I talk about rejection a lot and it's for good reason. We all deal with rejection on a regular basis and sometimes it's so subtle we don't realize it. Unfortunately, being social creatures means that rejection cuts us at the core. In women, it has shown that social rejection sparks alarm in the regions of the brain dedicated to survival needs. So how can you deal with it when it happens to you?
1. Don't assume it's about you.
Sometimes people are rejecting without even realizing it. For example, let's say your partner has a bad day at work. When they come home, they're distant, grumpy and have lingering tension. Maybe they even go so far as to take it out on you by criticizing dinner, or asking questions like "what did YOU do all day?". Are they really upset with you on a personal level? Probably not. Their reaction most likely stems from their personal stress.
2. If it is about you, don't take it personally.
We are going to get on each others nerves. People like things a certain way and they don't always like that someone else might not align with their expectations of how people should be or how the world should work. So, if your roommate is annoyed that you aren't cleaning the house as much as they are, don't take it personally. In this case, your roommate has an expectation that the living environment be kept a certain way and you're more lax on it. That's fine, people have different living preferences and it doesn't make one right over the other. It just means that in order to retain the peace, you might need to be more compromising, but it doesn't make you an unworthy person.
3. Don't dwell on it.
When you feel rejected, it's easy to dwell on it. Why did it happen? Is something wrong with you? Is something wrong with them? Why are they reacting so strongly? Don't they know they're being hurtful? and on and on...
Do yourself a favor and let it go. Rejection happens, but don't obsess over it. If you find yourself stuck in that circular thought pattern, talk to someone. Get out of the house. Do whatever you can to take your mind off it.
4. Spend time with other people.
If you feel rejected, go see other people that make you feel cared about. See an old friend. Cuddle your pet. Hang out with your family. Sometimes rejection makes you get caught up in that person's head, but nothing helps you get out of it like a friend who makes you laugh or a dog who makes you feel important.
5. Confront the feeling.
Feelings are messages. If you're feeling a certain way, there is a reason why. If you feel rejected, it could mean a number of things. It could mean that maybe you're feeling sensitive to rejection. Maybe the rejection is habitual or forming a pattern. Maybe that particular kind of rejection is triggering for you. Dig deep and see what the message is.
6. Write about it.
Write about how you're feeling. Be as honest and open as possible because no one else has to see it. Write about what happened in detail. Then try to write about the good things of the situation. Write about possible solutions or how yu like the situation to be handled next time. Writing is your chance to be creative and emotional. Let yourself be emotional about it and vent your feelings but finding the good is essential too.
7. Work it out.
Physically work out. It will balance your mood and make you feel more confident and accomplished. If you struggle with working out, find something fun you'd like to try. It could be yoga, dance, spin class, swimming.....anything that gets you moving. It's hard to be too bummed about not landing that job when you've just ran three miles or you can finally manage a headstand.
8. Make goals.
Planning things that don't center around your rejecting situation gives you perspective. It helps you move forward, and it keeps you from dwelling. Starting with small goals and working your way up helps you rebuild your confidence when you've taken a blow from rejection. Start with a list of five. Two small goals, two moderately challenging goals and one big goal. Post the list somewhere you can see it and check things off s you go.
9. Don't be afraid to talk about it.
If you're feeling rejected in a personal relationship, confront them about it. You can do this without attacking them or making that person defensive. You just tell them how you feel and use phrases such as "when this happens, I feel this way" instead of "you make me feel this way." If the conversation becomes too heated, take a break and come back to it in a few hours. Its common to feel afraid of talking about rejection with someone who has rejected you because you may think that leads to more rejection. The reality is, the conversation will either help both of you realize how the rejection is unintentional and can be avoided in the future or it will give you direction in growing that relationship.
10. Love yourself through it.
When someone rejects you, the best thing you can do for yourself is say " it's ok, I love me." Endulge in self-care. Treat yourself in a way that makes you feel good. Get a massage. Watch your favorite movie. Do something you love, but rarely take the time to do. Think about the things you love about yourself or all the things you have to offer the world. Compliment your reflection. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. We can't always expect others to make us feel good or validated so it's important to practice doing that for yourself.