How to Deal with Rejection

Hello once again to a celebratory bonus post as I count down the days to the release of my upcoming sports romance, Ice Gladiators, on 02/15/20. The content of the bonus posts stems from anything related to any aspect of Ice Gladiators. As you may recall, a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how to cope with loss. I’ll list the link below at the end. Today’s post is of a similar topic—how to deal with rejection. Rejection is a lot like loss and can be a loss, but it’s is not always the same.  Loss is the feeling or state of grief when deprived of something of value or someone. The definition of rejection is the refusing or dismissing of an idea or proposal or the spurning of one’s affections. The word rejection derives from the Latin word rēicere that means “thrown back.” There is an underlying assumption that to lose something, one must first have possessed it. Rejection may occur before one obtains the desired object or affection from another.

Rejection is a continuum. There are both minor and major rejections with a boatload sandwiched in between. Usually, but again, not always, rejection hurts, ruins the mood, and sours one’s outlook. There always are exceptions.

According to one study, the area of the brain that is responsible for a person to feel physical pain is the same area that is activated when a person experiences rejection. Thus, the reaction is biological. However, instead of eliciting physical pain, it manifests itself in emotional pain. The theory behind why the same area of the brain is activated to me is fascinating and can be traced back to Charles Darwin, in his 1872 book, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals.

Now, let me stop here and make a disclaimer. This article is not a debate about Evolution versus Creationism. I am not attempting to sway any personal or religious beliefs. Evolution is being presented here to offer and illustrate one theory of why a person feels pain when experiencing rejection.

Basically, the way rejection fits into Darwin’s theory or is explained biologically is that early man lived in tribes that obtained most food from gathering wild plants and hunting/fishing. Food collected by one member of the tribe was shared amongst all members. It also was easier to hunt large game and transport the kill back to the village with larger sums of people. Tribe members heavily depended on each other and worked together as a unit. Therefore, being isolated from one’s tribe limited one’s chances of survival. That feeling became recognized, and the fear of isolation or being ostracized (e.g., being rejected by one’s tribe) developed. To avoid being isolated or ostracized, members would alter or change their behavior to be more acceptable with the tribe. Acceptance, of course, is the opposite of rejection. Therefore, the body physically responses to the possibility of rejection as a warning for a person to change his/her behavior and maintain acceptance in society to increase survival.

The positive here is that since rejection was a learned conditioned that evolved, people are able to learn coping skills and how to effectively cope with rejection. The following are some common methods to overcome rejection.

  1. Perhaps the first step to dealing with rejection is getting over the fear to act. If a person does not make the attempt, then rejection will not come because the person does not allow for the opportunity. However, by not allowing for rejection, the person also may be disallowing for rejection. For example, if a person desires a promotion at work but does not apply for the position, the person will not be rejected for the position because he/she has failed to be considered. One must overcome his/her fear of rejection and face it because fear is an element that will keep a person stagnant. In other words, to be rejected one first must put self out there. Go for it.
  2. Don’t panic. Panic is a type of fear, and as stated, fear can cause a person to be immobile when one should be active. Do not allow imagination to dominate not automatically think you will not be accepted. The key is to be comfortable with facing that risk. Believe that you are emotionally strong enough to handle any outcome.
  3. As with loss, acknowledge that rejection happens to everyone at some point in time. It is not personal. Rejection fails to discriminate and will veer its ugly head at any given time in any situation that acceptance is not guaranteed. Most rejections are temporary and will pass in time and may occur for numerous reasons. It could be ill-timing or political behind the scenes stuff. It may be personal conflicts or disagreements. Or maybe the rejection occurs due to unavoidable limitations or cutoffs.
  4. Take everything with a spoonful of salt. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Do not internalize the rejection as being a personal issue. There may be numerous reasons why rejection occurs. To cope with rejection, it helps to identify the source or the reason for the rejection. However, the analysis of why this has occurred should be objective and realistic.
  5. After one has determined a list of possible reasons or pinpointed why the rejection happened, develop alternatives to prevent similar outcomes in the future. Better yet, this step may be done before approaching a situation in an effort to strategize. Being prepared helps to stave off rejection and having a backup plan reduces the pain and anxiety of rejection. Consider a student applying for college. Applying to one college may really hurt if not accepted. However, if the student has applied to multiple colleges and gets his/her second choice, the blow of not getting his/her first choice may not sting as much.
  6. Do not wrap self-esteem into rejection. Rejection does not define a person. For times there are rejections, there also has been acceptances and successes. Situations need to be qualified so that a person does not tear himself/herself down needlessly.
  7. Rejection can be a source of learning and growth. There is no other way to put it. It may be a difficult lesson, but if a person analysis the situation correctly, he/she can benefit from the lesson.
  8. Realize there will be other opportunities and try again. A co-worker was fired from her job over a petty matter. The person who pushed the issue for her termination had a vendetta against her and was waiting in the shadows for a reason. Once she found one, she pounced. At first, my co-worker was devastated. However, she went on to get a better job and an advanced degree. She’s now able to travel with the extra cash since her new job pays more, and she has more time off. As an added bonus, the job carries with it less stress and matches better with her personality. Being fired (which is more of a loss than a rejection) ended up being in her best interest. That was the first scenario that came to mind. I also know of people who applied and were denied admission to social organizations and have prospered by not being a part of it. One person I know stated that had she been accepted in an organization years ago, her membership would have prohibited her from being part of some of the activities she currently participates. Which leads to the next point.
  9. Not all rejection is bad.
  10. Imagine the worst-case scenario and negative outcome first and prepare how to deal with it. This goes back to earlier facing fear and developing an alternative plan. However, suppose there is no other alternative. Inthe applying to college example, suppose the student was rejected from all colleges applied. The student then may want to consider taking a class to improve a test score or auditing a class. Or the student may find a job in a similar field and later use that experience to reapply. Another alternative may be that the student enrolls in vocational classes or becomes an apprentice. The idea is to become comfortable with not achieving the desired outcome before the rejection happens. This does not mean negative thinking and psyching oneself out of doing something. This is more along the line of hope for the best but prepare for the worse. Imagining the worse will cushion the blow should the worse happen.
  11. Optimize chances for success. This is a biggie that most people ignore. One should always do one’s homework and attempt to tilt the playing field in one’s favor. Going back to the student example, if the student wishes to enroll in university X, then the student should be familiar with the admission criteria and try to meet it. Follow the directions of the task. I saw a person arrive at an interview in shorts, a t-shirt, and no resume. He did not have any prepared answers for the interview and seemed annoyed when asked relevant questions by the employer. Despite all of this, he was offered a probationary position to prove himself. Instead of being grateful, be balked at it. He likely would have been offered the position he wanted had he made an attempt to present himself as professional.

What are some times that you felt rejected? How did you cope with it? If you like this article, please click the like button below to let me know you enjoy this type of content and would like to see more. Also, if you have any questions about anything herein, please leave those comments below. I post weekly on Wednesdays. Be sure to follow me on my other social media platforms. I publish a monthly newsletter that includes exclusive insiders and giveaways for subscribers.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

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