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July 26, 2013
Why do some people struggle with rejection? Be it feelings of rejection from advances made towards someone you are attracted to, or rejection from being told no after a job interview. Some people I have worked with have been so traumatized by the mere fear of being rejected that they had gotten into the habit of doing nothing to improve their situation, especially when it came to reaching out to others for help or collaboration.

A common reason some people struggle with rejection is an under developed sense of self identity. An under developed sense of self identity occurs when a person from a very early age has been repeatedly exposed to messages with the reoccurring theme of inclusion. These messages on the surface may overtly talk about the importance of individuality, but in practice encourages people to classify themselves into pre determined cookie cutter identities with the promotion of disdain for others who choose not to fit into any of these pre determined identities. It is the reason societies have stereotypes. The problem with people who have bought into a stereotype as their self identity, is that they don’t learn how to address and solve their own problems and in worse case scenarios they find themselves transitioning from one crisis to the other.

From the young woman who struggles to find love, because most of the men she dates have adopted the mindset of bullies, and as a result she finds herself being bullied by most men she’s dated – to the recent college graduate  who can’t find work, because due to his mental conditioning of being attracted to prestige, he finds himself being looked down upon by most employers he has applied to work for.

Do you get where I am going with these two examples?

These are people who have been conditioned into buying into a pre determined cultural attitude which doesn’t work for them. The woman has been conditioned to be attracted to bullies and the man has been conditioned associate only with snubs. These are two real life examples of people I have successfully worked with, by teaching them to identify their own bias and practice thinking and taking action outside of the proverbial box.

Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, when it comes to how well or how poorly you deal with rejection, here are three beliefs to adopt that can help you cope better with the disappointment from being turned down.

Belief #1: You were born somebody.

Ever heard people talk about how they want to be somebody? Chances are high that you too have made that type of statement before. If you slow down and give it some thought, just how much more of a somebody will you become, if you received the validation most people have been conditioned to crave?

People who experience genuine content in their lives, come from a place a giving back. They are always thinking about what they can do to help others because they recognize that their mere existence is a miracle to be celebrated. As a result they routinely seek to give back, as a token of their gratitude.

Belief # 2: Privileges and Entitlements are illusions

Be it you or someone you know, when you encounter an attitude of entitlement, it’s not a matter of sociopathy or wickedness you are dealing with, but rather a misunderstanding. This is because for people who have consistently followed the established rules of indoctrination, or inclusion, are merely following through in collecting on a reward they believe is justifiably theirs.

The sooner you recognize that the only thing you are entitled to is your life the less resentment you will experience. This is because entitlements lead to expectations and expectations lead to pre mediated resentments. When you let go if your expectations, you find yourself exercising more flexibility in how you communicate with others and deal with disappointments.

Belief #3: Compatibility is already pre established

When dealing with rejection from any source, you have to adopt the belief that the rejection was simply information that the relationship you sought from the other party was not meant to be. I once read a New York Times article about a man who couldn’t find employment despite his Harvard degree in Business. In the story, he recounted an experience where he communicated by email and phone with a prospective employer about the job he was applying for, and on the day he finally met them, he perceived that they were put off by the fact he was Black.

On a personal level, I believe his story, but from the way the story was told and his picture in the article, I found the presentation of his side of events to be a bit unflattering. My reasoning is this, why would I want to give my time and services to an establishment where I am obviously not welcome? I am personally grateful for the man, that he did not get that job, ( he would probably disagree). I think he would be better off looking within his network of family and friends and beyond to find out how he can use his stellar skills to make a living in collaboration with those who regard him with dignity and respect.
In short the whole concept of compatibility already being pre established is this, there is someone out there for everyone. So if you find yourself running into the wrong people, it’s a good idea to evaluate why you are attracted to others who are not attracted to you.
In summary, recognizing your value as a human being from a place of humility and gratitude goes a long way towards accepting and dealing with rejection.
So what are your thoughts about this post?
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling and life coaching practice.
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