4 Strategies to Cope With Rejection
Being rejected hurts. We’ve all felt the anguish of rejection—maybe it was a job you didn’t get, a buddy who ghosted you, or not being invited to a social event—and then watching your pals write about it online.
What is Rejection?
We feel rejected when we’re excluded, disregarded, or disapproved of. We lose what we had or desired when we are rejected. Additionally, rejection, like abandonment, makes us feel unwelcome and unworthy.
Did you encounter any of these frequent rejections as a kid or teen?
- Being humiliated
- Not becoming a part of a team or school play you are trying for
- Having no one to sit with at lunch
- Being the last person picked for phys ed
- Not being asked to prom or invited to a party
- Not getting into the college you wanted
- Having a partner cheat on you or break up with you
Sadly, some kids deal with rejection at home as well. This makes the agony worse. Your parents or family’s rejection may have included:
- Receiving criticism, being told you’re not good enough, or being referred to as derogatory
- Being mistreated, neglected, or abandoned
- Being placed for adoption (even though it’s done out of love, it can feel like rejection)
- Being ignored
- Being told that your thoughts, feelings, or convictions are incorrect or unimportant
- Having your parents favor your sibling.
- Being expelled because you were “difficult” or “troubled.”
- Being told that you lack talent and should give up your goals and dreams
- lack of acceptance or condemnation of your gender identity or sexual orientation
Rejection results in incorrect assumptions
In general, rejection has a more significant effect when it happens more often and when you are younger.
Young children are particularly susceptible since they still develop their sense of self and value. Because young children lack the thinking abilities and life experiences to properly grasp all the probable reasons for being rejected, even if others didn’t explicitly tell you that you’re inadequate or unlovable, you could have automatically assumed this when you were rejected.
Being rejected regularly as a youngster might make you feel unworthy. Furthermore, these untrue notions may exacerbate the hurt of rejection and even turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Rejection causes people to build emotional barriers.
We naturally try to shield ourselves from rejection since it hurts so much. We do this by erecting emotional barriers or withholding sensitive information, such as our problems, goals, and ambitions, that makes us feel uneasy or self-conscious. We mistakenly think that keeping a distance from others would prevent us from being emotionally involved or falling in love or that rejection won’t be as painful if the other person doesn’t know us well.
Another thing that occurs is that we begin to expect rejection. We act prematurely and reject the other person before they may reject us because we believe rejection is inevitable. Once again, we think doing this would save us the agony of losing someone we love or who we wished we knew better. Rejecting people might make us feel in charge and in a position of power, but it doesn’t lessen how painful the loss is.
We cannot build satisfying relationships or avoid the hurt of rejection by erecting emotional barriers and early rejection of others.
How to handle being rejected
- Recognize the suffering and mourn the loss
Losing something or someone you wanted or hoped to have is rejection. When rejected, we often feel humiliated or embarrassed and desire to go on. To cope, we may sometimes repress our emotions, deny that we are in pain, or overindulge in food or alcohol.
Feeling your emotions when grieving, as opposed to rejecting, repressing, or numbing them. It may help to cry, write in a diary, go to counseling, exercise, be in nature, practice additional self-care, and develop farewell rituals. Give yourself space to experience and digest your emotions. Depending on what you’ve lost, the length and intensity of your grieving will vary; it could just last an hour, or you can mourn a significant rejection for months.
- Avoid blaming oneself
It’s only normal to be curious about your rejection. However, in my experience, rejections don’t always have apparent causes. When we don’t know the answers, we often blame ourselves, believing that we did something wrong, weren’t good enough, were difficult, foolish, or unlovable. Keep in mind that you could have grown up believing that you’re unworthy and that you’re to fault for being rejected. You may now decide to reject these notions. You’re more able to explore alternate hypotheses—other grounds for rejection—as an adult. Even the most appealing, intelligent, competent, and likable individuals might be rejected for various reasons.
While examining your actions and demeanor might be helpful, rejection isn’t always the result of anything you did wrong. Sometimes the CEO decides to hire his niece instead of you for the job, or a first date doesn’t contact you back because the guy is nervous. It’s not always about you, and it’s unjust to put the blame on yourself, take ownership of circumstances beyond your control, or assume guilt for wrongdoing.
- Boost your resilience.
Your capacity to recover or move beyond a setback is called resilience. Additionally, psychologists think it’s a characteristic that can be taught. Resilience is influenced by a variety of factors, including an open mind, avoiding all-or-nothing thinking, concentrating on solutions and what you can learn from the experience, asking for help, keeping a good sense of humor, remembering your strengths, viewing failures as necessary steps on the path to success, and engaging in self-care.
- Continue making yourself known.
Writers and artists are known for persevering in the face of repeated rejection. They realize that rejection is a part of the process and is required to be published or start a successful career, contributing to their capacity to achieve this. They don’t take it personally since they see it as ordinary and essential. This kind of acceptance and consistently “putting yourself out there” helps lessen the hurt of rejection.
You can handle rejection more successfully if you do a mix of mourning the loss you experience when you’re rejected. Don’t blame yourself for the rejection; concentrate on your strengths and resilience, and acknowledge that rejection is common.