How to Handle Rejection
Being rejected is the worst and it can occur in every area of life. You may be rejected for a promotion at work, or at a job you applied for. You can be rejected by your significant other when they cancel date night to hang with their friends. Or, you can experience rejection when you’re turned down for a date. Friends can reject you when they cancel on plans. Family members can reject you if you don’t conform to their ideas of who you should be. And, with the advent of social media, you may even feel rejected when your pictures do not get all the likes you are anticipating. No matter what, being rejected isn’t fun. But you can develop the skills to rise above rejection.
Not Everyone Is Going to Like You
Not everyone is going to like you. Some people are going to dislike you for petty, superficial reasons that are completely out of your control. You may have been turned down for a date because you’re not tall enough. You may be discriminated against based on your race, gender, sexual orientation, or culture. These things are out of your control; it could be that there’s nothing you can do to change their minds. And, there will be some people who dislike you for valid reasons. Nobody is perfect and everyone has flaws; some of your flaws may be more intolerable to some than to others. In fact, even virtues can be misinterpreted as faults. An overly kind person may be interpreted as phony, or stupid. The reverse is true too. Some faults can be misinterpreted as virtues; we may mistake an egocentric person for a confident person. No matter what we do, we cannot control how people interpret our faults and virtues.
Not Everyone Will Hate You
While it’s important to understand and accept that not everyone will like you, it’s also important to remember that not everyone is going to hate you. Someone, somewhere will think you’re exactly what you’re looking for. Whether it’s in a friend, in your career, or in a romantic partner, someone will find your skill set and your personality to be exactly what they’re looking for. In this world there are lots of places looking to hire, lots of people looking for friends, and lots of people looking for significant others. Some of those people and places will be looking for someone just like you.
Why Rejection Hurts
Being rejected hurts like no other, and there’s a psychological reason for this. Evolutionary psychologists theorize that people are wired to belong to the group because belonging to the group vastly increased a person’s chances of survival. Think about it: groups provided a lot of security from various threats. Studies have shown that being rejected is not dissimilar to experiencing a physical injury. It has been theorized that this occurs because our brain wants us to correct our behavior so that we do not become ostracized, thus increasing our chances of survival. Even though rejection doesn’t necessarily mean death today, the pain is still the same. Being rejected can hurt a lot.
It’s Okay to Feel Whatever You’re Feeling
Knowing why rejection hurts likely won’t make it hurt any less. But hopefully it will help you understand that it’s completely normal to feel hurt when you’re rejected. After all, rejection can be interpreted as someone telling you that you’re not good enough. Or, that you are good enough, but someone else is better than you. Feeling hurt over this, especially when you’ve put your heart into being good enough, or being the best, is a completely valid reaction. However, it’s also important to show yourself compassion. Remember, not everyone is going to like you, and another person’s interpretation of you is not something you’re totally in control of.
Remember to Have Compassion for YOU
After rejection, it’s okay to show yourself some self-compassion. Acknowledge that you’re hurt, and that it’s okay to feel hurt. If there are things you could have improved on, or mistakes you’ve made, it may be a good idea to acknowledge those and forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes; how you move forward after those mistakes is what really matters. Remember that part of being human is making mistakes and learning from them. As a human being, you are worthy of being happy. Don’t let rejection take that from you.