger or sadness, a fact is that some of these feelings may go deeper than this surface rejection and that is because it triggered old, core emotions.

We remember the pain and we are afraid to face it again. This is when we start to attack (not often physically) but attack in different ways those that reject us. This is a bad way to allow our feelings to take over our behavior and we need a more constructive and healthy way to handle it.  A more adaptive strategy may involve allowing ourselves the freedom to feel our feelings, while remembering that feelings come in waves.

If we are ever in a lot of pain or feel overwhelmed by emotion, seeking help is always a strong and wise idea. Often, we feel relieved when we allow ourselves to really feel our sadness. We may feel cleaner about the situation itself as well.

I found this online and wanted to share about the powerful seduction of rejection. In this scenario, it is a female that has been rejected by a male and this is the journey of her rejection.

“All I want is him. He’s the only one that I will ever love, that I will ever feel this way with. What went wrong? Why did he stop loving me? Stop wanting me? How can I get him to love me again?  If I could just figure it out. If I get in better shape, wear the clothes he likes, try to look my best, do his laundry, make him food, will he love me then? What is it? What’s wrong with me? He wanted me, and he loved me, and now it’s gone. This is making me crazy. I have to figure it out. I have to fix it: I need to get his love back.

Only I can’t. He’s done. He’s changed, his passion, his wanting me, it’s gone away. He lost it. Who knows why? Really, he stopped wanting me several years ago; he started to repel against me, turn me away when I came towards him, when I wanted him. I laid awake so many nights wanting, empty, lonely. His body next to me there, but the warmth, the desire, gone.

But why, why do I want someone who doesn’t want me? What am I yearning for? Why am I so compelled to get this love back? How can a man who doesn’t want me to be the object of my whole focus and desire? I realize, suddenly, something is wrong. It’s too much; he’s too much. It’s out of proportion. He doesn’t deserve this level of my need and want and focus. Why? Why am I doing this? And then I understand. I realize his not wanting me, but more than that, his changing…the love being there, and then being gone… that’s what’s so compelling.

This is what I’m trying to fix. It’s not about the man in my life today. I can handle that. The reality is, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t getting what I want. I’m a desirable woman. I can have more. It was me, the old me, the child me, hoping and needing to fix myself and get the love, strategizing for love. That’s not what a child should ever have to do. Now I look at him, and he starts to fade. My attention broadens. He is just a man who rejected me. The desperation dulls. Now, he is less often in my thoughts. He is just a person. He is off the pedestal that his rejection of me elevated him to.

I’m done being seduced by rejection. Getting his love is not what I need.  Loving myself, knowing who I am, how I was hurt, seeing my parents’ deficiencies back then, instead of taking them on as my own. Not trying to get that reassurance from someone else, not putting my needs on others. I don’t need to fix this old pain to make me okay. I’m okay now, and I was okay then….

This is a very familiar process and of course it is so much shorter in this presenting of it than it really is in real life and some of these questions we ask ourselves can turn into months of self-doubt, even years.

If rejection is something you are having trouble with, do not feel shame or be afraid to reach out to professional help. There are people and services that can formulate steps to help you overcome rejection in the best way.

I hope this was helpful to all.

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