Experiencing rejections is not fun. Some rejections are not easy to manage. However, there are viable and proven options. From my experiencing, asking powerful questions, reframing rejections, getting out of victim mode, and increasing my adversity quotient made a real difference in coping with them. I provide a unique perspective to transform rejections into blessings.
We all experience rejections, whether they are small, large, rare or frequent. It is a reality and part of life. Life is like infinity signs. We experience constant ups and downs.
Some of us cope with rejections well. Whereas others make them significant issues and allow rejections to ruin their joy of life.
The common issue with rejection is taking it personally. Most of the rejections may have nothing to do with our identity, self, and even performance. They may cause due to factors beyond our control.
For example, companies make very successful and diligent workers redundant due to the economic climate. This redundancy has nothing to do with the performance of those hard-working employees who lose their job.
We know that sometimes a thousand people apply for a single role. Rejecting 999 of them does not mean they are all bad.
I don't undermine the feeling of rejection especially if it is unfair. And the ones related to relationships can hurt badly. These types of rejections affect some of us deeply. I know that ejections may affect our mental health substantially. They can trigger strong emotions even leading to trauma. Sometimes, they may even create substantial fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, and many other uncomfortable feelings.
Rejections from our beloved ones touch our heart and soul. We lose the meaning of life. I heard horror stories related to people attempting to take their lives due to rejections.
Like many people, I tasted fair or unfair rejections a lot. I experienced those uncomfortable feelings for decades.
However, learning how to cope with rejections using stoic principles helped me become a person who is more tolerant of contradictions and rejections. Experiencing rejections increased my adversity quotient.
Asking powerful questions to understand them contributed to my adversity intelligence and fitness.
For example, I ask a few powerful questions when I face a specific rejection. Questions like:
- Does it worth worrying about it?
- What do I really lose?
- Who knows this rejection can lead to a better outcome?
- How important is this thing in the big schema of things?
- What is the worst-case scenario for ramification of this rejection?
When I asked these questions, suddenly the impact of rejections substantially decreased. In some cases, they disappeared.
Most common rejections may come from our friends, parents, family members, colleagues, employers, government, and even media.
Social media and content platforms are good examples which may relate to many of us. Wearing my writing and content development hat, I faced many rejections.
- Peer-reviewed journals rejected some of my papers invested in months with sleepless nights.
- Many publishers rejected my books, which became popular later.
- Some platforms rejected my articles, which curated and got viral later.
- My applications for online forums were rejected multiple times, even though I contributed them a lot.
Like many writers, I felt treated like an object or a number by platforms. My accounts were suspended by social media platforms for no apparent reasons, allegedly violating policies and found non-guilty later. I have tasted the bitterness of many rejections and account suspensions on multiple platforms over the years.
When I faced these rejections, the autopilot immediately put me in a victim mode.
I wanted to understand whether other people face similar rejections and how they cope with them.
I met many online friends who tasted similar rejections. They shared their experiences with me. I was not alone. Their debilitating sentiment related to ruthless policies of suspension on online platforms.
These issues raised concerns, potentially harmful implications. For example, reputation, integrity, and aspirations of profile owners appeared to be at risk.
Some writers, editors, and bloggers pointed out that their accounts, blogs, content, and publications disappeared with no apparent reasons and no notifications.
We all experience these types of setbacks in life. I see rejections as the core fabric of life. When we look at things from rejectors point of view, we are also guilty of this situation.
Rejections breed in our DNA. We reject things all the time to choose the best for our wellbeing. And history informs us that life is not straight forward for anyone of us. There will always be ups and downs for all of us. Some win and some lose.
Of course, we cannot compare rejecting objects to human beings. Being a victim of an unfair rejection is not fun and can negatively affect our mental health and enjoyment of life.
Rejections are very common in the modern world. Social media turned out to be a rejection machine for many people. Some platforms act like bullies. The other day, I read a piece of content from an influential writer highlighting anyone can be a victim on social networks. This thought leader has a realistic approach that we are lucky enough to use these services as options given to us. He lost his LinkedIn account multiple times due to mistakes. But he got back because his integrity was evident on the platform.
