It is rarely welcome, comfortable or pleasant to feel like you’ve been rejected. Whether your lover breaks off the relationship, you are turned down for a job or a promotion, your kids make it known that are NOT cool or your best friend starts hanging out with someone else, it can be painful.
Rejection happens on the outside, but it mainly wields its damaging sword on the inside.
You see, each one of us is the person who deems a conversation, an event or a situation as a rejection. This may sound crazy or unrealistic, but knowing this can make a big difference in how long it takes for you to rebound from rejection or whether or not you bounce back at all.
Of course, real stuff really happens.
From the shocking and life-altering to the more mundane and everyday, rejections of all shapes and sizes occur in the lives of every one of us. We hear someone’s words, read an e-mail, are faced with empty closets and see what appears to be evidence of us being rejected.
It is clear that your relationship is over, the promotion is going to someone else, you weren’t invited to the party and so on. Where most of us go from this point of real stuff really happening often deepens the feeling of rejection. We get ourselves stuck and virtually paralyzed in this place.
It is our thoughts about what happened– what this means, what this says about us– that can intensify the pain and make it nearly impossible to let it go and move on. These same thoughts can play a big role in crushing self esteem.
Your thoughts may center on how worthless, inadequate or otherwise deficient you think you are because this happened– or perhaps because a whole list of things have happened in your life up to this point.
If you’ve experienced what feels like a rejection, try these 4 ways to rebound:
1: Re-frame it
One strategy that can help is to re-frame what happened. First of all, a re-frame isn’t lying to yourself, denying what’s going on or pretending.
When you re-frame a situation, you look at it from a different point of view. You deliberately shift your perception. One thing you might try is to focus in on the literal words that were said instead of letting your particular slant on the “rejecting” conversation or event dominate.
For example, If you were passed over for a promotion at work, think back to what your boss literally said to you about it. Think about what he or she said and don’t read between the lines or make assumptions. Chances are, what was literally said is much less hurtful and not as much of a rejection as you initially felt it to be.
You still don’t have the promotion, but your understanding of the decision that your boss made can shift. This can make it easier for you to make decisions about what’s next that will line you up for the future you want.
2: Remove blocks
When things don’t go the way you want them to go, there is usually some form of block. While a block can appear to be a person or condition standing in your way, more often than not, the block is mostly internal.
If you’re experiencing whatever happened as a rejection and you’re feeling stuck there, it’s likely that you are your biggest block. The key is in your thoughts and beliefs.
Pay attention to the beliefs you have about yourself, your life and what is possible for you. If you want a long-lasting and happy love relationship, yet deep down inside you believe that you don’t deserve one or what you want never happens, this is a block.
Your expectations that all lovers will either cheat or leave, that great relationships will inevitably deteriorate or that passion always dies away, can act as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. They prepare you for the kind of rejection that you fear but, at the same time, anticipate.
Pay attention to the habitual thoughts and beliefs that may be blocks to the kind of life you want. When you come upon an internal block, question it. Ask yourself if this true.
3: Learn from it
A good piece of employment advice is, if you’ve been turned down for a job, respectfully ask the employer why. Without accusation or hostility, it is perfectly acceptable for a person to inquire, “What could I do differently to make myself a more appealing candidate for your company?”
If you feel like you’ve been rejected, you might have the opportunity to ask a similar question. There’s no doubt that this takes guts. Nobody wants to revisit the place where they were just turned down. The answer you get may be difficult to hear as well.
At the same time, if you can be courageous enough to learn from what happened, you can use that information to make improvements that could bring you what you want– the next time you try.
If you approach the person whom you feel rejected you, be specific with your question. Instead of saying, “What was wrong with me?” say, “What could I change and improve?” Really listen to what the person says. You may or may not agree with his or her assessment and that’s okay.
Don’t make the other person the “expert” in your self-improvement. You get to be that for yourself. But, stay open to some changes that might make sense to you and then follow through and actually do them.
What seems like a rejection can be your opportunity to grow and expand from where you are…if you let it. A “no” from someone doesn’t have to be an obstacle between you and your goals.
In fact, you might take this time to re-evaluate where your life is headed. You probably aren’t the same person you used to be (none of us are) and your aspirations and goals may need to change– even radically– as you change.
The bottom line here is that a rejection doesn’t have to be felt like a door slamming in your face.
It may hurt and lead you to question your own value, but it’s not the end of your ability to live a fulfilling and successful life, whatever that looks like to you. In fact, as you rebound it can truly be just the beginning.