Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
— Charles R. Swindoll.
Everyone faces rejection, no matter how much they try to avoid it. Picture this: You’re looking to ask this person out or waiting to hear the results of your job interview. You get told the infamous word “NO” or its other variations. It’s just two words, right? Wrong. Alcohol is purchased, and you curl up in your bed in despair, tears gushing like never-ending rainfall. At this moment, Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh’s got nothing on you. Sound familiar?
It doesn’t even have to be big events like this. Rejections can happen in many situations, like when you crack a joke you’ve been brewing for a while, but no one cracks a smile, or when no one remembers to invite you for parties.
Moving forward, you now begin to “protect yourself.” You never ask anyone out again, isolate yourself from your friends, and never apply for another job due to the fear of being rejected. But while you may think that this feeling is exclusive to you, so do so many other people worldwide.
Wanna know one of the major causes of anxiety? Rejection. So many people associate the fear of rejection with loneliness, inadequacy, and even being dumb. They wrongly internalize this and begin to see themselves as less than others or not being good enough.
In all my years of experiencing this solid piece of rock we all live on — which isn’t a lot — I’ve realized that people fear social rejection the most. “Do I fit in?” “Do they like me?” These are all questions I see people ask others in forums, social media apps, and occasionally in person.
Most rejections rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.
— Harvey Mackay
You’re doing yourself a great disservice if you start to close off and behave in self-defeating manners because of rejection. You’re stopping yourself from showing the world what you have to offer. You’re stopping yourself from showing the world your beauty.
If you go on living life with this mindset, you will have trouble understanding yourself and relating to others. We all have flaws. No one knows it all.
So, thinking you’re so perfect that you can’t get rejected is a little counterproductive to your progress. You might wake up one day, see people you think you’re better than achieving heaven on earth, and start to wonder what’s wrong with you.
Now, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The bad news is that unlearning these self-defeating behaviors take a ton of work. The good news is that you empower yourself for life once you do.
To do this, follow these steps:
Embrace All Opportunities
No matter what, don’t undermine the opportunities that you come across. It doesn’t matter if you capitalize on the opportunity or not. When you get rejected, embrace the opportunity all the same. When you do this, you will remove the fear factor when trying to grab opportunities.
When you figure out how to do this, you’ll realize that you can approach people without fear and ask for things without thinking, “what if I get rejected?”
Admittedly, it can be quite hard trying to accept the less beautiful parts of ourselves. Society has led us to believe that we should either mask our imperfections or keep them under lock and key, so no one notices. But if you unlearn this and accept the bad and the good, you will start to progress faster than you can say “rejection.”
You know that compassion and forgiving nature you extend to so many people? Do that for yourself too. Forgive yourself, and practice self-compassion regularly.
Also, ignore your inner critic. It’s too harsh, anyway. Gain perspective on all your shortcomings, and move on from any disappointments and rejections you may encounter. Connect with loved ones who know how hard you’re working, and you’ll get rid of feelings of inadequacy in no time.
Don’t link your self-worth to your accomplishments
As I wrote this point, I was like, “Jubril, catch your sub.” Anyway, lots of us like to do this because of, you guessed it, society.
When you don’t accomplish things as fast as you think you should, or you fuck up, it eats at your self-esteem and makes you feel like you’re worthless. Ultimately, it messes with your sense of self-worth. But that’s not the case at all.
You need to understand that everyone fucks up. Again, no one is perfect. While it’s good to feel proud of achievements, building your self-worth based on what you do or how much money you have is like building a house on a flimsy foundation. What happens when you don’t achieve something in a while?
To solve this, the best thing to do is to feel good about who you are. Look inwards, and appreciate your being. Appreciate your aura. Look back and appreciate the person you’ve become. Do this, and you’ll maintain an unshakable feeling of peace when life inevitably decides to take you on a journey of ups and downs.
Enjoy your own company before others
Before you quote me, I’m not saying you should become Bruce Wayne’s protege o. I mean you should find ways to be comfortable, whether you’re with company or alone.
At first, going on solo dates, sitting down alone in public areas, or even being alone in your home can be daunting. But if you take the time to work through those uncomfortable feelings, you’ll be unstoppable.
Start small with this. You don’t have to spend 40 years in a cave before you master the art of loving your own company. Just figure out things you won’t mind doing alone, and do them at your own pace.
To avoid feeling bored, you can bring a book to bury yourself in, or a journal to pen down those million-dollar thoughts and ideas. Avoid the temptation of whipping out your phone. All that does is strip you of your “you-time.”
As more time passes, go on more solo dates and perform more solo activities. Only after doing this will you be able to form healthy relationships with others.
Sometimes, you need a break from everyone and spend time alone to experience, appreciate, and love yourself.
— Robert Tew
There’s no straightforward formula to handling rejection efficiently. In the end, everyone handles rejections differently. However, trying out these four suggestions I mentioned above can put you well on your way to doing that.
Getting rejected can be one of the most heartbreaking feelings ever, but in the end, what you do with this rejection counts. Do you want life to knock you out of the count, or do you want to show life what you’re made of?