I had a similar situation, and my goodness helped me in the long run. But the pain of rejection was injected, and I suffered as a victim. I witnessed accidentally suspended accounts on different platforms. Some were even cancelled due to uninformed reporting by robots. It has happened to me on multiple platforms. It was not fun at all.
Rejections are very common in social networks. These networks are full of both excellent and vicious people. While good people uplift others, hostile people display jealousy and cause rejections. They strive for others to fail. They enjoy giving harm to others.
We need to learn how to protect ourselves from the harm of these people. They are not bad people in nature, but their behaviour can be bad for us, causing undesirable consequences such as rejections.
As protecting may not be a panacea to address the rejection issues, many smart writers, editors, and bloggers mitigated the risk by diversifying their online presence and time-investments.
Instead of relying on a single platform or publication, they diversified content and publish on multiple platforms. Media can come and go. Individuals or corporations own them. These entities can change their mind and policies anytime based on their mission and business goals. And the users have no right and capability to revert the changes.
My point with this example is that platforms' decisions for rejecting may have nothing to do with our integrity, work, or performance.
I see reason and emotion in proper balance as spiritual intelligence. Emotions are real, and they notify us things are right or wrong. We need to listen to our feelings. However, living with uncomfortable emotions like fear and anxiety is not a healthy choice.
Our mental health is critical for surviving and thriving. Both fear and anxiety are essential survival emotions in the right context. We need to experience them. Rather than suppressing or denying them, we need to acknowledge, understand the sources, and deal with them using positive actions.
Our emotional fitness is a critical success factor when dealing with fear, anxiety, and other destructive and uncomfortable emotions. Emotional diversity and granularity are positive merits to increase our emotional intelligence and fitness.
Acting despite fear and anxiety demonstrates our courage. The more courage we have, the more successful we can become in dealing with rejections. Courage determines our success.
By acting bold, we can face rejections with equanimity.
We all experience fear. I haven't met anyone fearless except for the heroes in fiction books and movies.
We are not robots. We all experience fear and anxiety when rejected.
Sometimes we live with the fear of future rejections. We never know what will happen in the future. Things can change at any moment. Future is not in our control.
Rather than worrying about the things beyond our control, a better approach is to take calculated risks and channel worries into positive actions despite the fear. Rather than wasting our energy on rejections, this approach can motivate and inspire us to produce good outcomes in the long run.
Living with constant fear and chronic anxiety can damage our mental health. It can adversely affect our creativity and productivity.
Whenever I feel fear, I always remember the famous quote of Marie Currie: "There is nothing to be feared in this life — just things to be understood".
In these fearful situations, I also remind myself of the quote "we have nothing to fear but fear itself" from Franklin D. Roosevelt. Living with fear is not productive and definitely not healthy.
Understanding what we can control and cannot control require efforts, take time, and mandates actions.
To summarise, from my experience, one of the better ways of dealing with rejection is first acknowledging, then understanding, and taking appropriate actions.
To understand the nature of the rejection, we can ask some useful questions like:
- What does this rejection mean to me?
- Who is rejecting for what purpose?
- What options do I have?
- Is it the end of the world?
- Are they rejecting my behaviour, my work, or my identity?
Most of the time, the rejections relate to behaviour, work, or performance.
Our behaviour, work or performance do not define us. And we can improve them.
We can change our behaviour, correct our work, and improve our performance.
As the adage says, one's trash can be another person's treasure.
For example, one of my rejected papers from an academic journal found a better home in another journal. Some of my books rejected from some publishers found better publishers.
Interestingly and gratefully, all rejections turned to be blessing in disguise for me.
Seeing rejections as the blessings in disguise also contributed to my adversity quotient.
And always asking the question: in the big schema of things, do they really matter?
If a boyfriend or girlfriend rejects us, there will always be another soul mate we can connect with.
Framing rejections as blessings in disguise can be a powerful way to cope with them.
Thank you for reading my perspectives. I wish you a healthy and happy life.