By Pamela R. Reaves
Although none of us like to experience rejection, it is a fact of life that we all will experience it in some form and at one time or another during our lifetime. To be refused, denied, dismissed, or eliminated is a hurt that carries with it consequential effects for some individuals. The reason these actions hurt is because the denial, dismissal, or elimination is connected to something that or someone whom the rejected person wanted and in most cases their desire was strong. Otherwise, the declination of what was offered would have little to no effect. When a person strongly desires something that another party has the power to accept or reject, acceptance is joyfully viewed and embraced as the affirmation that what the desiring party wanted is of value and important. To have our desires valued by and important to others is a confidence booster, an affirmation of mutual attraction and feelings, and confirmation that someone does want what we have to offer. Affirmations and confirmations are great, but remember that the degree to which we need the affirmations and confirmations of others is an indication as to how we handle rejection.
Unfortunately, rejection is perceived by some people as proof that whatever it is they want is wrong, is of no value to anyone else, or they are undeserving of having their wishes fulfilled. These are the individuals who feel inferior, insecure, unwanted, and unworthy whenever they are rejected. The sting of the rejection describes the sharp pain that is felt at the point of rejection; the lingering effects that are both psychological (mental, emotional) and physiological (bodily); and the devastating results when rejection is allowed to rule over our lives, prevent us from loving ourselves, or prohibits us from pursuing opportunities and relationships that enrich our lives. So rejection cannot be taken lightly.
Rejection is not discriminatory and we have seen its devastating consequences in the lives of countless people regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or social status. It is especially stinging when certain dynamics are at play. For example, an individual who has little to no self-confidence will respond to rejection in ways that are just as, if not more damaging than the behavior of the individual who delivered the injurious blow of rejection. Such is the case when the individual who is rejected resorts to self-destructive behavior that continues for extended periods of time. The sting of rejection will scare self-conscious individuals into isolation, terrified to expose themselves to further rejection. The sting of rejection paralyzes some people, preventing them from ever moving beyond the offense and forward into the future. Granted, there are those people who use rejection as weaponry and are fully aware that their actions are injurious. However, there is a very effective counter-attack and it can be found by observing and learning from people who know how to handle rejection.
Everyone does not respond to rejection in the same manner and there are a number of reasons for this. Although we all will encounter rejection at some point in this journey called life, there are those individuals who refuse to accept someone’s rejection of them as gospel, the end of the world, a personal indictment, a measure of their inadequacies, or confirmation that they are worthless. These individuals are armed with self-confidence in who they are, their worth, love for themselves, and the invaluable knowledge that another person’s decision to reject whatever it is they are offering or want does not diminish them in any way. The rejection is viewed as a difference of opinion, style, taste, or value system. Furthermore, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, style, taste, or value system. The individual who handles rejection refuses to accept it as a superior/inferior argument; a right or wrong situation; or a good or bad response. This individual’s self-confidence, assurance of self-worth, and insurance of self-love equips him or her to accept rejection as a difference of opinion, choice, or distinction. Individuals who handle rejection well also recognize that some people who are insecure and suffer from other identity problems, transfer their feelings of insecurity, fear, and ignorance to others in the form of rejection.
The individual who handles rejection does not accept that its stinging power is equivalent to lasting power. The man or woman who handles rejection treats it like a sore that when treated (not ignored) will heal in time. They do not allow rejection to fester and its malignancy to spread throughout and take over every part of their lives. When you think about it, the key to dealing with the sting of rejection is to handle rejection rather than let it handle you. Whenever you handle rejection, it is you who make the decisions or choices, or take the necessary actions to allow you to move beyond the initial injury. If you are making the decision or choices, and taking action, you are deciding that rejection is not an indictment, the end of the world, or testament to who you are (or are not) and a true measure of your value. Although the sting of rejection should not be taken lightly, you do have the power to neutralize the sting of rejection. Exercise your power.