1. Stop fixating on outcomes.
The hurt we experience with rejection often comes because we have an expectation of how things are going to turn out and we are left disappointed. This reaction is all very natural. How are we supposed to pursue a goal unless we imagine the outcome?
The big issue here is that our imagination often doesn’t produce the goods in real life. It’s not particularly trustworthy. It’s a human tendency to remember the few times when things went to plan rather than the thousands of times they didn’t, giving us a false sense of hope that the universe will service our every dream.
Our expectations also don’t always truly have our best interests at heart because they come from our understanding of life that is limited to a time and place.
Should that stop us working towards our goals? Not at all. Is the world full of complexity that might alter the outcomes? Yes.
Rejection is part of a very fluid process that will be full of surprises. If we fixate on outcomes we’ll be continually disappointed. If we see that both acceptance and rejection are part of moving forward and consciously police our expectations then we’ll feel a lot healthier emotionally.
2. Put many irons in the fire.
Rejection hits the hardest when we’ve chosen to focus on just one outcome, person or idea. We’ve put all our energy into it and are absolutely devastated when it doesn’t come through.
Broadening our perspective and investigating many options ensures that rejection matters less to us when it comes.
This concept is very multidimensional. We might have an idea that we want to stick to but we will be open to how that idea plays out and who will invest in it. We’ll market our idea to many people but also have another idea in the wings that’s close to hatching. We’ll want to fall in love but before we do we want to see what type of people are around so that we can work out what we like and don’t like.
We won’t be single minded. We’ll have many goals or work towards one goal in many different ways while fostering fun experiences in the present.
3. Don’t take it personally.
This is the first thing most people say in response to our devastation and it’s one of the most annoying things to hear. Of course, we’re going to take it personally. How ridiculous. We put ourselves out there and someone chose to turn his or her back on us.
I’ve found one of the only ways to feel any sense of peace about this is to recognise myself as a rejecter. I actively choose or reject things everyday and most of the time I have little or no real compassion for what I’m rejecting. We are all like this. We choose to shop in one store and not another, watch one movie and not another, associate with some people and not with others.
We have done what our rejecters have done to us. It’s a matter of taste or specifications or a million different conscious or subconscious reasons but we all reject. Those who reject us with compassion often go well beyond what we would do if in their shoes. The bottom line is there’s not a match and we need to spread ourselves wide to find that match.
4. Don’t give up.
If we give up then we haven’t mastered the art of being ok with rejection. We’ve let it win. We’ve stopped trying to find the match and have viewed someone else’s opinion as more important than our own. History is full of rejected people who go on to create great things. We reject all manner of things that people have spent years working on.
We have an opportunity to see rejection as evidence of progress. We’ll still feel the hurt but the wider we spread our net and the more rejections we receive the less they’ll sting.
Rejection is a big part of living an exciting life and the question is – do we want an exciting life or not?