Rejection is one of the hardest emotions to experience. We all have felt levels of rejection at some time in our life. Negative self-perceptions and beliefs already plague us throughout the day and somehow a stranger is able to make us feel worse about ourselves. I’ve worked with many clients who have shared their experiences in meeting people in person or on mobile dating applications and how they often feel worse about themselves after the encounter. If the person with whom they are speaking says they are fat, ugly, or not their type, it will often cause my clients to feel poorly about themselves. Usually, they tell me they either respond negatively to the person or they feel badly about themselves for some time.
The misperception about rejection is this: no one can reject you, but you reject yourself. It’s one of the most important lessons we can learn in life. No one knows us the way we know ourselves. We know all the embarrassing moments, all the areas we perceive as faults or shortcomings, or things we’ve never told anyone before. When we have an interaction with someone, who points out a weakness we already perceived in ourselves, we then take every hidden detail and negative self-belief and project it on to that person who then reflects and magnifies it back on to us. In doing so, it solidifies all the negative feelings we have about ourselves and reinforces the negative insecurities that already plague us. Think about it, how can a person who has never met you have that much power over you? Sure, you both may have different body types you find attractive, but it should in no way devalue you or reflect on your self-worth. When you project your insecurity on to a situation or person you will automatically feel rejected and then respond negatively.
The way to work through rejection is to ask yourself, “What is it about me that I feel is being rejected?” Don’t think about the person, focus on what sparked the rejection. Is it your body, your laugh, your intelligence, your job, your car, etc.? When you can pinpoint the actual detail, then ask yourself, “Do I believe what he said or implied is true?” If you don’t, then there is no need to feel rejected; the person simply doesn’t know you and you don’t want to waste your time on him. If what he says you feel there is some truth to it then analyze it. Remember, that individual only had a brief encounter with you; he doesn’t have all the years of data and information on you that you projected on the situation. It’s important to put perspective on any interaction with the amount of time/knowledge someone has about you. If you believe something to be true, then it’s true.
Finding and demonstrating compassion for yourself is incredibly important. It is vital to immediately use positive self-talk to negate what someone has said to you. When you speak aloud positive words of self-affirmation it starts to counteract the negative internal self-talk this person evoked and helps you defuse your hurt and rejected feelings.
No one can love you better than you. A stranger does not determine your worth, you do.
James Miller is a licensed psychotherapist who resides in West Palm Beach, FL. He is known for his international radio show: James Miller | Lifeology where he helps people simplify and transform one’s life. JamesMillerLifeology.com