Okay, so you just went out and tried to engage someone by making small talk, but you feel that this person gave you the cold shoulder and acted as if she didn’t want anything to do with you?
Well, if you’ve been rejected, at least you’re not alone. That’s because rejection is bound to happen to everyone from time to time.
To be rejected is human; to not let it get to you is divine.
Since rejection is unavoidable, we may as well make friends with it. Yes, rejection doesn’t have to be an enemy, not if you care less.
Rejection Without Dejection
I used to feel really bad whenever I thought someone rejected me, but nowadays I’m pretty free from woe when it occurs. That’s because I acknowledge rejection as a normal part of life and accept it. This allows me to move on quickly. No more ruminating and feeling distraught about it.
Also, I figure even if I were to get rejected as much as 50% of the time, that means I’d still be treated with a friendly attitude the other 50% of the time. And it’s a choice whether to see the glass as half empty or half full.
Jia Jiang, the author of Rejection Proof, sees rejection as a “numbers game” and says, “If I want to get a yes, I just talk to enough people.”
Occupation-wise, salespeople and people in show biz such as actors are notorious for getting rejected a lot. To succeed, they have to keep playing the “numbers game.” The actor Nicholas Hoult has said, “I don’t really have disappointments, because I build myself up for rejection.”
Who the Hell Cares?
Whether it’s social rejection or rejection on the job, here’s how to not only care less but thrive:
Accept it. If you think you were rejected, acknowledge it. Facing the “facts” brings peace of mind.
(Sometimes whether one has actually been “rejected” or not is uncertain–for example, just because somebody declines an invitation or a cashier behaved in a dismissive way doesn’t necessarily mean “rejection.” But it still helps to acknowledge that that’s the way you see it and accept it.)
Accepting things will make things seem a lot better. However, if there’s still pain, it helps to befriend pain as well.
As John Amodeo, Ph.D says, “A big part of our fear of rejection may be our fear of experiencing hurt and pain. If we can have a more friendly, accepting relationship with the feelings that arise within us as a result of being rejected, then we can heal more readily and move on with our lives.”
Demonstrate positive self-regard. Keep on putting yourself up, even if others put you down. After all, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Compliment yourself!
Don’t whine and don’t pine over being rejected. Keep your head up. It may be easier said than done, but practicing kindness towards yourself makes perfect.
Don’t put the person who rejected you on a pedestal, but put yourself on a pedestal. Oprah Winfrey stated, “I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me.”
Embrace humbleness. None of us is the center of the universe, yet that’s okay. Making one’s ego less important results in caring less about rejection while being more considerate of others.
There’s a difference between having self-love versus me, me, me. Self-love helps you get along with yourself and others more, but self-importance will make you feel more vulnerable.
Use rejection as a gauge in how to improve social skills. There could be a “good” reason for being rejected. It could be the result of saying something offensive, so this tells you to be more tactful next time. Or maybe the body language or tone of voice says “Never mind me, I’m just a doormat.” As Dr. Phil says, “We teach people how to treat us.”
Visualizing or practicing in front of a mirror acting in a more confident manner will make rejection less likely and also improve self-image. And when you have a positive self-image, you could care less about being rejected.
What Did You Expect?
As a rule, socially confident people anticipate being accepted by others; socially anxious people, on the other hand, anticipate being rejected.
Due to self-fulfilling prophecy, whether you expect to be accepted or expect to be rejected, you’ll probably make that happen.
To go from expecting rejection to expecting acceptance, there needs to be a change in the mind’s eye. Creatively visualize behaving in a confident way, in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. How would you sit or stand? What would you sound like? How would you approach people? Act it out in your mind.
The bottom line, however, is that although everyone would prefer to be accepted rather than rejected, rejection isn’t really as awful as it may seem. Nevertheless, it’s human to be sensitive to rejection.
So if you can handle rejection, you can probably handle just about anything. And as the cliche goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.