Coping with rejection
We all desire to feel loved, accepted, approved of and
supported by others. It's a real frustration not to get
our way and to face the possibility of being cut off from
the acceptance and support of others.
We, in nature have our hearts set on exploring, acquiring and consuming the experiences of this lifetime. We are motivated by impulses for affection, wellbeing, food and enjoyment. However, we also have the complicated task of learning to live in this world with others who compete with our needs as they try to meet their own. In addition, it's essential for us to learn to adjust our impulses for wellbeing. It's complicated, isn't it ?
One of those complications is coping with the experience of rejection. No one enjoys it, but it's a natural and vital part of life. Throughout life, we all opt to accept or reject millions of possibilities. We think about and decide "yes" to this idea and "no" to that one, "yes" to this alternative, "no" to that one.
Rejection by others can appear like social disapproval and failure. According to studies, humans are instinctively sensitive to rejection. Throughout history, people have been reliant upon the kindness of others for survival. People who were insensitive to the disapproval of others have been disliked. Being a pariah decreases one's chance of survival. In short, rejection sensitivity has been crucial for survival.
Given that we have been bred to notice rejection as a hazard to survival, at times we experience strong feelings of fear and desertion in its presence. When the survival alarm is triggered, I believe the question to ask ourselves is, " Is my survival really being endangered at this moment or is this false alarm ? ".
For example, if my boyfriend tells me he wants to end our relationship or my supervisor says I'm being laid off, is my life endangered ? Am I in pending danger of death ? In the majority of cases the answer is "no." Emotionally and psychologically it can seem that way as a rush of emotions, heat and worry flood our understanding. Our inclination may be to defend ourselves, to ward off the news that seems to threaten our sense of wellbeing and safety.
Our differences are frequently met with social disapproval by family, friends, teachers, authority figures, the church and other institutions around us. This can seem overwhelmingly threatening. We do risk the chance of being cast out from the love, care and privilege of the majority. It behaves us to develop the skills and assets to deal with rejection successfully.
In general, people react in one of two ways to rejection or to its threat, they both accept it, and are inspired to increase their efforts to accomplish, or they are psychologically and emotionally hurt and seek to avoid it. The first tactic is the most healthy and efficient. People can be inspired to achieve regardless of rejection.
How is this done ?
|Acknowledge the fact that how you notice and react to rejection is up to you. You must take responsibility for this progression. Avoid personalizing the rejection by creating negative mental dialogues such as, "I'm not adequate, I don't deserve affection or good things, etc. These are untrue and destructive.|
|Consume motivational and inspirational experiences. These are moral boosters intended to lift one's spirits and encourage action. They may contain inspirational speakers, readings, music or movies. They are good emotional and psychological nourishment for your soul. These experiences must be wide-ranging and repeated often for ongoing advantage.|
|Use conscious coping strategies. These include affirmations, optimistic visualizations, positive thinking, goal setting with action tactics and follow-up evaluations.|
|Utilize physical coping strategies. These strengthen the psycho-physiological capability to cope with distress such as rejection. Get peaceful sleep, eat a healthy diet, and get regular aerobic exercise.|
|Find support from others. Schedule time to spend with friends. Talk out your worries or fears. Ask for others' guidance and insight. Often, they can cut right through with simple statements like, "I think you're overreacting or assuming too much."|
|Increase accepting and affirming experiences. It’s important to have positive, accepting experiences.|
What tactics do you already use in coping with rejection ?
You've apparently been successful to a large degree or you wouldn't have survived and negotiated your progress to this point. Re-think the times in your life that you successfully dealt with the challenge of rejection. Also think about the times you've been rejected. I hope you'll give yourself credit for your existing skills and abilities in this field and decide to keep on growing.