Rejection is such a scary prospect for a human. The brain processes rejection as a threat to one’s livelihood and survival.
The brain knows that the value exchange of food, water, shelter and comfort while you are vulnerable is an important part of surviving. So when someone is rejecting your opinions, ideas or your products or services, they are inevitable rejecting your presence as someone who has value to give. Sounds dramatic and the brain sure can be a drama queen as it frets about trying to keep you from harm’s way.
We can’t afford to be rejected physically and if we do, we risk remaining rejected and that is called abandonment. It does not get more dramatic than this. Abandonment is the ultimate failure because you are now closest to the point of starving to death or being eaten in the jungle. When you are on your own, you can’t leverage the power of being in a group for safety and the team synergy to find the food.
This is why we feel rejection so sharply. It is the brain sending very clear signals to the body that you are in imminent danger of death if that rejection is not dealt with! This is why we avoid being rejected, even if it means not engaging in the first place. The brain does not want to give people a reason to abandon you – so if they have no reason to reject you, then you are playing it safe.
This is why we learn to avoid challenges and going after our dreams. The brain sees grave risks in that endeavour. Making mistakes it can handle but being rejected for not being strong and valuable is risky and must be avoided if you want to stay in company to secure your survival.
Our personality spends so much time screening our environment to avoid potential rejection, we forget to look for opportunities to thrive. The thriving has to wait until there is a path where you are safe from all rejections. Given that path does not exist, our goals are left ignored.
Every decent goal achieved was by someone who decided being rejected did not matter anymore. So if you want to avoid being rejected, you have to allow room for people rejecting you for the wrong reasons and maybe even for legitimate reasons too!
What if your passion for something is not wanted by someone? Do you force it on them? Do they oblige and neglect their needs just to fulfil yours? Or do you appreciate that rejection is a part of the choice well all want to be able to make that guides what we are giving and receiving?
What if someone rejected you for the wrong reasons? Do you feel sorry for yourself and run? Or do you look more closely to understand what is causing the rejection? Is it the way you are doing it? Is it the way they are interpreting it? Rejection is the act of saying I am not valuing my experience and I want it to stop. Given our intentions are to give value, shouldn’t we be first interested in how to be different with that person so they can experience the value?
What if they reject us regardless of our best intentions and best efforts? We should always assume we can do more, but we also should be compassionate to our effort too. If we have tried and we are not succeeding, it is okay to stop if it is not getting you anywhere. Only you know whether you gave it a decent shot and giving up is okay. Just be honest with yourself and as resourceful and creative as can be and if that does not work, walk away with good conscience that some rejections are normal because we are all a work in progress. That includes the person that does not seem too interested in helping you work out how to give them value!
So how can you handle rejection? By observing the reasons for the rejection with the intent of adapting to give more value. If you have this attitude, rejection suddenly paves the path to great success because you are using your courage to hold steadfast and not let that brain of yours get the better of you for the wrong reasons. You are doing something that shouldn’t be rare, but it is! You are deciding to feel rejected and not take it personally.
By embracing your rejection, you will find yourself becoming less rejected. Be careful, though: a healthy level of rejection is evidence that you are learning, growing and expanding into more of the adventure of life where the great rewards come from!
So, we are not trying to escape rejection, we see it as information, feedback, to feed our view for a better approach. That way of being is so valuable, only the insane would reject it. Sounds like a win-win to me!