How to Face Rejection in a Healthy Way?
Rejection is unavoidable in life. It can be challenging to come to terms with and might make you feel that your self-worth is dwindling and you aren’t good enough. But consider that rejection is a natural occurrence. Rejection does not have to be a bad experience. In fact, it may present an opportunity for advancement. It can be a form of self-protection, allowing us to avoid being hurt by people who do not care or wish to harm us. It can also be a way for our minds to protect themselves from the emotional pain of loss and failure. Rejection is unpleasant, but there are healthy ways to deal with it. Let’s walk through this blog to figure out how to take care of dealing with rejection in a healthy way.
The Need to Deal with Rejection
We must deal with rejection because it is a part of life. When we are rejected in any fashion, it is critical to take a step back and consider why we were rejected in the first place.
It’s crucial to realize that rejection doesn’t always imply that you did something wrong. Sometimes the person who rejects you, your proposal, or your idea has their own motivations. It could be because they are uninterested in what you are doing, lack the resources, or simply do not want to deal with it right now.
Rejection is a natural part of life. It can stir up feelings of guilt or shame. It is important to distinguish what you are feeling and learn to navigate them.
Coping with Rejection
Have you ever felt yourself nodding and leaning in as your friend does the same thing? You may not have even noticed or thought that you were just doing it. That is an example of a mirror. Mirror neurons are fascinating mechanisms that occur in our brains. Quoting Dr. Brené Brown, “Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”
Often, it is the connection that drives us to do things to create things. Or the fear of connection will also drive us. So what happens when we perceive that that connection, relational capital, has been gone/snapped? There’s a host of emotions that come up. Rejections can bring up guilt. “I did something wrong.” Or shame, “There is something wrong with me.”
‘Several interpersonal emotions are triggered by rejection, whether genuine, anticipated, remembered, or imagined. When people believe their relational value to others is poor or in peril, they experience hurt feelings, jealousy, loneliness, shame, guilt, social anxiety, and embarrassment. Sadness and rage may accompany these rejection-related emotions. Still, they are responses to aspects of the rejection episode other than low relationship worth’. 
You need to name the hurt. You need to label the emotions that you’re feeling about the situation. The more you articulate precisely how you feel, the better you can process. You need to name the hurt and share the story that resulted in the hurt. The essence of processing is naming the hurt, allowing the body to feel that hurt physically, and sharing the story.
Emily Nagoski, in her ‘Burnout’ book, discusses the principle of finishing the emotional tunnels. You need to finish the emotional tunnels of the things that hurt you. Avoiding situations or people and not talking about the rejection will not make it go away.
Dr Bessel van der Kolk, author of the book ‘The Body Keeps the Score,’ coined the term ‘Developmental Trauma Disorder’ and talks about traumatized people typically seeking shortcuts to oblivion with a map of the world based on trauma, abuse, and rejection/neglect. They are hesitant to attempt new possibilities because they fear rejection, ridicule, and deprivation and are sure they will fail . And this is true for rejection. Our body would continue to keep that rejection even if we avoided it. That is why talking about your rejection and processing it is so important.
Significance of Talking about Rejection
In talking about the rejection, you may find that perhaps the hurt was a perceived rejection. If you were made for the community in connection, talking about your hurt with the person is essential. You may find that they did not actually intend to hurt you. If you are in a relationship with this person, then go have a conversation.
“I felt sad and hurt because ______.” “The story I told myself was __.” If it was not a perceived rejection, then expressing yourself and implementing boundaries is helpful. For example, “ I felt sad when you mentioned the trip while we were all together. I would appreciate it if you did not talk about that with me.”
If you have identified shame is the emotion. Then reframing the story internally. “I feel shame and sadness. It made me think I was not enough. But I am choosing to re-write that in my head. They didn’t want to help, it has nothing to do with my worth.”
Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Though it might sound like he was making fun, he had a solid point there. Healthy boundaries, communication, and forgiveness make a good connection.
Dr Bradshaw said that forgiveness is relational breathing. And at some point in your journey of waiting through rejection, you will need to get to this final step.
Desmond Tutu lays out forgiving as
- Naming the hurt
- Sharing your story
- Releasing or Reconciling.
Interestingly enough, the road to dealing with rejection looks a lot like forgiving. It does not negate or invalidate your emotions. It does not mean it is okay what the person did. If you don’t forgive, bitterness and resentment can form in your heart. And that bitterness and that resentment will only poison you. But processing through the hurt and sadness will be a protective mechanism so that you don’t develop resentment toward others and bitterness
Rejection is hard. Don’t stay there. It is messy and can be challenging, but it is human. Name the hurt or share your story. Seek relational reconciliation. Live in the community. Don’t isolate or avoid. You were made for connection. Recognize that rejection is an inevitable aspect of life. Allow yourself to experience discomfort and give yourself time to recover. Look for a friend or family member who can help you at this difficult time.
If you’re having trouble with your mental health due to rejection, don’t be afraid to seek treatment from a therapist or psychiatrist.