It sucks to feel rejected and like we are failing. Even if we are internalizing the situation or mentally hyperbolizing how bad things are- the feeling of loss weighs heavy on the chest. So how do some people seem to take rejection and failure so well? Do they have superior self-esteems? Are they void of human emotion? Do they cry in secret or just put on a brave face while they figure things out?
“How do I handle rejection and failure better” is a question I think we’ve all thought at some point- we learn a lot about ourselves when we are facing adversity. So, let’s go over how to repurpose failure, land on our feet, and reduce the hurt felt from feeling rejected.
1. De-personalize the Rejection
Let’s face it, if we really worked hard for something that didn’t work, it can feel like rejection. Rejection isn’t just being turned down by someone we want to date, not getting the job we applied for, or not making the team. Rejection every instance that happens that makes us feel less worthy, capable, and not good enough for something that we desired. Some may call this ‘internalizing’ or ‘taking things personally’, but we are human- we feel.
Some of us have developed the belief that “things like _________ don’t happen to/for people like me” or “I never get picked for that kind of stuff”- and in these scenarios, they are typically describing really great opportunities that they feel like would never happen for them.
Have you ever wondered why when you’re watching shows where they surprise people by doing something nice, that person starts crying? Because most of us aren’t the ones picked for the grand prize, to be the gold medalist, or the winner of anything really that isn’t a slight step above average.
So here’s what you do:
- Adjust your mindset- what beliefs do you have about your chances of success and how you think your life is going to pan out? Are you handicapping yourself? Are you shooting yourself down before you’ve even tried? When you get disappointing news, are you sad because of the missed opportunity or are you sad because of what you are consciously (or subconsciously) telling yourself that that rejection means about you?
You’ve missed an opportunity, now it’s time to game-plan. What can you do to land on your feet? If you’ve just been notified that your hours at work are going to be dramatically decreased in a few weeks time, what can you do to ensure that you can still pay your bills? If your position will be terminated this month, or if a major client ends their contract with you, what can you do to mitigate the damage? If your relationship is headed for the hills, you are being sued, your business is failing, or it feels like you are failing at your titles, what can be done to help ‘turn the ship around’ or soften your crash landing?
More often than not, we still have time to survive the crash. Just because it’s coming, or is happening, doesn’t mean we have to give up and watch everything burn and perish- including ourselves.
3. Adjust Your Focus
You can still fix this- there’s always an “I can still..” scenario available. If you’ve lost your job, you can still find another source of income. If you are getting divorced, you can still find a chance at love. If you are losing your business, you can still create another one.
Coincidentally, the good and bad news is that everything can be replaced- including us. How that works in our favor is that there is always another path out there for us. We may have to face all of our insecurities head on and work extremely hard to still see the outcome that we desire, but it can be done. I always say “you have everything it takes to live the life that you envision”.
So here’s what you do:
- Fixate your attention to your desired outcome rather than the path or process you are taking to get there- when putting in the work to bring your dreams to fruition, sometimes we have to attach ourselves more to the outcome rather than the specific path or process we took to get there. Focusing on all the detours is enough to make anyone want to quit, but focusing on where you’re going to end up keeps everything into perspective.
Focusing on the outcome automatically instills the belief that you are GOING to succeed. When you put your destination into the GPS do you turn around and go home/ quit because a car cut in front of you? Do you sit on the side of the road indefinitely because you kept getting on the wrong exit or made the wrong turn? And lastly, when it feels like it’s taking you forever to reach your destination, do you ever wonder if you’re actually going to make it- or do you just get annoyed by how long it’s taking and turn on some music so you can at least enjoy the ride?
You can do this, you will reach the destination you’re aiming for- if it’s what you’re focused on. Going back to the driving scenario, we ultimately reach our destination because we looked ahead and navigated appropriately. Yes, we can’t plan for everything- sometimes bad things happen even if we did everything right. But, we get to choose what we do next.
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