How do you feel about getting rejected? Does rejection devastate you, or do you shrug it off?

Rejected. It can be such an ugly word.

One of the reasons why rejection can cause us so much difficulty is that in our minds we often tie rejection to so many other ugly words that cause us even more pain. Humiliated. Inadequate. Useless. Loser. Not good enough. Pathetic. Lonely.

It's a fact of life that whenever we approach other people socially, we face the risk that people will sometimes reject us. You might get turned down for coffee, for a dance, for a party, a relationship, or even for marriage.

Everyone gets rejected at times. The only people who never experience rejection are those who never interact with other human beings.

Rejection is never fun to experience, and some people have a very hard time getting over it.

When you get rejected socially, do you tell yourself that you are doomed to be rejected forever? Do you see every rejection from another person as proof that you are somehow not good enough? Do you see it as a sign that no one will ever really like you?

If getting socially rejected triggers these sorts of negative beliefs in you, you're not alone. Many people do react this way, and it often keeps them from having the social life they really want.

But is this the only way to look at rejection? Even those people who have healthy self- esteem, who are outgoing and who make lots of social overtures to others, get rejected on occasion.

The difference is that socially confident people don't feel deeply bothered by rejection. They don't blame themselves. They don't view rejection as proof that they are somehow flawed. For most socially confident people, being rejected is a relatively trivial experience that is soon forgotten.

For those people who are shy and sensitive, rejection can be a long lasting, emotionally traumatic experience.

People who are socially successful tend to take all the credit for their social successes for themselves. When socially confident people get rejected, they usually assign the blame to the other person!

This is the opposite of how shy and lonely people often react. Shy and lonely people tend to grab all the blame for themselves if their social overture is rejected, and if their overture is accepted they may believe the other person made a mistake in accepting them!

Rejection is much more troubling to those people who are very emotionally sensitive, those who have low self-esteem, or who have had a very dysfunctional or abusive childhood.

There is good news though. Even if you are very emotionally sensitive or shy, even if you didn't get much emotional support as you were growing up, you can still learn to change the way you talk to yourself about the experience of rejection.

A person with healthy self-esteem realizes that taking occasional social and emotional risks is a necessary part of developing relationships. If someone turns them down, they don't take it personally. They just move on and look for someone else who will be more receptive. It doesn't occur to a socially confident person to think that the reason they were rejected is because they are deeply flawed or inadequate.

You can learn to adopt the same beliefs about rejection that a person who is socially confident has.

Here is a brief summary of steps you can take to overcome your fear of rejection:

- Remind yourself why you want to overcome your fear of rejection. Remind yourself that your goal is to have a happy social life.

- Change what you say to yourself about rejection. Don't tie your self worth to whether or not you get accepted or rejected by other people.

- Make many, many social approaches to other people.

- Take a series of baby steps when developing new relationships.

If your problem is very severe and longstanding, you may need a lot of practice to change the way you think about rejection. You may find that the help of a good therapist will point out new, more supportive ways of thinking.

Remind yourself that the end result will be worth the effort.

When we hold back from interacting with others because we fear they might reject us, not only do we give up some occasional pain and discomfort, but we also miss out on all the potential warmth, comfort, fun and excitement that other human beings can offer us.

If you never put yourself in a situation where someone can say 'no' to you, you will also never be in a situation where someone can say 'yes' to you.

Author's Bio: 

Want to learn new ways to get over your shyness and rejection fears? Get "How to Overcome Your Shyness and Your Fear of Rejection and Have the Friends and Lovers You've Always Wanted" by self help author Royane Real at