Written By:Amber Hollingsworth,LPC
“Rejection is just God’s way of saying… wrong direction.” I have no idea who originally said this but a client of mine told me she read it on Facebook (years ago). For some reason this really stuck with me. I guess, I sorta believe in the whole “it’s a sign” theory in general, so this makes a lot of sense to me. So now, when I come up against rejection, I just tell myself this statement and it reframes the situation in a positive way. I just say “thanks for the sign” and move on.
Here are some other things to consider regarding rejection.
1. When people look at you they only see a reflection of their own past experiences.
The brain can’t truly see things objectively. For survival purposes our brains are trained to make fast judgments about everything we encounter in the world. This is so that we can quickly assess for threat, safety, and other things in the environment that will meet our needs. The only way our brains can assess this information so quickly is because it scans the environment and attaches the information to our past experiences. For example: If you were bitten by a dog when we were a kid, you likely have an anxiety response every time you suddenly encounter a dog. It doesn’t really matter if the current dog situation is a threat or not, our brain reads the situation that way because it was a threat in the past. Our brains are made for speed not accuracy.
It’s important to understand that whatever anyone sees in us (good or bad) is mostly a reflection of that person’s past experiences. If you are a teacher, and the other person had bad experiences with teachers, then you are going to immediately get put into the threat category in that person’s mind, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.
Let’s say, I interview the 5 people in your life that know you best, I would get 5 very different accounts of who you are and what you’re like. And, all 5 of those reports would be very different than the way you see yourself. So, getting too caught up in what someone else thinks of you is sort of ridiculous when you think about it!
2. You will NEVER get everyone to like you no matter how hard you try! This is absolutely impossible for several reasons.
A. Some people won’t like you just because everyone else does.
B. Some people won’t like you because you’re too nice, or too good looking, or too smart, etc…
C. Some people won’t like you because of where you grew up.
D. Some people won’t like you because of the color of your skin.
But perhaps the most important thing to understand is that at any given point in your life the people around you will have competing interests and you won’t be able to satisfy everyone.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your boyfriend has planned a special date night for you, but your really good friend is moving out of town next week, and your friends are throwing a special goodbye party for her, and you also have a big report due for work (or school). Although all of these things are very important, you will ultimately have to make some decisions about how to spend your time, and someone is going to be let down. If you are trying to figure out how you could maybe do all of the things, then you need to understand that doing so will mean you have to cut some corners and you likely won’t be bringing your best self to any one of the situations, which in the end, will result in some level of disappointment.
Here is another quote that help’s me….. Once upon a time, I had to give a talk in front of a large auditorium of pharmacists and nurses, and I started to get super nervous about it. My bestie was there with me and I remember that she told me “Chris Rock says, you’re nobody unless you have AT LEAST 10 haters”.
This reframe helps me because I understand trying to make everyone like you (which is impossible any ways) would mean that you would have to be such a benign, boring person, with not much personality, and that’s pretty lame in my book. Having a few people that don’t like you only means that you have a personality!
3. If you are changing yourself to get the approval of another person then you won’t be happy in the long run.
This is because you won’t really be living in accordance with your values which means that you are going to feel disconnected, unfulfilled, and eventually you will feel resentful about this situation. When that happens you will likely start acting out, passive aggressively, which will ultimately make the person not like you.
Conversely, If you just be you, then you are going to attract similar people which will make you and them happier in the end.
Stop trying to attract people that aren’t attracted to you. Because, even if you’re successful, you won’t be happy in the end!
Most importantly, if you are living your life in fear of rejection, then you are seriously holding yourself back. This fear is just an irrational anxiety process that will hold you hostage, if you let it.