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Rejection Is No Longer Painful If We Look at It Differently

Rejection Is No Longer Painful If We Look at It Differently

‘You are great. But…’

Perhaps it’s a typical rejection line we hear from time to time. Whenever we hear the word ‘but’, we know that the result is going to disappoint us.

There’re too many occasions we might be rejected: when you ask someone you love out, when you apply for the job you have been dreaming of, or just simply when you ask your friends if they want to spend the holiday with you.

A simple answer, one word, two letters, ‘NO’, would already make us think a lot. Did I do something wrong? Am I not good enough? Sometimes this powerful word even causes us pain.

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Being rejected is indeed awful. But it’s something would inevitably happen from time to time. This gives us a good reason to learn how to deal with it.

We feel sad because we don’t truly know what rejection means

Think of the last time you were rejected. How did you react to it?

The most immediate reaction after being rejected is often feeling upset and frustrated. People tend to take it personally and think they’re not good enough. Self-doubt often arises and thus the lowering of self-esteem.

This has no use in helping them get back to the right track. And this also clearly shows people don’t truly understand what rejection means.

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Rejection can mean mismatch of values

Sometimes rejection comes when you don’t share the same values, belief or personality with your date or your dream job. An introverted boy is likely to be rejected by an outgoing girl if she is looking for someone like her to be her partner. And it might not be surprising to see a social media editor being rejected by a traditional newspaper publisher. It’s just simply because you don’t share the same belief.

Rejection can mean a lack of understanding

It takes some time to really know a person. But in an interview, the interviewer only has a limited time to get to know you. How can you really understand a person within just 30 minutes? So he/she can only tell if you’re a suitable candidate with your self-created perception. If you’re too nervous or not being natural, you can’t truly show who you really are. So sometimes what they reject is not the real you, but your self-created image under stress.

Rejection isn’t only about you, but also the rejecter

An interview is not like an examination. Sometimes being rejected doesn’t mean you’re not at the top of the list. Perhaps it’s because you’re too good to be taken. The date or the interviewer may feel insecure to accept you. A small company might not hire someone who has a doctorate degree to be a receptionist. Your date might indeed feel that he/she doesn’t deserve you. Rejection is not only about you, and also about the one who rejects.

Rejection can be a blessing in disguise

People are rejected not because they’re not good enough to reach the standard. It’s about suitability. Every time when you’re rejected, this tells you that the job, the date, or anything you have longed for is not suitable for you. This actually helps you to filter out what doesn’t suit you. And the options you haven’t considered may surprisingly match your interest and need.Being rejected can be a process helping you to find your best fit.

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When we realize that there’re so many possibilities in rejection, we wouldn’t take rejection too personally. But what still bothers us is how to get rid of the negative loop. And here’s what you can do:

Divert the attention from rejection

You can’t be really happy when you’re rejected. So the first step is to deal with the immediate aftermath. The frustration you feel is awful but like the other time when you feel upset, try to give yourself a cool down period. Divert your attention from rejection by doing something you like or simply taking a rest: go for a walk, take a nap, or have a nice meal. This helps to recharge yourself physically and mentally.

Reframe the rejection

The cool down period helps clear your mind and see things more objectively. And now, it’s time for you to reframe the rejection. Don’t focus on the fact that you’re rejected but instead, see it in another perspective. If you ask someone on a date and he/she say no, instead of saying ‘he/she rejected me’, say ‘he/she said no’. If you apply for a position and fail, say ‘I didn’t get the job’ instead of ‘they rejected my application’. See? Avoid saying the word ‘reject’. This way you are framing the rejection as something not personal.

Learn from the rejection

Rejection is always helpful in the sense that it helps you identify what is more suitable for you. When you’re rejected, this means you might not be suitable for whatever you want. If you find what you pursued before might not be the best option for you, you should look for alternatives.

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But if you insist that’s the best option, no matter it’s your date or your job, then you should learn from the experience. If your date says no, try to ask why. Perhaps you have said something wrong, or you have bored him/her. Then you can make adjustments according to the feedback. Even if you don’t know why he/she says no, you can still do it in a different way next time because you know the old trick doesn’t work.

Rejection doesn’t always mean you’re not good enough. If you realize that rejection is a way to help you find what truly fits you, someday you’ll find what is perfect for you and be accepted.

Featured photo credit: Dawn Kim via ideas.ted.com

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Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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