Did you know that:
MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain? This is why rejection hurts so much (neurologically speaking). In fact our brains respond so similarly to rejection and physical pain that Tylenol reduces the emotional pain that rejection elicits. (Psychology Today, 7/3/13)
Rejection is part of our ancestral inheritance sending us a message that without our tribe, we might not survive. The pain was then, as it is now, so intense that a redirection is required. The trauma from rejection lowers our self esteem, has us feeling unworthy, wrong and undeserving. If we don’t learn how to redirect our sabotaging thoughts around rejection, we will continue to suffer.
The truth is that rejection is real. It happens to every one of us, in any area of one’s life. I’ve coached several salespeople who struggle with rejection so much that they become paralyzed when people say “No.” They interpret “No” to mean something is wrong with them, leading to despair and resignation. Experiencing a break up in any relationship can lead to depression and isolation because of the story that’s been attached to the experience.
The sense of belonging that we all crave, to be part of something greater than ourselves, is one of the 6 human needs. We long to belong and without that sense of belonging, we suffer.
I’ve recently experienced rejection in a relationship that felt devastating. I wanted to curl up into a ball and hide out. I needed a way to protect my heart, yet I realized that in order to alleviate the pain I was experiencing, I had to somehow use the experience to heal my heart. I chose to interpret the rejection as, instead, an opportunity for redirection. Of course, when we are rejected, we are most likely not going to embrace the experience as an opportunity, but the reality is that it offers us a path towards healing. The redirection takes place when you allow yourself to become present to a new level of self awareness around how you showed up, what you can learn and what new patterns of behavior and thought can be developed to better deal with the pain and loss.
Here are the 7 steps that I use to move me from rejection to redirection:
- Identify any behaviors that may have caused the other to reject you. Use it as a learning experience to take ownership over what you could have done differently. Apply the learning with all your relationships moving forward. When we are rejected, our knee jerk response is to defend, blame and make the other wrong. Shifting your energy away from the other and back onto taking complete ownership of your actions is the path to healing.
- Identify the story you are telling yourself about the rejection that has you feeling insecure about yourself. List all the self sabotaging thoughts and beliefs about yourself that are you fueling your pain. For example: If I’m selling supplements and only one out of 10 potential customers said “Yes”, I get to notice all the lies I’m telling myself that have me feeling bad, wrong or incapable. “I am a failure. They must not like me. I must have said something wrong, etc.” Or if you are experiencing rejection due to the end of a long term relationship, you might tell yourself: “I’ll never find someone. I must not be attractive. I must not be good enough.”
- Make an attempt to reconcile the relationship, in person. If the other party is not willing, then you get to let go and move on. You can’t force someone to say “Yes” to you. Hearing someone tell you “No” does not make you a bad person.
- Forgive yourself and forgive the other. When we are rejected, we tend to go into judgment over the other and ourselves. Our assumptions over why the relationship ended are rarely true. Allow your heart to soften by practicing forgiveness.
- Rejection is always an opportunity to redirect by bringing ourselves back to who we truly are; to reconnect with God, and to make choices for the highest good of everyone involved. Redirection requires that you trust what unfolded and take the learning into the future that awaits you.
- You need not do rejection alone. Seek the support you need so that you don’t allow rejection to paralyze you. Humble yourself to the knowing that we have been put on this earth for each other. Give yourself that sense of belonging by reaching out, being vulnerable and receiving all the love and support that is available to you.
- Practice self care more than ever. Rejection is physical and emotional pain. Take time out and get the rest you need to heal. Treat yourself to something special. You deserve it.
Rejection is part of our human experience and it definitely hurts. If you are tired of feeling rejected and want to redirect your energy towards creating the best year of your life, know that I’m right here to support you! Call me at 630.244.0920 to set up a complimentary Strategy Session. You have nothing to lose and only to gain!