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Rejection Is No Longer Painful If We Look at It Differently

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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 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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