I am in a couple of Facebook groups that are dedicated to relationships and how to make them better. One of them is comprised mainly of people who have been broken up with or are going through a breakup or divorce. The cool thing about this group is that the majority of its members are doing the work to better themselves, so there is a lot of accountability.
Every once in a while though, someone posts some nasty vitriol about an ex or some whiny diatribe about how they were wronged and victimized. Some of the people truly were, there are tales of abuse and narcissism that would raise goosebumps on even the most hardened of mental health professionals. A lot of the people posting these other tirades however, are clearly at the beginning of their self help journey and have yet to do some inner work and there is a resounding disregard for how their actions could have impacted their current reality (this isn’t a judgment, I was that person not too long ago). Most of the pain that they write about is from being rejected and feeling like they aren’t good enough. This was a huge topic in one of the groups today and it got me thinking…
We have all been rejected… many, many times. It is interesting though that rejection plays such a huge part in our growth and development, yet so many people avoid taking the risks to avoid the possibility of being rejected. In relationships especially, there is so much weight to be perfect for this other person one is engaging with. This type of thinking is flawed. What are the chances, with a population of more than 7 billion people, that your soul mate lives five minutes away or will be the first person you swipe right on (or is it left… ). Probably pretty slim, and I also think this means there are a lot of people that a romantic relationship could work with. Do I think there are these once in a lifetime connections? Absolutely. I have one. But they are, in my experience, few and far between, or perhaps…. once in a lifetime!
Feelings of rejection come in, once again, when we have an attachment to a certain outcome. We want love, the person we have feelings for says they don’t love us. We want that dream job, we don’t land the interview. We want to make oodles of money and we fail in business. None of these events is comfortable, but whose to say that losing that love didn’t allow for another, even deeper connection to come in. Or that job… maybe not landing the interview meant you weren’t ready for the position and preparing a little more would result not just in snagging that job but the capacity to perform better in the required tasks. We fail in business, but the things we learned along the way so that we can try again and be successful are invaluable.
There are so many things in life that come down to perspectives. Everything really… Every situation in life and how it is processed and interacted with comes down to the perspective you take. We have this incredible capacity to make every situation a learning experience to pull from the positives, or our own unique form of hellish misery.
How do I ease the pain of perceived rejection?
I recognize that it isn’t rejection and often times isn’t personal. Yes, relationships are different in that there is a kind of personal rejection, but… rejection is such a nasty word. How about incompatibility. Even just changing the language of that one word eases the tension a little. Just think, if I am looking for that once in a lifetime relationship I have a 1 in 7 billion or so chance of finding it, of course I’m going to “reject” a lot of people, the same goes for that person you are about to have a first date with! Being incompatible with someone just means you weren’t a match, it doesn’t mean you weren’t enough!!!
When looking at the job scenario, YOU are not being personally rejected, your work might be, the results of your laziness and procrastination might be but as a person and a being you are not. Same as the failure of a business, these pitfalls are more a reflection of poor preparation, sloth, mistakes in decision making, but are not in fact a personal rejection. Are there times of true rejection… absolutely. But most of the time coming to the conclusion that it isn’t personal is easier than one would think. Sure, it still hurts, there will be grief and tears and a process to go through and it is a rare day that I can face a feeling of rejection and shift it in the moment. In fact, when I feel rejected I have to stop and really remove myself from the situation and very mindfully figure out what my takeaways are.
There is life after rejection. The quickest and simplest way that I know to reclaim that power and move forward is to take some time to figure out what was gained from that situation. Think of all of the experience, the wisdom, the strength and resilience added to your pot of skills. Then you take all of those things and melt them together and mold them into a new goal and you set forth knowing you are a little bit wiser and a lot more prepared the next time around. Maybe you learned you needed to set boundaries, maybe you learned you needed to acquire a certain skill to be a better candidate, maybe you realize you need to learn better money management in order for your business to be a success. Whatever it is, no matter the depths of hell you just went through, there are lessons there. Is this easy to do real time? Fuck no. Sometimes it isn’t easy to do for weeks or months, but if you open yourself up to seeing the possibility that there were lessons to be gained then you are setting yourself up for a resilient rebound and ultimately a game with clearer rules and increased chance for success.
Don’t fear rejection. That is the simplest way to end up dying with regret. Take the chance. Kiss the guy (or girl). Open your heart, go for that big idea. After all what is rejection really but a second chance at success. ❤ ❤