What to Do When You Feel Rejected

by Janet Ong Zimmerman on 07/07/2015

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How Rejection Runs Our Lives

Most of us have a fear of rejection.  We’ve been rejected and felt the painful emotions that follow; or we’ve felt badly about rejecting someone.  Either way, rejection feels yucky and holds us back.  It causes us to do things like:

  • Avoiding anything that has to do with the possibility of being rejected
  • Doing whatever we can to be accepted, even if it means not being true to our values and compromising our integrity
  • Trying to please others, many times at the expense of our own happiness
  • Not expressing our true thoughts and feelings
  • Making assumptions instead of asking for clarification
  • Self-sabotage ourselves by acting and behaving in unflattering ways
  • Negatively judging ourselves, having it define who we are, or not thinking we’re worthy enough
  • Shrinking into a lesser version of ourselves which doesn’t allow our inner beauty to shine
  • Not put ourselves out there

If you’re afraid of rejection or think of rejection as a bad thing, you’re not alone. Rejection is one of the most distressing experiences that people try to avoid.  But rejection can actually be a good thing.

Rejection is What You Make it Mean

The act of rejection itself is actually okay.  Our egos assign a negative meaning to rejection – this is what makes rejection seem bad.  Here’s what I mean…

Let’s say you’ve been steadily going out with a guy these past two months.  He tells you he wants to see other women and also go out with you.  You want to be exclusive with him.  Because he wants to see other women, you may think he wants more because you’re not enough (your ego is hurt => negative meaning assigned).

The truth is, what he wants is a blessing in disguise.  Since you’ve learned his true intentions early on, you no longer need to spend more time on someone who isn’t wanting what you want.  Also, his desire to go out with other women may be because he just got out of a long-term relationship and isn’t looking for commitment.  This is really about his preference, and not because you’re not enough.

Why You Should Care Less About Being Rejected

If you’re not putting yourself out there in your love life because you don’t want to face rejection, your intentions may be good because you’re wanting to protect yourself.  Yet what you may not realize is you’re unintentionally rejecting yourself.  This is because by not putting yourself out there, you aren’t showing up as your real self.

By not showing up as your real self, you can’t experience a meaningful connection or be loved for who you are.  In other words, you’re rejecting the potential to have a deep and meaningful romantic relationship.

The best way to start putting yourself out there is by being your true self.  When you’re being your true self, you are accepting and loving all of who you are – the good, self-perceived bad, quirks and all.  This means you’ll be more apt to take things at face value instead of jumping to negative conclusions about yourself if he doesn’t want to commit to you.  You’ll see yourself through more loving eyes and be able to move on with more ease.

How to Reduce the Sting of Rejection

Rejection will always be a part of life because when things don’t go your way or happen the way you want, your natural reaction is to feel bad.  When this happens, instead of jumping to negative conclusions about yourself, take some deep breaths to center yourself.  Then take these steps:

  1. When you’re centered, gently nudge your attention to the present moment.
  2. Feel into the emotions that are coming up for you.
  3. Reflect on the meaning you assigned that preceded these emotions.
  4. Observe the meaning with curiosity and judgment-free awareness.
  5. Think of other meanings you could assign that leave you feeling neutral or lift your mood a bit.
  6. Look for the blessings that may transpire from the rejection – if this is difficult, reflect on the ways that experience is happening for your greater good.

As you practice those steps, there will be moments when you assign a negative meaning about yourself.  When this happens, be kind and compassionate with yourself.  Trying to break yourself from years of how you’ve been conditioned to react to rejection takes time, patience and practice.

Practicing on a consistent basis will shift the way you see and experience rejection.  The more you practice, the less you’ll jump to negative conclusions about yourself.  How has the message in this article shifted your views about rejection?

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