Friend, it’s no secret that rejection is probably the biggest thing I (and many of my coaching clients) struggle with. Can you relate? It is absolutely my kryptonite, which is probably why I have never really explored it here on my blog.
...Because that’s hard.
I did mention it on social media last month as we explored Day 27 of the Find Your Why & Live To Thrive Guide…. And your responses both public and private to me during that time made me see that this is a subject worth exploring further with you, for sure!
I’m sure that you and I both have experienced the feeling of being disliked, overlooked, dismissed or ignored through various interactions or events in life.
I vividly remember that first pang of rejection. I was 6 years old. A school friend didn’t invite me to her “Barbie” birthday party. I was devastated when I found out. I didn’t dare ask her or enquire the reason. I took it personally. I wasn’t good enough.
As we move through the stages of life from school and study to work-life, rejection unfortunately comes along for the ride.
And it really doesn’t feel good at all.
Post “Barbie,” and I can recount all of the rejections.... not getting into the school I wanted, being rejected for perfect jobs, being dismissed by a boyfriend, overlooked by a friend or for a job promotion….
Can you relate?
Rejection literally hurts, and it hurt me and ate away at my confidence and self-worth.
Why does the pain of rejection wound us so deeply?
I found it super interesting to learn that when scientists had volunteers in an MRI machine recount a rejection story, they were surprised. Their studies revealed that the same areas of the brain that experience pain are activated when we experience rejection. That’s because the experience of rejection actually piggybacks on the neurological pathways to physical pain.
So crazy…. but it totally makes sense that when we experience this type of emotional pain, it 100% needs to be soothed.
To dream, dare and live authentically also means that we are almost guaranteed to have some rejection and criticism happen in our lives. I might even argue that if it doesn’t happen, then maybe you’re not daring and dreaming large enough!
Learning to move through the emotions attached to rejection/criticism is the key to a thriving life, and here are a few strategies to give you a healthier and better way to process it:
#1 Call on your inner circle.
As previously mentioned, getting rejected whether it happens socially or romantically can totally rock every part of our world and our need to belong. A great way to soothe the pain is to connect with your inner circle. Reach out to your core group of friends, work colleagues and family members to strengthen feelings of being loved, cared and valued emotionally to get yourself back on your feet.
#2 Acknowledge and reflect on the emotion.
Failure to acknowledge your emotions can lead to terrible physical illnesses. Avoid pushing down this pain, and it only perpetuates your suffering. Understanding and coming to terms with rejection can mean tapping into the root cause.
Our fear of rejection and the feelings that surface in being rejected are based on some specific belief. What are your beliefs around rejection? Is it fear around not being loved, being alone or not being valued or good enough?
I want to stress that this process involves you being kind to yourself. There’s no gold medal for rushing a dialogue with the heart. You are seeking answers within and they may take time to reveal themselves. Please, friend... love yourself deeply through this process (and download my free self-love guide to help you!
#3 Learn and grow from the experience.
While rejection might seem like punishment at the time, it can also be a hidden gift. Use the experience as an opportunity to revaluate your thoughts, feelings and behaviors to determine ways you can grow and become a healthier person.
It can also be a time to take stock of the people around you. Who in your life uplifts and inspires you to be your best, and who drags you down into a toxic soup of negativity? Who do you need to move towards, and whom do you need to walk away from?
We sometimes forget that a rejection is merely an action and not an emotion. You may not be able to control rejection, but you certainly can control the way you mentally and emotionally respond to it.
I created a free guide to help you navigate loving yourself well through your emotional response. I truly hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.
Ultimately, knowing the beliefs you have around rejection will help you to heal, to feel lighter and stronger, like an emotional burden has been lifted. Because friend…. you will be turned down in life for all sorts of reasons, but those reasons have nothing to do with who you are as a person. Let that truth penetrate every nook and cranny of your heart and download my free guide to help you even further.
In what ways have you struggled with rejection? I'd love to hear your heart about this in a comment below...