Raise your hand if you like to experience rejection. Ok. I’m not seeing many hands raised out there.
Rejection happens to everyone and I’m not aware of a single person who likes it. However, I do know people who have become very good at embracing it. Knowing how to deal with and what to do about rejection will allow you to recover more quickly. And not only recover, but come out the other side better than before.
In order to effectively overcome rejection, it helps to understand what it is and why it so deeply affects us. Rejection hurts us on such a deep level because it feels like a personal attack on who we are at our core. Rejection can wreck our self-esteem and destroy our confidence. Rejection, when not handled properly can cause emotional wounds that are difficult to recover from.
Improper handling of rejection can manifest itself in several ways. Most of these surface as a way to protect ourselves from future rejection.
· It can cause you to pretend to be something that you aren’t in order to be accepted
· It can cause you to reject others before they can reject you
· It can create a desperate need to be accepted, to fit in, and to be loved
· It can cause self-pity
· It can make it impossible for you to accept constructive criticism
· It can create the tendency to blame others
· It can create feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, and hopelessness
However, learning to embrace the opportunities that rejection present can make us virtually immune to the hurtful effects of rejection. Once you learn to stop telling yourself you’ve been rejected and instead choose what you want to feel instead you will understand just how loved, accepted, valued, and appreciated you really are. Here are a couple of steps you can take the next time you experience rejection.
1. Connect with yourself and your emotions
Even though rejection can cause emotional wounds, rejection is not an emotion. Rejection is a perception that creates an emotion, such as anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. Rejection is nothing more than a contrasting experience that allows you to tell the difference between what you want and what you don’t want.
When you experience rejection take a second to connect with what emotions you are feeling. Acknowledge what you are feeling and then choose what you want to feel instead.
2. Let energy move through you and the emotion
Once you acknowledge the emotions you are feeling, let energy move through you by experiencing the emotion and then clearing the emotion. You can clear the emotion simply by resisting the urge to create a story around what you are experiencing or a story around the rejection. How many times have you created a story around a perception rather than reality? We do it all of the time. Maybe someone didn’t come talk to you at a networking event and you automatically assume they are mad at you. Maybe a prospect didn’t get back to you right away and you assume they just don’t like you and your services. In both cases your self-esteem and confidence takes a hit while you continue to build on the story you are creating adding all of the things you’ve done wrong or things that would make someone reject you. You may conclude you aren’t smart enough or likeable and engaging enough. You will play it over and over and over again in your mind until you are just about physically sick.
How many of you have done this? I know I have. Then how many times did you end up finding out that whatever happened had absolutely nothing to do with you? The person at the networking event didn’t come over to speak to you because they received an emergency call from the babysitter and needed to leave unexpectedly. Or the prospect didn’t get back to you right away because they really want your services but were trying to figure out how to get the budget numbers to work?
Resist the urge to create a story. They are always wrong.
If the situation is really eating at you, take the time to seek understanding rather than creating a story. In the case of the networking event, it would be very easy to send a quick note saying that you saw them at the event and was sorry you weren’t able to connect before it ended. Their response will tell you if your perception is correct and if anything needs to be fixed.
3. Articulate what you do want and how you want to feel
Once you clear the emotions created by the rejection or perceived rejection, articulate what you do what to experience. For example, “I don’t want to feel rejected, I want to feel valued.” Instead of focusing on the feeling of rejection caused by that specific person at the networking event, focus on all of the great connections that you did make and how much those people liked, respected, and valued their interactions with you. If only one person out of the ten that you spoke with “rejected” you, then the problem must not be you.
Instead of focusing on the prospect that hasn’t gotten back to you yet, focus on your other prospects and your awesome clients who also think you are awesome. If only one prospect out of ten isn’t getting back to you in a timely manner, then the issue probably doesn’t lie with you.
You absolutely have the power to decide what emotions and thoughts you want to experience in your life by choosing what you want and how to project it outward. These choices are what strengthen our identity. And when our identity does not depend upon what others think of us, we become virtually resistant to the damage that can be caused by rejection.