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Everyone is told NO at one point or another in their life.

Most of the time when we hear it, we don’t like it.

There is a nagging, defeated, and negative energy that has attached itself to rejection. Most of the time it doesn’t even matter what type of rejection we have experienced, we often do not feel good about ourselves or the outcome when the word NO is involved.

We have all been rejected in SO many ways, but here are some common forms:

  • By family and friends who we thought would always have our back
  • Goals and dreams that seem permanently blocked
  • Career, school, and life purpose
  • Relationships: with people we love and want to commit to, and with people we wish we never have met, or both
  • Unfortunate life circumstances can produce feelings of rejection and pain
  • Emotional challenges where we just want to be and feel “normal”
  • We also reject ourselves (we will talk more about this)

An all-too-common underlying source of unhappiness and emotional stress is rejection. Everyone has encountered it in some way, or in many ways, throughout their life.

And guess what? We are all likely to experience rejection in our future too.

Rejection attacks our core: self-esteem, emotional wellness, faith, mental and physical health, and takes a major hit upon our hope.

Let’s break this down…

Self-esteem:

When we are rejected, for any reason, it impacts the way we see ourselves. Rejection may cause us to question our appearance, skills or qualifications, character, and our future success. And when we do not feel good about ourselves, this results in low self-esteem, which can be difficult to recover from.

Emotional wellness:

Similar to our self-esteem, our emotional wellness is also impaired when we face rejection. Our feelings may become unmanageable as we feel a deep loss of control in our lives. Simple things that we may have just overlooked when we are feeling like ourselves, now cause us great frustration or sadness, because rejection is at the core of our negative emotions.

Faith:

Regardless of what faith (or any) that you may practice, rejection can attack our belief in the unseen and keep us stuck on our present circumstances. If we do not believe in the seemingly impossible aspects of life, our goals and future are left in jeopardy because rejection has zapped our faith in life itself.

Mental and Physical Health:

If rejection remains ignored, we are likely to see the results show up in our mental and physical being. Emotional and social challenges such as depression and isolation can quickly surface. Health ailments resulting from the stress of rejection might also creep up on us. Rejection has power to impact our general well-being in surprising ways.

Hope:

This is a big one, and very closely tied to faith. When we face rejection, it may hit us where it really hurts: by consuming our hope. If we do not have hope for change in our lives: whether it’s a new job, a relationship, or simply feeling better about life in general, we will live defeated lives. At its worst, a loss of hope can cause extreme despair, resulting in many cycles of negative thoughts and behaviors, simply because we do not have hope for a good life anymore.

Rejection takes a lot out of us, as it impact so many aspects of our life and character. It is an exhausting experience and can also become consuming if we are not aware of its impact and learn to accept it for what it is: an experience, and not an end to life.

While we cannot avoid rejection, we can do our part to recognize it for what it is and stop it before it attacks our core and starts to tear us apart.

Rejection, while it is a form of denial, does not have to result in the lingering negativity associated with it. What if we spin it and look at rejection as a form of hope for better things in life? Or view rejection as a way to redirect us to something else? Perception is important…

I know…being rejected from a job when you really need one is not immediately seen as a blessing. But later when you do land a better job you can look back and see the rejection as a fortunate event.

Being rejected from love never feels good. But when we realize that the rejection spared us some serious pain and wasted time, we can look back and see that the rejection was actually good for us. Single or not, who really wants to be in an unhealthy, unbalanced relationship?

Being rejected from family is one of the toughest experiences we encounter in life. Family is supposed to be an ongoing symbol of unconditional love and support. However, we have all felt judgement and criticism from family that is unwarranted, becoming a source of rejection for us where we thought we should have been supported. In these ways, we may not see the silver lining when rejection occurs so close to us. However, family rejection can be a source of personal fortitude to live our life without seeking the approval of others. Family rejection can sometimes give us the push we need to live our lives for ourselves.

When we reject ourselves

There is one other (I know, another negative impact of rejection) type of rejection that we should keep in mind. This type is personal, a form of self-rejection.

Yes, it is entirely possible to reject ourselves. And when we do, it is dangerous and may have a lasting negative impact on our lives.

When we experience rejection, sometimes we activate a safety mechanism to try to avoid future rejection (although this is truly impossible). So, we intentionally avoid opportunities and people who could, in our minds, reject us.

In essence, self-rejection is forming our own illogical protective bubble…

We reject our own happiness, peace, and optimism. Instead, we begin to see the world as a dark place, where everyone and everything is against us. We isolate ourselves and take on a pessimistic attitude regarding every life experience in our path.

And yet, while, our emotions surrounding rejection are real and we should experience them, we enter dangerous territory when we think that we can control any rejection experience by simply removing anything that could result in a NO. This is not a logical approach.

Besides all this, rejecting ourselves takes up too much energy that we need to use to help us face and overcome our current rejection. If we shift our attention and efforts to avoiding rejection, we miss the opportunity to address our current emotions and move forward in a healthy way.

Suggestions to manage rejection in a healthy way: 

  • Acknowledge it, feel it, and work through the emotions.
  • Accept that this is not the last time you will face rejection.
  • Try not to personalize rejection: even the most hurtful forms of rejection are not always about us, or even something we did wrong.
  • Try to shift your thinking into positive territory. The more you practice this, the easier it will become to pick yourself up when rejected and renew your hope.
  • Remember that EVERYONE experiences rejection.
  • Avoid unhealthy strategies for coping with rejection. Abusive or addictive behaviors will not get to the core of your rejection experience. Seek professional help if you need to.
  • Most of all, do not ignore rejection or pass it off as if it doesn’t matter to you, if it really does. Address it even in its most ugly form, and look toward a brighter tomorrow.