‘I like you, I just don’t want a relationship’
‘We went with another candidate for the job’
‘Things just got serious with Jenny, so I can’t see you again’
‘We’re going to pass on your offer, I’m afraid’
Do any of these sound familiar?
I was 17 when the boy I *thought* was my forever-boyfriend took me to the corner of the pub and solemnly told me ‘I like you, I just don’t want a relationship’.
Those words rattled around my brain for months (maybe years!?) afterwards. It felt like a slap in the face (or a dagger in the heart!). As a highly insecure teenager, these words seemed to confirm what I’d always feared was true, that I was never going to be good enough. Not for him… and not for anyone else.
Let’s be honest – rejection sucks and if you’ve ever felt the sting of rejection (you almost certainly have) it won’t be too much of a surprise to know that it actually activates the same areas of the brain as physical pain does.
No wonder we try and avoid it at all costs!
People pleasing, saying ‘yes’ to things we don’t really want, keeping quiet about how we actually feel and holding ourselves back are just some of the ways we’ll contort and limit ourselves in the name of avoiding the agony of being rejected.
But the truth is that rejection is not all that it seems. In fact, rejection itself really isn’t so bad. It’s the meaning that we give it that is.
Because when you’re rejected, you haven’t actually lost anything.
You didn’t have the job before and you still don’t have it now.
You can’t have something taken away from you that you never had in the first place.
But what is the ‘meaning’ that you’re giving to it?
Your Tinder date doesn’t ask for a second so you tell yourself you’ll be single forever (and that you’re basically unlovable).
You visit 7 flats that you found on SpareRoom.com and each one gets filled by someone else, so you tell yourself that everyone must hate the sight of you.
You make 22 sales calls and don’t manage to close any, so you tell yourself that you’re rubbish at your job are a bound to get fired.
The first part of these things may be a fact, but the story you make up about them is what hurts – and what isn’t actually true anyway.
So with that in mind, here are some simple ways to soothe the pain of rejection:
- Remind yourself of the 4 SW’s
Some Will, Some Won’t, So What? Someones Waiting.
- Remember Your Tribe
We evolved to feel the pain of rejection for a reason. When we were cave (wo)men, being ostracised from the tribe could have meant death for us. We evolved to avoid being rejected. That sh*t is hard wired!
But now? It’s an out of date, evolutionary leftover, because thankfully, most of us now have our own tribe of friends and family who love and accept us no matter what.
So spend some time reminding yourself of how warm, lovable, frickin’ hilarious and irreplacably-gorgeous your friends and family think you are, to soothe that out-of-date rejection fear.
- Everybody says no sometimes
You say no to things all the time, I’ll bet. It’s often not personal, it’s not about you, it’s just a preference. And that’s ok.
I personally don’t like certain varieties of things, like certain types of clothing or coffee. My (not)boyfriend at 17 wasn’t keen on the ‘Chloe Brotheridge’ variety of girlfriend. No problems there! It’s just a preference.
- What would your BFF (or your Mum) say
How would they answer back to that rejection story you’ve been telling yourself?
If you find yourself, post rejection, reeling into ‘no-one-will-ever-love-me-I’m-terrible-at-my-job’ type thinking, consider what rational, loving and wise words your friend of family member would have to say about the situation. They’re right.
- You can’t please everyone, all of the time
I love this quote (attributed to Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City)
Hold out to be someone’s whiskey.
What stories of rejection do you have (come on, share and make me feel better about mine!?) What tactics will you be using to overcome rejection? Let us know in the comments!