Copyright: Constantin-Stanciu

These mistakes you can avoid in coping with rejection.

Coping with rejection is never easy. When we feel dismissed by friends, a significant other, or employers, we struggle to fight off the feelings of loneliness and helplessness. If we are experiencing rejection, we need to identify four courses of action we should not take, to help us gracefully move past the negativity.

1. Destroying Opportunities out of Fear of Future Rejection

At the University of Michigan, researchers revealed that rejection activates an area of the brain that is additionally activated when a person endures physical pain. The findings of this research indicate that rejection is far more emotionally damaging than we believe it to be.

As we grow, we learn to fear the sensation of physical pain and do our best to avoid it. Our immediate reaction is to prevent ourselves from facing rejection in any way possible. Sometimes this fear manifests into an avoidance so strong, we do not search for new opportunities or future connections.

However, facing physical and emotional pain is an inevitable experience. Humans are not meant to cower in corners, fearing judgment and negativity. We should continue to search for new connections, recognizing that fear of rejection will not help us grow as individuals.

2. Do Not Seek Comfort In Social Media

On the internet, it’s easy to create a fictional personality. With the aid of pictures, we can look sociable and happy. We seek affirmation in the form of comments, favorites, and snap chats. We become dependent on social media, constantly checking our tablets and phones, nervously watching our “likes” grow on Instagram.

It’s easier to deflect rejection in an online world as well. If we aren’t getting attention on Facebook, we assume no one is online. We simply shut the laptop and walk away. However, relying on social media to help ease rejection stops us from forming meaningful relationships. Humans aren’t meant to gain approval from a flat screen, we need to build friendships that don’t disappear every time our iPhone’s die.

3. Don’t Waste Time on the Wrong People

In a study conducted by Guy Winch Ph.D., researchers discovered the origins of rejection. During the hunter-gatherer era, being part of a group was crucial to survival. If an individual was ostracized from others, they were less likely to prosper. Fearing rejection motivated us to cooperate and stay alive.

Many times, our immediate response to exclusion is to prove the rejectors wrong. We grow obsessive, insisting that our self-worth can only be validated when other’s accepts us. It’s important to understand that certain people are not worth our time.

If we think someone has expressed valid disapproval of a trait we possess, it’s okay to aim for improvement. However, this transforms into an unhealthy goal when we become obsessive, insisting that our self-worth is dependent on other’s validation. If we are desperate for outside approval, this may be a sign of a larger issue.

4. Do not criticize yourself 

We feel angry and upset with the individual rejecting us, but they are not the person we need to worry about. At the end of the day, the only person that decides our value in this world is ourselves.

When others insult us, we can’t help but wonder if their words are true. We begin to degrade our own character. We believe we need to be better looking, cooler, or smarter, for people to accept us. Once these negative thoughts start, it’s hard to make them stop.

Agreeing with your rejector is the easy route. It takes virtually no effort to slump over and let the negativity crash over you. Challenging their words is difficult. Loving yourself, even when others refuse to acknowledge your potential, is the most courageous thing you can do.

Adrienne Gagne attains happiness by continuously exploring uncharted territory. Her ultimate goal is to encourage new directions of thinking, not to sway others’ opinions to strictly align with her own....

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