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12 Healthy Ways to Keep Your Mind Off Rejection or Failure

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.

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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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