Dealing with rejection
subtitles or alternative titles:
Rejectors and the rejected
How to overcome rejection
Coping strategies for the truly rejected
All of us, I'm sure, at one time or another, have been rejected. A rejection is being told a "NO" to our invitation, our offer, or even our question.
How does it feel to be rejected? (see right hand-side)
When we are rejected, we feel invalidated. It feels as though a part or all of our being is being tossed away like an unwanted toy. Although that is the wrong way to feel, we can't help but feel that way. NO is an insult to ourselves, our kindness, our generosity, our good nature.
Take the following example of a guy asking a girl to go out.
"Would you like to meet tomorrow?" -- invitation
"No, I can't." --- rejection
"How about next week?" -- second try
"Sorry, I'm really busy." ---another rejection.
After being rejected enough times, the guy may give up asking. He may lose interest. He may sense that she is not interested otherwise she would offer an alternative. He may need to protect his ego. And he is not a masochist to risk getting hurt again.
At this point, he shouldn't feel rejected. There could be any number of reasons why the answer was no. She might be telling the truth. She might want something more specific, like meeting to do something rather than meeting for meeting's sake.
The golden rule to remember is this: when you get a rejection, do not jump into the conclusion that you are not wanted or liked. A rejection does not invalidate you. It is merely a NO to an object of yours, not to you.
The rule applies unless, of course, somebody tells you directly "I don't like you. I don't love you. I don't want you. I am shouting now. Do you hear me? Is it loud and clear enough? Stop harassing me. I am not your Friend."
In that case, it's a huge rejection. It's a gigantic NO to you and everything that you are. It completely invalidates you.
I have no golden rule for such situations. Fortunately, time heals. How much time? A month? A year? Years? A lifetime?
In the meantime, what do you do with yourself?
Here are a few coping strategies for the truly rejected:
1- Process your emotions. Take your bruised ego on a productive journey. Channel your creative energy to writing, composing, piano playing, baking, and anything else that makes something out of nothing.
2- Do what makes you feel good. For a lot of people, eating (or bingeing) is comforting. But you can risk putting on weight. Similarly, while alcohol may numb your pain, it also gives you unwanted calories and, if you're not careful, hopeless addiction. Going for an all day luxury spa and massage can do no harm, however.
3- Indulge in regular exercise. Run. Cycle. Swim. Dance. Do anything that will make you sweat --- everyday. Get those endorphins to massage your bruised ego.
4- Go away. Go on a holiday. Fly to another country. Unfortunately, you can't get away from yourself. Just remember that. One good thing about going away is that you are away from the environment that reminds you so much of the person who rejected you or the situation under which you were rejected.
5- Talk to people who have been rejected, especially those who have received bigger NO's. You will not only get empathy and sympathy but also get a better perspective on your situation.
6- Reject the rejecter. By allowing yourself to feel bad, you are making the rejecter right and yourself wrong. Who is he to hurt you like this anyway? Anyone with a heart would be more sensitive in saying no. Write a list of all the negative things about the rejecter. Draw ugly monsters. Destroy any positive image you have (previously) of the rejecter. Lo! and behold! You have rejected the rejecter.
7- Don't immediately try to meet other men. This is called the rebound. Be sure you nurse your bruised ego first. This is very important. Otherwise, you will attract the kind of people that like recently rejected souls. Your low self-esteem and the need for validation will send you on another cycle of rejection.
If anyone has more coping strategies, contact me. Next, I will talk about how it feels to be the rejecter.
27 May 2004 Thursday
Related entries & links:
Readers react to rejection - comments on this entry
How does it feel to be rejected? Here are some reactions.
Confused, keep asking why? why? why? why me?
Loss of self-esteem and confidence
Loss of meaning and will to live
Feel wiped out, non-existence as a person
Loss of face, embarrassment, can't face the world
Desperate and destitute
Unable to cope with the simple, everyday things
Vindictive, wanting to retaliate or revenge