We’ve all felt the pain of rejection at one time or another. Obstacles and challenges occur throughout our lives. However, while we can’t prevent such events from occurring, we can certainly determine for ourselves how we’ll deal with them when they do occur.
Rejection…Is Only A Concept
It’s important to recognize that rejection is only a concept. It isn’t something real and tangible, like an automobile or a baseball. You can’t reach out and touch rejection…you can only feel it internally. In fact, while someone may do or say something that you interpret as rejection, only you can actually reject yourself.
This is what Eleanor Roosevelt meant when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” The question, then, is how do you stop giving your “consent?”
Every day, we overcome minor “rejections” of one sort or the other. For instance, we might order a ham sandwich only to be told there is no ham available. In this instance, we recover fairly quickly, order the meat loaf, and think no more of it. But when we are dealing with situations that really matter to us–like asking for a raise, trying to secure business financing, or daily business situations–we tend to attach so much significance to the answer that we let a negative response affect our self-image. That is, we “take it personally.”
If you are frequently looking to validate yourself based on how others respond to you, you’ll be in for a bumpy emotional ride. While it’s natural to enjoy the support of those around you, it is possible to become too dependent on this support and to damage yourself with negative feelings (such as rejection) when you don’t receive it. It’s important, therefore, that you learn to decrease the time it takes for you to “recover” from such negative emotions. Here are a few tips to help you on you way.
1. Accept Yourself. When we are rejected, our automatic tendency is to assume that there is something inherently wrong with us, that we are somehow not worthy or that we are a failure. These feelings of self-doubt are natural…but they are highly destructive. After all, berating ourselves for a perceived mistake or inadequacy will only keep us focused on the negative and make matters worse.
Acceptance is the opposite of rejection. When you learn to accept yourself exactly as you are today, imperfections included, feelings of rejection will be short-lived. NOTE: Accepting yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t intend to improve; it simply means that you recognize the situation, not as the discovery of a character flaw, but as an opportunity for growth.
2. Develop a Burning Desire. When you are strongly motivated to attain a particular result, obstacles–such as getting rebuffed by someone–become less of a barrier. Burning desires create a sense of enthusiasm and a real yearning to move forward. This, in turn, causes you to take action, which helps to dissipate feelings of rejection.
3. Practice Active Substitution. If you want something badly enough, you will continue to try to make it happen, regardless of the initial response to your attempts. This may require, however, that you alter your interpretations about how others respond to you. Strive to keep your mind on the things you want and off the things you don’t want. If you detect a negative interpretation sneaking into your thoughts, nip it in the bud by substituting a positive message in its place–one which puts you back on track to achieve your goal.
For instance, if you were to send out five resumes and none brought you the desired result–a job interview–you could interpret that you’ve been rejected or that you’re “not good enough.” An alternative and more effective point of view, however, would be that the particular individuals you sent the resume to weren’t in the market for someone with your unique skills at the time. Notice how this positive interpretation leads you to take action. For instance, perhaps you could reword your resume, reconsider the types of companies to which you applied, and then send the resume to different companies.
By substituting positive for negatives, you don’t allow a temporary setback to become a permanent crisis.
4. Learn from Failure. Learn to see problems not as negative reflections on your self-worth but as opportunities from which to learn and grow. Even if you perceive it to be incorrect, strive to view criticism as necessary feedback and use it to show you where you have gone off course in pursuit of your goal.
Positive people do this all the time. They don’t allow themselves to internalize negative responses. They press on, knowing that success lies on just the other side of failure. As Napoleon Hill, author of the best selling book, “Think and Grow Rich,” said, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefits.” It’s up to you to find it! Think Positive!
You are only as good as you think you are – think only the very best.
No one can keep you down except yourself.