8 POWERFUL Tools to Transform Rejection into Confidence
8 POWERFUL Tools to Transform Rejection into Confidence
Rejection…we all face it from time to time…and it hurts. Sometimes rejection painfully rocks us to our core, leaving us feeling exposed, lonely, and vulnerable.
Rejection means to push something or someone away.
Rejection comes to us in many forms:
· Being left out of the group or family;
· Being told “I don’t love you”;
· Experiencing an unwanted breakup;
· Not landing the job or position/not getting into the college;
· Receiving hateful messages on social media;
· Being slighted or treated as if you are not there;
· Not being picked for the team;
· Being left/forsaken by someone significant;
· Experiencing someone’s (unfair) resentment against you (being scapegoated/gaslit);
· Being undervalued/not prioritized in a relationship; and/or
· *Experiencing abuse, bullying, abandonment, neglect, or the withholding of love and affection.
Once rejection occurs, we typically feel pain in the form of sadness, loneliness, grief, and sometimes shame (i.e., a sense of “I am bad/wrong/unlovable”).
We all fear the pain of rejection, just as we all fear physical pain. In fact, if you do not fear rejection, there might be a problem, because the fear of rejection is part of being human and wanting connection and belonging. We are “pack” animals/beings; our nervous systems are made to, in part, co-regulate with others. Relationships are the human habitat.
When we experience rejection repetitively (e.g., being a least preferred child, hated by an authority figure, or treated as undesirable), we can internalize negative messages that can become scripts that we live out. This is especially true when we have experienced high levels of rejection in childhood. Early rejections lay down “rejection tracks” in our thinking and feeling centers, causing us to walk around under a cloud of “I am not good enough,” “I am not loveable,” and/or “I am defective.”
With these scripts live and on autoplay, current rejections tend to reinforce those scripts. Moreover, we tend to look for evidence that confirms our scripts, rather than seeing and internalizing contrary evidence.
Hence, rejection can be a vicious loop. Each new rejection reinforces scripts that are based on old hurts, rather than the truth about ourselves, that we are just as loveable and respectable as anyone else. We are ALL flawed and fabulous!
But what if we used current experiences of rejection as opportunities to transform from these old scripts into new narratives and more confidence?
It is possible! When we are going through a rejection, the pain is acute, and this pain can be used as a motivator to heal…to change the scripts!
In that moment of pain, we can make a decision to be BETTER RATHER THAN BITTER.
If you are ready to transform through the pain of a recent rejection, (and I believe you are because you are still with me, reading), here are 8 POWERFUL tools to TRANSFORM REJECTION INTO CONFIDENCE
1. Inventory your thoughts. If we were to inventory your thoughts about yourself, what percentage of your thoughts could we label as helpful, and what percentage would we call self-sabotaging? Thoughts are powerful. Research has shown that when participants say positive things to Plant 1 and negative things to Plant 2, Plant 1 thrives and Plant 2 withers, while all other conditions are kept the same. Are you saying things to yourself that are causing you to thrive, or to wither? It is time to not only stop the negative, but it is time to start thinking and saying positive statements about yourself and life. You can refuse to let rejection define you. Focus on your strengths and start to believe in yourself in new ways!
2. Be a lawyer for the other side. We tend to look for evidence that confirms our biases. This means, if you already are prone to rejecting yourself, you will look for evidence that aligns with you being unacceptable. It is very possible that you are missing some amazing evidence that points to how wonderful you truly are. I challenge you to pretend that you are a lawyer and it is your job to create a VERY STRONG ARGUMENT that you are worthy of love, belonging, and respect. As a good lawyer, it is your job to poke holes in the opposition’s case. Make a rock-solid case and allow yourself to “see you” in a new way.
3. Inventory and shift relationships. Are you playing out certain roles in your relationships that you want to shift? Do you continue to be a pursuer or someone who is more withdrawn in relationships? Inventory your close relationships and see if you need to try pursuing less or opening up more to have healthier relationships. Then start taking small risks in these areas. In addition, try drawing closer to healthier, safer folks in your life, and create space between you and unsafe people.
4. Grieve your losses and then move on. It is so important to feel our feelings of grief. Loss has a real impact because relationships are our habitat. We feel grief and pain when we are rejected. If we push our grief down into the hidden, dark places of our soul, it becomes like mold that keeps growing, making us sick. But if we allow ourselves to bring our grief out into the open, and feel the hurt while nurturing and comforting ourselves, we can move through it. Rays of sunshine and light will dry up and heal the “mold” of hurt and loss, allowing us to be healthy and free again. Then it will be time to allow yourself to start fresh--dream a new dream or start a new relationship. Hope is powerful. Allow yourself to hope again.
5. Let rejection be your teacher. In every circumstance, no matter how unfair, there is something to be learned. Is there a particular type of person that you need to start avoiding more? Do you keep letting your boundaries be crossed? Do you find yourself being too self-focused in your relationships? Do you over give, become exhausted, and then run away from relationship? Try journaling/brainstorming all the lessons life might be bringing you through the current rejection, and see what good you can glean from the pain, despite any injustices that you could not have prevented.
6. Become your own friend. How are you treating yourself? Often people are harder on themselves than they ever would be with friends. Sometimes, people are harder on themselves than they would be with enemies! Now is great time to improve your relationship with yourself. You will never get rid of you. You will always be with you. Isn’t it time that you made the inside of you a safe place?
7. Develop “self-parenting” skills. Sometimes the hurt we feel in the present is compounded by unmet needs or hurts from our past. If you were to take the hurt you currently feel, and scroll back on that feeling to an earlier memory where you felt the same way, what memory would you find? In my office, I frequently take clients through this process. Once we find a memory, I have the client imagine what she would say if she were the parent of that child. Then I have the client speak as a nurturing parent to the inner child, meeting her at her point of need (Dr Barbara’s “Self-momming Technique” ™). Amazingly, the client experiences a relief in the present situation, as she comforts and “parents” her inner child within the context of the memory. How can you speak as a nurturing parent to your inner child?
8. Forgive. Forgiveness is inextricably tied to mental and physical health outcomes. Resentment is like drinking poison but expecting the other person to get sick. We can choose to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean what they did was right, and we do not have to ever trust the person again. Forgiveness allows us to move on with our lives and our dreams without being consumed with bitterness. If you are struggling with forgiveness (and you pray), pray twice a day for the other person for the 10 things you want most in your life. Empathy can help as well--try putting yourself in their shoes and see if that helps you to forgive. You can do this!
If you apply these tools, YOU WILL TRANSFORM! I encourage you to use the pain of rejection as motivation for change, so that you will be more deeply rooted in love, belonging, acceptance, and confidence moving forward.
*Always place safety above all else. If you are in a situation where you are being abused, get out of that situation safely as soon as possible, and tell a safe, nurturing, and protective person. Never tolerate abuse.