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12 Healthy Ways to Keep Your Mind Off Rejection or Failure

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12 Healthy Ways to Keep Your Mind Off Rejection or Failure

Failure is earth shattering.  It can halt all of your momentum, crumble your foundation of faith, and cripple you emotionally. At times failure can be so paralyzing that you feel there is no way out. You might find yourself thinking that the idea of success will always be out of reach.

I know how you feel. You’re not alone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heartbreak, a firing, or a friend bails on your highly anticipated lunch – rejection and failure deflates your self worth. But, I assure you, every one has experienced this gut-wrenching numbness before. Some worse than others. Before we dive into healthy ways to remove negativity from your mind when failure happens, because it will, I want to encourage you to stir away from two very volatile, very unhealthy tendencies people have:

  1. The “it could be worse” plague: Gratitude for what you have should be a daily trait. In fact, many highly successful people do it. However, there is a major fault in this mentality because it encourages you to suppress your pain and ignore your problems. If you suppress your pain, you will not face it. If you do not face it, you will not grow. Face your pain instead of getting lost in fantasies about how bad it could really get. I’m giving you permission to feel sad, but only for a little while.
  2. Don’t find comfort in external variables: Again, these act as bandages over a gaping wound gushing uncontrollably. While some external activities are healthy (working out, hanging with friends, laughing), many of us, especially those in our early 20’s to mid-30’s try to hide them in unhealthy habits like excess drinking, non-recreational drug use, and overeating, among others.

Now that we’ve narrowed down the two most extreme ways not to deal with rejection, let’s dive into what can make it better. But, first, please take a deep breath (be honest about it) and remind yourself that it will all work out. Be true when asking yourself, “Doesn’t it always?” 

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1. Talk about it

Like I said, we often want to run as far away as possible from our discomforts and shortcomings, but it always helps to talk it out. If you can’t find words to say to someone, write a letter and send it to them. Or, write yourself a letter to reflect on later.

2. Understand that you are not your failure

You have to forgive yourself or, as my mom says, be kind to yourself. You are not the emotions in your head, nor the voices saying you suck, nor your perceived failures. Externalizing these feelings is something that’s very crucial in overcoming them and building a better life.

3. Look at the failures of your heroes

I find it extremely healthy to examine the shortcomings of people you idolize. Don’t do this with scrutinization. Instead, try to understand that everyone goes through uncomfortable struggles in life. If possible, try to reach out to your hero personally and ask them to expand on what you already know about their story.

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4. Examine your definition of failure

Failure and success are both subjective. Sure, there may be a baseline criteria for both that we’ve been told. But feelings of triumph and ones of letdown are often contrived based on what you feel and what you perceive. Again, be kind to yourself.

5. Start a project or revisit a hobby

Keeping your mind busy is often a great way to overcome past failures. Feelings of success, euphoria, and positive momentum often come from small steps towards a much larger goal or ideal. Hobbies and projects, just like life goals, are all about the process, not the final product. It’s beyond rewarding.

6. Volunteer or perform a random act of kindness for a stranger

This is an easy one, I think. There are always people who are less fortunate than us. Again, I’m not inviting these “it could be worse” thoughts, but there’s significant valor in helping others. It will absolutely make you feel good.

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7. Consume media that makes you feel good

Books, music, movies, whatever. There’s no denying that there’s negativity everywhere we turn. The blues on the news, Law & Order type shows that make us think our neighbor is a serial killer, and constant threats from foreign terrorists that we read about in the newspaper will not invite feelings of motivation. Ever. Carefully craft the media you surround yourself with. I mean, don’t you visit this website to feel good?

8. Reconnect with a relative or close friend

Perhaps this is the person you talk it out with. Even if it’s not, reconnecting with someone you care about is another pretty easy way to remind yourself that there are people in this world who love you. More than you probably realize.

9. Take out a piece of paper and give gratitude (the opposite of the “it could be worse” plague)

The first thing I do every morning (after turning on the light so I can see) is write down one thing I’m thankful for. Some days it’s really deep and geared towards me personally. Other days it’s simple, like giving thanks for how intricate and cool ice cubes are. (Pun intended)

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10. Try to silence your mind for 15 minutes a day

Meditation is misconceived as a Buddhist practice, but everyone can do it and they should. Be forewarned: It’s extremely difficult at first. But just try to think about one word or object and completely focus your mind on that and only that for 5 – 10 minutes a day. What will that accomplish? The strength and ability to let go of the negative mental thoughts that weigh you down. In essence, it’s mental conditioning. It also allows you to realign your heart and intuition.

11. Redecorate the place you spend a lot of time in (office, home, ect.)

Where you live and how you decorate plays a surprisingly large roll in your happiness. Are your walls tattered in things that inspire you? If you’re not into decorating, are your walls a color that you like? Something that evokes happiness, prosperity, and hope? Sometimes redecorating the place you spend a lot of time in can give you a fresh perspective.

12. Smile

Life is meant to enjoy. Peaks and valleys come a dime a dozen, and there’s no controlling either of them. I had a wise old friend once tell me that, “We have to remind ourselves that it’s all just a ride.” We have the conscious choice on how to feel. No matter our level of failure or heartbreak or rejection, no one can dictate how you think and feel but you.

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Don’t forfeit that power to anyone, yourself included.

Featured photo credit: Woman Gracefully Falling & Jumping Of Tree In Field/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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