Reason Number One to learn how to deal with rejection: it’s inevitable. A requisite step on the path to success. Like business. You put yourself out there, made a value proposition, but your love interest ... not as interested in closing the deal as you had hoped.
Deal with it.
Step 1: Face the Facts
Start with a test: Are you living? Are you breathing? If you answered “Yes,” you will, at some point, get the brush off. And it is going to hurt — quite literally. A study by the University of Michigan Medical School showed that the brain treats rejection similar to the way it treats actual physical pain. The same way that l’amour is a natural opioid, rejection can be a killer.
Step 2: Deal With It
Rejection is the manifestation of a negative judgement. And judgment is subjective. A value judgment. Know who gets to decide how much you will be affected? You. The more importance one places on a negative judgement, the more it exists. Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow said self-actualizers are “independent of the good opinion of other people.” Start there.
Step 3: Restrain and Reframe
Rejection can certainly dent the ego. Oftentimes resulting in immediate self-defeating (“All is lost”) or self-blaming (“What’s wrong with me?) behavior. In Sharkproof, Harvey Mackay says,”If you didn’t get a job, were turned down for a raise, or denied admission to the college of your choice, don’t rationalize away the hurt. Point your head in the right direction and get back in the game.” Rather than flip your lid and dismantle your reality, reframe the situation. “I asked her out and she rejected me” can become “I asked her out and she said ‘no.’ That’ll happen. Now what?”
Step 4: Evaluate and Move On
Say you’re driving in your car. You hit a tree. You don’t just say “F*** it” and make a point to intentionally hit every tree after. The point is, make rejection useful.
First, you need to process the situation and figure out why it’s got you down.
Did you fear things would turn out bad to begin with? Some psychologists assert that the fear of rejection alone can make a person feel as though their advances were more obvious than they actually were.
Alternatively, did you ignore telltale signs that you weren’t compatible in the first place? Studies show that in the early stages of a relationship, many of us forget what we seek in an ideal partner only to have it resurface later, derailing something that one partner has become more invested in than the other. In other words: maybe you’re just not right for her (or him), and that’s ok.
No man can break every heart. Even Brad Pitt. Well maybe Brad Pitt.
In conclusion: take rejection seriously, but not personally. Then let it go and get back out there. Studies show that while rejection elicits a reaction, it has no concrete effect on self-esteem long term.
The sea is vast, and its fish plentiful.