Today I wanted to discuss the concept of rejection. This is something we often face or will face, in our lifetime, and although it is a natural thing to experience, it is never easy to deal with. When I think of rejection I often think of it in the social setting: friends, partners, family members, etc. and/or the professional setting: job interviews, school applications, student organizations. As we face these forms of rejection it often causes us to turn against ourselves, believing that we simply are not ‘good enough’, ‘smart enough’, ‘attractive ‘, or other negative connotations that could lead to some heavy and detrimental thoughts. So, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the matter and hopefully learn some of your methods as well! Let’s get started.
The Social Aspect of Rejection:
Now quite naturally, we all want to experience a sense of belonging and appreciation when we are interacting with others. This could include friends, close relatives, acquaintances, and romantic partners. So when we experience something as severe as rejection from the people we admire and love the most, it can be devastating and lead people to take protective measures to ensure they never feel this way again. As some of you may know from my previous posts, I dealt with this feeling of worthlessness from my parents, which really pushed me into a dark corner. This leads me to keep a pretty safe distance from other friends and loved ones, as I often felt like I was simply not good enough and didn’t belong in such a group.
This need for an ‘answer’ to the rejection is a normal process, but when dealing with depression and anxiety we often point the finger at ourselves. We need answers! We want to know what we did wrong, what we can do differently, and what we can do to change the outcome. However, there often is not an answer, blame may not be perfectly placed, and perhaps you didn’t do anything wrong! As people, we go through constant changes in our lives with what we are interested in, our moods, and other factors we may be concerned with (Like binge watching Defenders on Netflix!). We are complex creatures. So what can we do?!
- Understand that it is okay to feel devastated, heartbroken, and hurt. You’re a compassionate, socially driven being who deserves to be treated just as wonderfully.
- It’s not your fault! Even if it was. What? How does that make sense you scream into your screen? Well, we are not perfect, and we often mistakenly react in a way that could hurt others or cause people to distance themselves from us. If a specific situation occurred, the fact that you feel so badly shows just how sorry and compassionate you are and this mistake does not define you! Perhaps you felt like it was the right thing to do at the time, or you felt like it was something you simply had no control over or did not intend for the outcome to occur. We often are not inherently evil!
- Accept and come to grips with the first two points. What can we do to create a better tomorrow? Self-care is an important one. Appreciate yourself for all of your accomplishments and desires by taking some time to care for yourself first, then……
- Reach out to others! Friends, Family, Caring Professionals/Strangers in a safe environment. Whichever, you are comfortable with. You don’t deserve to go through this alone.
- Give them space! Perhaps you were in a situation where you had to reject someone else, like a close friend or relative. Or, maybe you feel rejected by them. Perhaps you feel bad about the situation and wish there was something you could do. I would encourage you to reach out, but understand that space may be needed right now. So if they don’t respond, or respond defensively, understand that they are hurting and let them know you care and will be there when they are ready. Unfortunately, that is all we may be able to do.
The Professional Setting
- Reaching out for a possible job interest, or similar position is a huge risk. It’s a new and uncomfortable situation that we are throwing ourselves into. So it’s understandable to feel uncertain when you haven’t heard back from that company you were so interested and invested in, and the fact that you reached out and took those steps towards achieving something you wanted is a grand accomplishment!
- It may not feel like it now but you were able to freshen up on your interviewing skills, updated that old resume, and have gotten a better idea of what most employers may be looking for. You took a chance and that is something to be celebrated!
When looking at rejection we often get so consumed in the negatives that we fail to see some of the growth in the experience. Now I know what you’re thinking, “there is no good”, and perhaps that is true right now, but it doesn’t have to be. As someone who deals with depression, the negative thoughts are almost instant and unavoidable, and I often convince myself that they are the unavoidable truth. After all, when it comes to myself, I should know best….right? Unfortunately, the feeling of rejection is something we all must face throughout our lives and it might help to not only accept what you are feeling is understandable, but also an opportunity to explore something else.
Whether you have built up the courage to ask that lovely boy or girl out on a romantic date in the city or took the stride to that job interview, one thing is apparent. We are saying we are ready for a change! Although the outcome may not be what you wanted, it is still an answer that could lead to a desired change. When we finally come to grips with the fact that dating this lovely, desirable person, or working that fantastically heartwarming job is not an option right now. We open the doors to other possibilities that we can invest into.
You are amazing, insightful, and deserving of a wonderful life, however, you imagine that to be, and all I want is to help someone out there come to terms with that. I hope I don’t sound insensitive to whatever you may be experiencing, I understand how difficult it is, and I know you can get through this and you don’t have to do it alone.
Please take care and until next time,