That which does not kill us makes us stronger. — Friedrich Nietzsche.
Have you ever faced rejection?
Truth be told, I know the answer. Everyone has.
A better question would be:
Have you ever tried to address rejection, cope with it, live through it and transform it into your power?
So… Have you??
Rejection is an integral part of life.
When you were a child, you faced rejection when other children did not want to play with you.
When you went to school, you felt rejected when your favorite teacher gave you a poor grade on your homework.
Now that you are older, you have to deal with the dating problem. And then you have relationships, job interviews, unfriendly colleagues and so on.
Life is hard, and rejection is one of the things that makes it even more difficult and painful.
But do not get discouraged.
Rejection can become your ultimate source of power — you just need to learn to look at rejection in a positive light. Let’s talk about it some more.
How Rejection Works and Why It Hurts
Rejection is hardly a feeling anyone looks forward to having in their lives. It hurts both emotionally and physically, and humans have evolved to avoid pain at all costs.
People want things to happen easily, without any problems whatsoever. Our brains are just wired this way. We are programmed to avoid problems because they are associated with the negative feelings we have experienced through failure and rejection. Consequently, when most of us face problems, we automatically do not feel happy and satisfied with our lives; we expect bad things to happen. And nobody wants that, right?
Rejection and failure drive us into a vicious cycle of negativity and misery. We keep asking ourselves the same questions:
- Why me?
- Why did it happen to me?
- How on Earth did I deserve it?
- What did I do wrong?
- Why did I fail to do that right?
All of these questions lead to answers like: “I am a loser.” “I cannot do anything right.” “Others are better than me.” These answers are interwoven with self-pity, regret, misery and a deep sense of disappointment in life.
Some people utilize the power of these negative feelings, though. They are like Sith who used the Dark Side of the Force. They take advantage of their internal fear of rejection to work harder and do more. Fear is the thing that drives them forward, not their goals or aspirations.
Despite the negative feelings it evokes, rejection is not necessarily a bad thing. If you learn how to cope with it, rejection is a perfect stimulus for intensive thinking about your life, mission, values and goals. Rejection can provide you a completely new angle from which to look at how you live.
The obvious problem with the latter approach to dealing with rejection is the intensive thinking part. In the same way we are wired to avoid pain and negative feelings, we are loathe to expend excessive amounts of energy.
Our brains are huge energy consumers. Intensive, positive thinking is hard in two ways:
- You have to push yourself to think about rejection, not just react to it. It takes time to train yourself to look at things in a positive way.
- Your brain does everything it can to avoid thinking as a process. It just wants to follow the well-trodden neural paths and save energy.
It is no wonder then that rejection hurts psychologically:
- We react to rejection with negative emotions, which drive us into a loop of negativity
- We think too much about rejection, blame ourselves, and, obviously feel bad.
- We remember the negativity associated with certain actions or people and avoid them at all costs, even though they may not be to blame.
Yet, all of this is true only if you do not know how to cope with rejection. Let’s figure this out!
How to Cope with Rejection in a Positive Way
To begin with, I recommend you set the record straight by simply acknowledging this simple truth:
It is nearly impossible to avoid rejection. Sooner or later, it will creep from the deep to ‘bite’ you when you least expect it. Rejection is just a part of life, of how we humans live.
This is why you should exercise emotional intelligence and be ready to face rejection. Otherwise, you will never be able to transform negativity associated with rejection into knowledge and power.
Here are several tips you can use to apply emotional intelligence to rejection:
- Acknowledge that it did happen. No matter how badly you suffer from being rejected, it is a thing of the past. The worst has already happened, and you do not need to worry about the future.
- Choose your reactions. Successful people share one secret — we can choose how we react to things. It is not in our power to choose events and their aftermath, yet we can control how we respond to the things we cannot control. Respond to rejection positively, and you will see a difference right away.
- Learn through failure. Every rejection you face in your life is a valuable piece of knowledge and experience. You have been rejected, so what? Analyze the situation, learn from it and move on because now you actually know that it is not the end of the world.
- Gain confidence through rejection. Rejection is not just about learning new stuff, it is also about confidence. If you live through failure in a positive manner, you become more confident in yourself because now you know when things work out and when they do not.
- See it as challenge and opportunity. Most people are afraid of being rejected. It is no wonder that they simply run away when there is a tiny chance of rejection. They are not used to living through rejection, but you can see it as challenge and opportunity — to grow as a human being.
Rejection Makes You Stronger
Humans are creatures of habit. Though sometimes this can be a huge negative factor, you can use habitual patterns to train your brain to respond to rejection in a positive manner. It takes time and lots of courage, but it is absolutely worth it.
When you get used to living through rejection, you receive the ultimate power — the confidence that you can handle any problem in your life. This makes you stronger than people who have avoided rejection their entire lives. When they come across rejection, they immediately cave in, but you just keep moving forward to reach your goals and dreams.
Everybody would love to get what they want more easily. The easiest way is not the best way, though. Easy victories will never make you stronger, hardships will.
Would you choose to leave behind your experiences, including rejection, failures and other problems just to get to where you want more easily? Would you choose to become a weaker human being just to reach that place, leaving behind all the problems that made you stronger?
Think about it!
Everything has its price. And very often rejection is the price we must pay to become stronger, more successful individuals and business owners.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com