I knew I wanted to write about rejection, but I didn’t know how to get started. Well, that all changed one morning, a week ago, when I was at the train station. I was in line to board the train when I decided to move to another line which was much shorter. Well, that didn’t work out so well. As soon as I changed lines, the door shut in my face and the train took off. I can say in a weird way, I felt rejected. This isn’t really the type of rejection I wanted to discuss, however, the way I handled it seemed appropriate and helpful.
When I think of rejection, I think of excluding someone or pushing them away. Some people are able to handle rejection easily. After rejection, they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move forward. Others, may have a history of rejection, so they may have a harder time bouncing back. For instance, if your parent walked out on the family when you were a child, you may still be deeply hurt. You may feel rejected by the parent that left and for the majority of your life, you fear rejection. You constant worry that others will exclude you or push you away. When this does happen, you are devastated, hurt, angry, or sad. If you have a history of rejection, these feelings can be triggered by anything. A friend cancelling lunch, your partner breaking up with you, or you did not get a promotion. Whatever it may be, it’s devastating. It reminds you of the rejection and loss you suffered earlier in childhood.
Besides abandonment of a child of parent, other forms of rejection that could have a life long effect on you could be:
Whatever it was, it hurt. I understand. Now you are worried about it happening again. You are constantly worried, sad, angry, and fearful and it is affecting your relationships and how you see the world. You are having a hard time making friends, building relationships or moving forward with your life goals due to fear of rejection.
Well, unfortunately, you can’t change the past. What you can do is see rejection in a different light, so you are able to move past it. So how can you deal with rejection head on?
It’s Not About You It’s About Them
So let’s go back to me and the train. The train had a schedule to keep, that is why the door shut. I can’t be mad at that. It was not about me, it was about the train getting to where it needed to be, on time. In regards to the person that may have rejected you, it is not about you, it’s about them. Your parent left because of what was going on with them. Your partner left because they didn’t want to be there anymore. Maybe it wasn’t a good match. Maybe the job promotion was not a good fit. Whatever the situation, you don't need to own it. It is not about you.
Sit Down, Regroup, And Start Over
Back to the train analogy, this is exactly what I did at the train station. After the door slammed in my face, I sat down, told myself it was okay because there was another train coming in a few minutes. Then I took out my pen and starting writing this blog. After you get through the shock of your rejection, take a seat, tell yourself it will be okay, and think about how to proceed. If I would have sulked around and remained in my hurt, I would have missed the other trains. Remember, there will always be another train. If you are stuck in your rejection, you may be missing out on another partner, another friendship or another job offer. Just be patient.
Embrace Your Feelings About The Situation
Embrace the situation for what it is. I missed the train. I was angry at the train operator for not seeing me. I was irritated at myself for trying to cut corners. So, you weren’t promoted. Embrace the feelings. Are you angry, sad, frustrated or jealous? Feel it. We have feelings for a reason. It’s when we act on them, that we get ourselves in trouble. Release your feelings in a healthy way. Did you do your best during the interview? Is there room for improvement? Maybe it is a blessing in disguise.
What Were The Lessons Learned
What did I learn when I missed the train? Don’t cut corners. Don’t switch lines at the train station. Be patient. How about you? What did you learn from your relationship after someone walked out on you? Did you learn that you need to set boundaries with the next person you fall in love with? Did you learn you have to speak up for yourself? Instead of remaining stuck in the experience, learn from it.
Yes, rejection does not feel good, however, it doesn’t have to take you down. Yes, it may hurt, but don't let it stop you from getting to where you are trying to go. I will continue to ride the train, because I have places I need to go.
Is rejection stopping you from getting to where you want to go? How?
I am a therapist who helps individuals who are motivated to transform their inner voice of self-doubt and self-criticism into a powerful voice of positive self-talk and self-trust. We help individuals recognize their inner worth, build their self-esteem and speak their truth.