Rejection just motivates me to keep trying and to try to do better…
Humans have a fundamental need to belong. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships. That is why getting dumped by someone we’re dating, getting fired from our job, or discovering that our friends have been meeting up without us can have such a huge impact on our emotional well being.
Rejection can be defined as ‘the act of pushing someone or something away’. While rejection can occur when a person asks for a date and is denied or when an individual decides to end a relationship, it might also happen within the relationship. Nonetheless, dealing with job rejection can be equally tough, especially if you face a steady stream of rejection over time. A rejection can lead to feelings of grief that may be overwhelming and can last for weeks, months, or even years. While rejection is typically a part of life, some types of rejection may be more difficult to cope with than others.
Many of the rejections we experience are comparatively mild and our injuries heal with time. But when left untreated, even the wounds created by mild rejections can become “infected” and cause psychological complications that seriously impact our mental well-being. Rejections can cause distinct psychological wounds, the severity of which depends on the situation and our emotional health at the time. Specifically, rejections elicit emotional pain so sharp it affects our thinking, floods us with anger, erodes our confidence and self-esteem, and destabilizes our fundamental feeling of belonging.
Unfortunately, the greatest damage rejection causes is usually self-inflicted. Indeed, our natural response to being dumped by a dating partner or getting picked last for a team is not just to lick our wounds but to become intensely self-critical. We call ourselves names, lament our shortcomings, and feel disgusted with ourselves. In other words, just when our self-esteem is hurting most, we go and damage it even further. Doing so is emotionally unhealthy and psychologically self-destructive yet every one of us has done it at one time or another. Most rejections, whether romantic, professional, and even social, are due to “fit” and circumstance. Going through an exhaustive search of your own deficiencies in an effort to understand why it didn’t “work out” is just misleading.
If your work colleagues didn’t invite you to lunch, grab a drink with members of your football team instead. If your kid gets rejected by a friend, make a plan for them to meet a different friend instead. And when a date doesn’t return your texts, call your grandparents and remind yourself that your voice alone brings joy to others. Working to strengthen resilience and developing a strong support system of trusted family and friends can help those who are sensitive to rejection overcome any sensitivity and reinforce belief in their own values. It’s not possible to avoid rejection if you want to truly develop as a person. Rejection helps you to uncover blind spots, to learn more about yourself, and ultimately to grow.
I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat..
Reader Contribution: Dr. Rukhsana Saifee | Asso. Prof. (English)|Chartered Institute of Technology|Abu Road