Even Though The Pain Of Rejection Hurts, It Is Rarely About You

Reconcile With Your Self-Esteem

“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” — Don Miguel Ruiz

Your heart throbs, appearing to grow faster by the minute. Within seconds, an uncomfortable sensation to flee your body takes hold. The rejection coursing through you is palpable; a dull pain in the pit of your stomach that slowly rises into your chest. This is what many people experience when faced with rejection. Despite the emotional trauma, rejection can teach us vital life lessons if we heed its call. Rejection strikes at the heart of one’s self-esteem. Our fight-or-flight system is activated while the brain struggles to make sense of the situation.

Whilst I’ve titled this article, rejection is not about you, you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise. However, rejection is rarely about you and more in line with the person doing the rejecting. Rejection is not intended to crush your self-esteem, since the other person seldom has a complete picture of who you are. As we wrestle with our inner battles, rarely do we consider the feelings of others. Each of us has inner demons to manage, which is a substantial task of its own. To be mindful of other people’s feelings gives us a limited understanding of what lies beneath the surface of others. In other words, what you see is not what you get as it relates to one’s emotional constitution.

To deal with rejection requires a good deal of emotional intelligence. If handled with care, rejection may be reframed within an enlightened context. This does not underscore the feelings which abound from being rejected. How you face rejection should be your primary motivation since, if left untreated, can embitter one’s emotional wellbeing in countless ways. A unique approach for dealing with rejection is to consider it putting yourself out there, i.e., dating, job opportunities, sporting competition, music performance, etc.

For example, many people turn rejection inward via a contracted self-worth. Most times, rejection triggers unresolved childhood traumas which are not confronted. To turn the rejection inward, the recipient lays blame on oneself, believing they are lacking. The person dissects their flaws and insecurities, rather than evaluating the rejection, as an opportunity to move forward. Let me be clear: rejection is not your fault. Those who are not rejected are lying in a coffin or sitting at home watching the evening news as armchair critics. Our focus is to accept rejection but not allow it to affect us, thus creating an empowering inner dialogue. Are you happy with this understanding? If so, how can you learn to reframe rejection to feel more empowered?

Transform Your Inner Dialogue

“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.” — Harvey Mackay

Reframing rejection does not deny you of your feelings. It requires transforming the feelings into empowering states. Instead of dwelling on the rejection by ascribing it to your self-esteem, you see it exposing yourself to new opportunities. Viewed in this context, you encourage a healthy mental focus and consent to the ensuing emotions of rejection to pass through you instead of holding on to them. Put differently, rejection can gnaw itself within the mind and body by creating unhealthy emotions if left unchecked. The tendency to be victimised and turn the rejection on oneself lies at the heart of why rejection needs to be attended to rather than left to heal on its own.

Consider the following points as prompts to help you steer your way through rejection.

1. Often rejection is a way of others communicating: “No thanks, this is not for me right now.” Rejection pertains to the choices of the other person. They are tending to their own needs and desires, rather than cause others emotional distress.

2. Ask yourself the following questions to help you overcome thoughts and feelings which accompany rejection:

  • How can I turn rejection into an empowering state?
  • Am I being rejected or dealing with unresolved emotions?
  • Who do I need to become to be more valuable to others?
  • Why am I hurt by these feelings of rejection?
  • Is there something else beneath the surface I must attend to?

3. There is an aphorism that states: no one can reject you unless you give them the power to do so. A responsible way of handling rejection is to reframe it. Despite people’s best intentions, positive thinking is of little value, since it creates a detour for our thoughts. You negate thoughts associated with rejection by masking them with positive thinking. Therefore, what you resist will persist.

4. Consider rejection as an opportunity to look deep within yourself. Sometimes rejection can be a hidden blessing redirecting you to a new and better opportunity. Don’t wallow in self-pity, but pick up your bootstraps and continue ahead.

Ultimately, rejection is inevitable if we’re to live a rich and authentic life. When we put ourselves on the line, rejection is inevitable to identify our true wants and needs. Rejection serves to remind us that at a deeper level, no one can reject us if we don’t give them power to do so.

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