No one really likes to be rejected, right? Sure, some people deal with it better than others. Like if you’re a sales person and hearing “no” fires you up and gets you excited to find another way to get to “yes.” But those people are rare.
For the vast majority of us, hearing “no” or “you’re not good enough” or anything along those lines can have any affect ranging from mild annoyance to life-altering, catastrophic thoughts.
We all handle it differently. But we would all be better off if we just learned how to beat the fear of rejection and be able to handle whatever life throws our way.
But first, let’s talk about the word “failure.”
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What Does Failure Really Mean?
To most people, “failure” is a dirty word. It’s just about the worst word you can be associated with. Because who wants to be labeled a failure, right? Or even have a singe failure in your life?
But let’s get real. ALL of us “fail” from time to time. And l really hate the word failure. It is so negative and implies that there is something wrong with you – or that you did something wrong.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any of us. We’re all different, and we all have our own talents.
So instead of defining failure in terms of shame, look at it as a learning experience.
For example, let’s say you’re divorced. Some people would label that as a “failure.” You know… a “failed” marriage.
Sure, it’s true that the marriage ended in divorce. But why is that automatically a failure? Hopefully you learned something about yourself, marriage, and what to do better next time.
See? “Failure” can really be a learning experience. And it can make your life better.
Now, let’s look at how you can overcome the fear of rejection, so you don’t see yourself as a “failure.”
How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection
Now that you hopefully realize that “failure” is not a death sentence and can actually be a good thing, let’s look at how you can beat the fear of rejection.
1. Redefine the Meaning of Rejection
Just like we’ve re-defined the meaning of “failure,” we also need to re-define the meaning of “rejection.” Most people think it means you’re “not good enough.” But what does that mean, really? That’s not an objective, truthful statement. Instead, it’s completely subjective.
For example, let’s say you went on a first date and they never called you again. Sure, you could look at it as rejection and that you’re not good enough for them. Or, you could see it as a blessing. Thank God that person didn’t like you, because now it frees you up to find someone who really does. See the difference?
2. Examine Your History with Rejection
We all have a past, and it starts with our childhood. Some people are lucky and are born into loving families who build up your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself. But not all.
A lot of people are born into families who tear them down and make them feel “not good enough.” And as a result, they probably have a self-fulfilling prophecy going on in their lives.
Whether it’s not getting the jobs they want, or accepting bad behavior from romantic partners, your history with rejection is directly related to how you deal with it.
3. Look at What You’re Doing (Or Not Doing)
Sometimes we do play a part in the rejection. That doesn’t mean we’re a bad person, a loser, or a failure. It just means that we can examine our behavior to see how we can change it so we can be more successful.
For instance, maybe someone broke up with you because you were chasing them and acting needy. Well, you can change that next time! Or you didn’t get a job because your interview skills weren’t up to par. Well, you can change that too!
See what I’m getting at?
4. Expect the Rejection
This is not what it actually sounds like. I’m not suggesting that you see yourself as a loser who always gets rejected, so you always expect it.
What I really mean is that we usually put too much negative energy into what we fear. In other words, if you envision yourself getting rejected by someone (or something), then you can get “comfortable” with it.
If you “expect it,” then when it happens, you won’t be as devastated. This is tricky to do while keeping a positive attitude, but it can be done.
5. Let Go of the Victim Mentality
“Why me? Why me? Why do bad things always happen to me?” That’s called a victim mentality. It implies that you are powerless in life and that you have no control over what happens to you.
That is totally wrong. Sure, we can’t control everything that happens to us. What we CAN control is how we react to it, how we think about it, what we do with it in the future. That is all within our control.
But if you have a victim mentality, you’ll never be happy.
6. Develop Realistic Expectations
Say if you just graduated college, and you applied for a six-figure job that requires ten years of experience. And you don’t get the job. Ummm. Why would you? Your experience doesn’t match the requirements. So technically, you weren’t rejected. You just had unrealistic expectations.
This goes for anything else in life. Sure, we’d all like to date a super model who is a millionaire, but come on, how many of those do you now? Exactly my point.
7. Look at Life as a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Sometimes we get over-ambitious or impatient with the things we want. We live in a culture of people who want immediate gratification. We want it… and we want it NOW.
Well, life doesn’t work that way. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Just because you’re getting rejected now, doesn’t mean you will always get rejected. It just means it’s not the right time.
8. Embrace Rejection as Part of Personal Growth
You can get rejected, wallow in your negative feelings and never get over it. Or, you can look at rejection as way to grow as a person.
What did you learn from getting rejected? How can you improve the way you think, or what you do?
If you just let rejection ruin you, and you don’t use the experience to grow as a person, then you are probably doomed to repeat it.
9. Rejection Gets You Closer to What You Want
Just because someone or something didn’t want you doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone or something (or many) that DOES want you!
I look back on my life and realize that everything I got rejected from was leading down a different path, which turned out way better than my original plan.
But the problem is that you can only realize how great the rejection was in retrospect – once you gain some insight when it become the past.
Trust me, it does happen if you have the right attitude.
10. Trust Yourself Enough to Know You’ll Survive
Ironically, sometimes being rejected isn’t the REAL fear. That sounds strange, right?
The REAL fear is not being able to cope with the rejection. You think that your world will fall apart, and you will crumble as a person.
But think about it. If you get rejected, how is your life any different than it was yesterday? It’s NOT! And you survived yesterday just fine, right? It’s just that your expectations were violated. You survived before, and so you can survive this too!
11. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
There is a great song by Garth Brooks that I absolutely love, Standing Outside the Fire. If you’ve never heard it, some of the lyrics go like this:
“Life is not tired, it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.”
He’s talking about the fire of life. Not everything in life feels good. We all have challenges. But if you choose not to put yourself “out there” because you fear rejection, then you miss out on all the good stuff too.
If you don’t try something out of fear of rejection, then you’re not really living. You’re just surviving.
As I hope you can see by now, rejection is all in the mind. You can’t feel rejected unless you allow yourself to feel rejected. Sounds crazy, but it’s true!
So, don’t take rejection or so-called “failure” personally. We’ve all been there. And the difference between people who are resilient to it and keep going and those who don’t, is a simply difference in perspective.
More Articles About Mental Strength
- How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You
- How to Develop Mental Toughness to Help You Stay Strong
- 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
- How to Be More Confident (the Definitive Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured photo credit: Casey Callahan via unsplash.com