How To Deal With Rejection

There’s a double punch to rejection that makes it feel like a brutal street fight. First, there's the fact that you can’t have something you want. (Left upper cut!) Then the why. Why can’t we have what we want?! (Kick to the stomach!) 

Here's a general rule of thumb: Wanting can make us feel powerless. Giving, on the other hand, makes us feel powerful. 

Of course, wanting can create the fire that motivates us to pursue our desires, hence making us feel powerful. But I’m referring to the emotional state we’re in when we want, not the process after we decide what we’re going to do about it.

Since rejection has to do with us (or so we believe), we internalize it. And this internalizing becomes an infectious virus that grows and makes us eat too much chocolate.

So, the key to managing rejections is to stop this virus from spreading.

Reframe the word rejection. 

I understand you feel rejected. And that’s fair. But the truth is, you're not being rejected. There are so many more factors, many that have nothing to do with you, about why this person may not want to be with you right now. Rejection is often like criticism, in that it’s usually about the other person. Or maybe you're just not her cup of tea. But that doesn’t make you less than. It just means it’s not a good fit. And that’s the word to use: fit.

You're either a good fit with someone or you’re not. Just by using this word, you're keeping “rejection” external. It’s easier to accept that something is not a good fit than to deal with the fact that someone doesn’t like you.

My advice?

Eliminate the word rejection from your vocabulary.

Personal story

I met a woman once. Yes, that really happened. Got her number. We flirted. She expressed interest. She showered me with compliments, which I’m not used to. Then she dropped off the planet. Instantly the whys came flooding in. Was it something I did? Said? Wore?

Then she came back. Turns out, she met another guy at the same time and they had a thing, which ended.

Okay, it wasn’t about me. Feel better. We hung out again. There was chemistry. More compliments. Nice. Then she vanished again.

And instantly, I went back to the whys. Even after knowing that it was her indecision the first time and her “rejecting” me had nothing to do with me, my brain still went back to Is there something wrong with me? Nope, there isn’t.

Actually, there’s something wrong with her.

Instead of asking yourself What's wrong with me? ask yourself What's wrong with that person? 

We drown because we're constantly asking ourselves the wrong questions.

Questions are the rudder of our thoughts and when we hit walls, it's because of where our thoughts took us. Ask the right questions and life will be much easier.

Instead of asking yourself What's wrong with me? ask yourself What's wrong with that person? 

This is not about assassinating anyone's character!

I hope the best for the woman I mentioned above and when I said “there’s something wrong with her,” I just meant that what she’s going through has nothing to do with me. We’re not a good fit right now.

When you turn the focus from you to the other person, you're turning from internal to external. Now you're outside of self and that’s where you want to be. This is about getting back the power, using words, even if they're a bit extreme, to guide your thoughts in the right direction so you don’t sink.

Once you’ve been “rejected,” a broken record will play in your head that asks why it ended. Or if your relationship just expired, what you did wrong or why can’t you be smarter, thinning, stronger, prettier, etc. This is a common trap and you must avoid it at all costs.

When you feel this tune coming on, instantly STOP that record and play this one:

What’s wrong with that person? As in: why is it not a good fit? What was wrong with the relationship?

But here’s the important piece:

Actually answer it! Say it out loud. Make a list. Tape it to your bathroom mirror!

The more you do this, the more you'll realize it’s not rejection but simply not a fit, not meant to be. Now it’s easier to accept. With this traction, ask yourself what you’ve learned from this experience about yourself. This is gold. It’s another notch in your growth belt.

Now focus on you, changing what you want to change, what you want/need/deserve, and how you want to improve your life. Drive your thoughts through this channel and keep it here. As long as you can.

Sure, there will be days when you slip. And that’s okay. It’s a process. But this is the map. Follow it. Every single day. Make the effort. Most people don’t. They let their thoughts go wherever they want to. If you follow this map, soon you'll start to see the good in this “rejection” and that’s when you'll have taken back the power.

Now you can eat chocolate.

(Because you deserve it. Not because you feel shitty about yourself.)

Hell, get the one with nuts.

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John Kim, LMFT
John Kim, LMFT
John Kim, LMFT, aka The Angry Therapist, runs a practice that redefines “therapy” in the traditional...
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