5 Ways to Grow From Rejection

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Rejection! Not an easy pill to swallow!

It’s over. I don’t want to see you again. 

Those words sting whether it’s from a relationship, a job, a college admission or related to a spot on the team. Rejection tests our feelings of self-worth. Poorly managed, it can lead to depression and anxiety.

When you experience rejection, brain science confirms that rejection activates the same parts of our brain as pain. So it does literally hurt! Despite the pain, rejection is a part of life. So we have to learn to how to deal with it. But we can learn from rejection and grow. In fact, if handled well, rejection can actually be used to revive your self-esteem.

Here are 5 ways to grow and move past a rejection:

Engage in self-examination not self-criticism. 

There is a difference between between the two. Self-criticism leads to statements like, “I must be a real jerk, nobody will love me, what’s wrong with me,”etc. Self-criticism is not helpful because it takes you no where but down. Instead, do a little self-examination. Rather than focus on the other person, think about how  you behaved in the relationship? What do you need to change for the next relationship? Don’t ruminate on mistakes. Learn from them with the idea that all relationships teach us something!

Also, ask yourself, are there unique circumstances that led to this rejection? When you self-examine, don’t over personalize. Consider the idea that the rejection might have been more about him or her than you. Be realistic and assess what led to the rejection so you don’t repeat problems in the future. This process of self-examination helps you grow.

Stop idealizing the relationship

When break up occurs, there is a tendency to idealize the relationship in terms of what it was or might have been. We forget the heartaches and differences that made the relationship difficult. To keep from idealizing, write a list of the things that made the relationship not work or caused a lot of tension. Look at your list daily to remind yourself, yes, there were problems. In other words, learn as noted above, move on and stop looking back. It wasn’t ideal or it would have worked!

Get off social media and surround yourself with supportive people. 

Social media can deepen a wound after a break up. You see your ex enjoying life, maybe moving on and it feels even worse. After a rejection, get off social media and take a break. You don’t need to expose yourself to posts that will further hurt your self-esteem. Vent or talk to a friend. Seek out those who know and support you. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and love you for who you are. Take some time to heal.

Develop a stronger internal locus of control. 

Locus of control has to do with the generalized expectancy we have related to an outcome. When rejection feels like it happens outside of your control, this is called an external locus of control.  In other words, outside forces determined or strongly influenced the break up. For example, your job interfered with your time together, his mom didn’t like you, he didn’t like that you made more money than he did, etc. Sometimes rejection is influenced by external factors, but those are not always things you can change. So ruminating about those external factors doesn’t help much. However, you can focus on those things within your control. Internal factors such as I acted needy, I was constantly questioning him and jealous, I wouldn’t talk when I was upset, etc. are within your control. All of those internal factors are within your power to change because they are internal. The more internal locus of control you develop, the better you will handle rejection . An internal locus of control focuses your expectancy on what you can change that will impact future outcomes.

Remind yourself that you are more than a rejection

When you face rejection, it helps to remember that what is desired by one person may not be desired by another. Just because this relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean you are somehow flawed. It’s one person or one experience. And it didn’t work out for a number of reasons. Acknowledge the hurt, express your feelings, do some self-examination, learn and then be at peace. No one has the right to define your worth other than God. And He already declares you unconditionally loved and accepted.

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