Rejection Doesn’t Make You a Reject
Everyone experiences rejection from time to time. You don’t get the raise you asked for at work. You get turned down when you ask a girl out on a date. The bank says no when you apply for a loan. Those things don’t make you a reject. Your friends and family don’t value you any less because they happened. When you get the idea that you are a reject in your head, it’s just that — in your head. All you need to do is figure out an appropriate way to handle rejection so it doesn’t leave you down in the dumps.
Coping with Rejection
Social rejection can increase depression, anger, anxiety and sadness, but it’s important to know how to cope with it. Being on the receiving end of a social snub can cause all sorts of emotional consequences, and even brief episodes can sting. When you feel you’ve been rejected, or somehow excluded from a situation, seek out friends or family who are sources of comfort and acceptance.
Most people will recover from brief episodes of rejection quite quickly, such as if a stranger fails to look them in the eye, or they are picked last for a team in a softball game. Other rejections, however — not being invited to a party or being snubbed by the “cool” kids in school, can cause lingering feelings of rejection.
After the sting of rejection begins to subside, most people will step back and take stock of their situation. They will appraise how best to deal with the situation and plan their next steps in relieving that feeling. All forms of ostracism can be immediately painful. How you deal with that pain will govern how long it takes to relieve that pain.
Physical vs. Emotional Pain
There are several studies that evaluate whether the emotional pain of rejection can be more painful than physical pain. Some studies show that social rejection actually can hurt. This makes solid sense from an evolutionary perspective. In order to survive, infants must stay close to parents for nourishment and protection. Later, being connected to a social group becomes critical as members share responsibilities for survival. Being socially disconnected then becomes emotionally linked to a fear of survival, and one then takes cues from the physical pain signal to identify instances of social separation.
Because social acceptance is so important to one’s sense of self-worth, it makes sense that being rejected, especially more than once, can lead to one’s feeling like they are, in fact, a reject. People who feel isolated and lonely and excluded also tend to have poor physical, and mental health, both of which can lead to chronic depression.
Being able to deflect feelings of rejection can work wonders in keeping oneself from sinking into depression or allowing oneself to fall into the role of victim, blaming others and lashing out inappropriately for how they feel about themselves.
Having a healthy self-esteem has everything to do with being able to handle feelings of rejection properly, and it is up to each individual to maintain their own self-esteem positively to promote feelings of self-worth. Once this is achieved, it is much easier to realize that rejection doesn’t make you a reject.