Want to be happy and successful? Build your rejection muscle

Everyone faces rejection at some point in their lives; it is how we deal with it that makes the difference

Man leaving distraught woman; rejection

Anna couldn’t believe the recent phone message from her boyfriend. He said he wouldn’t be calling her anymore. He said it was over. Eventually, after coaxing from a friend, Anna contacted me for life-coaching. We began the process of helping Anna understand how to move past this rejection, toward a more fulfilling life.

Most people will experience rejection multiple times in life. Researchers have found that people who’ve endured rejection experience biases in attention, expectations, and interpretations to further rejection. In order to counteract these reactions, you’ll need to first understand your reactions. Revisiting your ideas about rejection may even help you appreciate its role in your growth.

Why does rejection make me feel this way?

Rejection can be direct [such as being told no] or indirect [such as being excluded]. Humans are wired to seek group inclusion, and thereby we are also wired to experience pain when we’re excluded. Rejection, therefore, often feels painful, even if there’s a logical explanation for the rejection.

In response to painful emotions, your behaviours can range from withdrawal, self-isolation, face-saving attempts, to more aggressive tendencies toward the rejecter.

Humans are wired to seek group inclusion, and thereby we are also wired to experience pain when we’re excluded

How can rejection manifest at home and outside?

At home, a family member might exclude you or say, “No” to your request for something. They may reject you by denying companionship, conversation, closeness or intimacy. Family members may disagree with you, express disapproval or admonish you.

Outside the home, you may experience rejection of your ideas, your work product, your invitation, your application, your gesture for greater connection, and more.

How to deal with rejection?

Instead of letting it control you, you can use rejection to serve you. Let’s see how you can do this.

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This article was first published in the November 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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