How To Make Rejection Less Sucky
I have yet to meet anyone who likes rejection. It can be one of the most difficult emotional experiences. We tend to avoid it at all costs and often perceive it happening even when it’s not — yet we still run from it anyway. It’s very understandable why we are this way. The yearning to belong and to be part of a social group is part of what makes us human. All of us try to avoid rejection to some degree. When we start pretending as if we can live our whole lives without ever being rejected and avoid it at all costs is when we start to run into problems. Rejection is just part of life, and in many cases inevitable.
We are social beings and live in tribes. The threat of being kicked out or not let into a tribe is embedded within all of us. Although we want to fit in and we don’t want to be outcasted, there are always other tribes to join. If one group of people doesn’t want to include us in their group, that doesn’t mean everyone on the planet will do the same. It just means that one person doesn’t see our traits being as valuable as someone else’s. That doesn’t mean because we’re rejected that there’s something inherently wrong with us.
Think of a type of food you don’t like to eat. For instance, let’s pretend you don’t like to eat avocados but your best friend does. Would this make avocados a delicious food for humanity or an unappetizing one? Or would it solely depend on the preferences of the person eating it? The avocado is actually neutral, neither good nor bad—some people like them and some don’t. It would tell us more about the person giving the opinion of the avocado than it would tell us about the avocado itself. If you don’t like the taste of avocados then it would tell us more about your taste in food and how you probably don’t like richer foods. If your friend likes avocados then that would tell us more about your friend’s taste in food and how he/she most likely enjoys the texture.
In essence, we are all avocados. Some people like our taste, some people don’t, and some like us depending on the seasoning and what we’re paired with. Either way, people’s negative opinions tell us more about what they’re looking for in a mate, friend, employee, etc than it does about us as a person. When we just label our actions rather than our entire selves, it makes the rejection less personal and more in perspective. If we value the opinion of the person rejecting us we can step outside of ourselves and change the thing about us that the person doesn’t like. If we can’t change it then we can be more self-accepting by not condemning ourselves by a trait that we cannot change. People’s opinions never define us. They’re only opinions, just like avocados—some people love them, and some don’t.