These four tips for dealing with rejection will show you how to bounce back and get over the sting of rejection. If you feel physical sick and emotionally humiliated because someone rejected you, you’re normal! Feeling excluded, rejected and abandoned isn’t just emotionally painful, it’s physically harmful.
Being rejected affects your brain the same way physical pain does. Rejection affects the neural circuits of your brain, which means dealing with rejection isn’t just about “getting over it.” It’s about caring for yourself so you can move forward. Learning how to deal with rejection is a process – and what works for some people won’t work for others. In this article, I offer a variety of tips for dealing with the pain of being rejected so you can find what works for you.
If you need to know how to deal with rejection in love, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love. I wrote that when I was dealing with the pain of being rejected by my sister. If you’re dealing with “anticipatory rejection” (the fear of asking somebody out on a date), read How to Overcome Fear of Rejection.
4 Ways to Bounce Over the Pain of Rejection
Here’s my most recent experience with being rejected: I belong to a group of women that meets monthly, and a couple of those women are angry with me. I did something eight months ago – I still don’t know what, even after talking to one of the women – and they don’t like me at all. They want to leave and form their own group. I quickly and easily decided to save them the trouble; I’m leaving the group. It’s easier for everyone.
Here’s how I’m dealing with rejection – as well as the pain of being rejected. Maybe my thoughts will help you learn how to deal with rejection in your own life…
1. See the “silver lining” in the rejection
Research from Johns Hopkins University found that rejection actually affirms uniqueness and creativity for independent people. It confirms what they already feel about themselves – that they’re different and not like the others. For such people, the distinction of rejection is a positive one, and it can lead to greater creativity. But, rejection has the opposite effect on people who value belonging to a group. Rejection inhibits their cognitive ability and is especially painful.
It was easy for me to see the silver lining in my rejection because I wasn’t attached to the women who rejected me. I didn’t care what they thought about me, so bouncing back from being rejected wasn’t too difficult. In fact, their rejection confirmed what I already suspected: I simply didn’t belong in that group.
But rejection still hurts. It’s still painful to be escorted out of something (or kicked out!). Rejection is painful because we’re built for relationships, connection, interaction. Being alone is scary because it threatens our very existence, which is why ostracism and solitary confinement are effective punishments for people. It hurts, especially when you feel rejected by everyone.
2. Be honest with yourself
About my rejection: the truth is that I was judgmental and dismissive of a couple of the women in the group. I didn’t respect them, and I didn’t hide my feelings. I was rude. I didn’t care what they thought or how they felt. Maybe I didn’t “deserve” to be rejected from that group, but I had no problem leaving it. I wasn’t my best self with that group of women, and I knew it.
Sometimes we get rejected for good reason. Sometimes we behave badly, hurt people, say offensive things, damage relationships, or cause problems. If you’re honest with yourself, you may see why you were rejected. This honesty hurts, but it might be the first step to learning how to deal with rejection and the pain that results.
3. Look up and meet the gaze of God
Yesterday I had the best prayer time ever, inspire by Nicky Gumbel’s Bible in One Year. It’s helping me deal with rejection because it affirms my belief that I will never be rejected by the only being who matters.
“The Spirit of the Lord brings radical freedom to our lives,” he wrote. “Freedom from legalism, guilt, condemnation, self-hatred and self-rejection. Freedom from the power of sin, selfishness, manipulation and control. Freedom from the fear of death and fear of what others think of us. Freedom from comparing ourselves with others.”
Do you feel free to use your life and energy to be yourself? You won’t find that freedom in a book or an article on how to deal with rejection. The pain of being rejected can only be healed by God. Why? Because He created you with a hole in your soul. That hole can only be filled by Him – His love, power, and grace.
4. Learn from the rejection you faced
I’ve learned so much from the rejection I just experienced! I have to stop judging people and looking down my nose at them just because they’re different. I have to stop my ego from striving to feel superior and “better than.” I want to live in radical freedom – I want to be free to accept and embrace people for who they are.
What about you – did you do anything that caused the rejection you’ve experienced? If so, learn from it. Don’t make the same mistakes again, in a new relationship. Grieve the pain, practice accepting the pain of rejection, and keep growing forward.
In Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection, Jia Jiang shares the techniques he developed to deal with rejection and develop his self-confidence. He “set himself up” for rejection by deliberately creating conditions to be rejected. It’s really interesting, and encouraging. Jiang describes how to create plans that can’t be derailed by a single setback and develop resilience no matter who rejects you. This book is filled with great stories and valuable insights on how to deal with rejection.
If you’re scared of rejection in your relationship, read Overcoming Fear of Abandonment in Relationships.