Rejection can be very painful and if our self-esteem isn’t where it should be ideally (and many of ours isn’t) then rejection can throw us a devastating blow. The ability to handle rejection without turning it inward, attacking ourselves with thoughts of unworthiness and losing our ability to think rationally is not something one can find a quick fix to. The ability to deal courageously with rejection happens naturally as we build up our self-esteem by beginning to love and accept ourselves. Believe it or not, rejection is part of life’s journey and plays a significant role in our learning and growing process.
Being rejected is something everyone experiences. Yes, everyone. You are not alone, nor is there anything wrong with you. Just like we don’t all have the same taste in clothes, food and music, similarly neither do we all have the same beliefs and realities. Simply put, not everyone is going to appreciate the way you walk and talk. It’s the way it is and it doesn’t mean that someone else’s opinion of you is everyone’s opinion of you nor does it mean that you should accept anyone else’s opinion as your truth. So many of us do this – a person tells us we’re not good enough and we immediately internalize it and accept it as truth. If this is you, understand that your opinion of yourself is who you project to the world. If you have a low opinion of yourself, that is what others see – and likewise, if you have a high opinion of yourself, that is what others see. Loving and accepting yourself is the key to handling rejection with courage and confidence.
We all have our fears, our doubts, our little quirks and weird habits, our insecurities and equally we have our strengths, our talents, our abilities, our passions and many other things to be proud of. If you are in the company of someone who continuously points out what is wrong with as opposed to what is right with you, then my suggestion is to find a way to severe that relationship because it is not healthy and it could hinder your efforts to build your self-esteem. If it’s a family member and you can’t severe the ties, then limit the amount of time you spend with that person.
Being accepted by others is something we all desire, even though there are people who claim they do not care whether or not they are accepted. I cannot judge that statement one way or another, however I will say that unless you are willing to go to the grocery store in your blue polka dotted pajamas with a mud pack on your face – you care, at least at some level, about the acceptance of others. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted - we all require love and acceptance to some degree. But we should not center our life goals and decisions around the acceptance of others, or allow rejection to hinder those goals and decisions.
The long term solution to facing rejection with courage is to continuously work on your personal development. Feed yourself daily positive messages and affirmations, eat right and exercise (yes, this plays a very significant role in your level of self-esteem) and continue to learn and grow. Make every effort not to judge and blame others and accept total responsibility for your life and where you are right now. All of these things tie into developing a strong sense of self, heightening self-esteem and gaining the courage to see rejection as a part of life and not a personal attack on your character or worthiness. Although it may not be recognizable at first, more often than not we realize some time down the road that most of the rejection we encountered was a blessing in disguise and necessary for our personal growth and success.
Here are a few short term tips to help you push through the powerful emotions rejection can cause, so you can move forward. As I stated earlier, in order to develop long-lasting courage and resilience when it comes to rejection, it will take time as you develop yourself personally and spiritually. These tips are simply to help you get out of the quicksand and back onto solid ground.
1. Let yourself feel the grief or pain, and then let go. Feeling it is the easy part. Letting go is the tough part. You have to train yourself to be emotionally fit and to not wallow in self-pity. If it’s a relationship rejection, fight the urge to call and cry to that person. Say what you have to say and then leave it alone. I’ve seen so many people give in to their emotions during this period and it becomes more damaging as they set themselves up for further rejection. There’s a song by Usher titled “Let it Burn”. Find the strength and let it burn, then let it go.
2. If you don’t already practice meditation, now's a good time to start. Find a beginning meditation video on YouTube. Learn to breathe, relax and visualize a place of peace and comfort. Do this as often as you’d like and are able to.
3. Stay busy. Find projects or tasks that you enjoy and keep moving. Do not allow yourself the opportunity to fall apart.
4. Write a blog, journal or talk to a close friend. Express yourself, but don’t dwell or linger. The key to getting out is getting on. Keep moving forward.
5. Listen to inspirational audios, watch and read inspirational movies, videos and books. Do not listen to sad, heart breaking, poor me music under any circumstances.
6. Do something kind for yourself. Get a pedicure or take a trip to the bookstore and hang out for the afternoon (in the self-help section of course).
Notice that most of these tips include some sort of action. Action is life's vehicle. It's when we stagnate and linger on one thought or in one place that we cause ourselves damage. You have to find the inner strength to pull through and keep going, no one else can find it for you. It's there - it's always been there, you just have to seek it.
These tips are simply to help you re-focus and direct your attention on the path ahead of you. There’s no one in the world like you and you have an entire life to live and give. Don't allow one person or situation to block your path. This too shall pass.