Why Hearing “No” Hurts So Much and How to Overcome Rejection
We’ve all faced rejection at some point in our lives, whether it’s a failed romantic relationship, being turned down for a job, or not getting that project approval we were hoping for. Rejection can be painful, and it’s not just an emotional pain – our brains are wired to feel physical discomfort when we experience rejection. In fact, studies have shown that rejection activates the same areas of our brain as physical pain.
But why does rejection hurt so much, and is there anything we can do about it? In this article, we’ll explore the science behind rejection and offer three practical strategies to help you overcome the pain of rejection.
The Pain of Rejection is Self-Inflicted
While rejection is inherently painful, many of us exacerbate that pain by beating ourselves up after experiencing it. We call ourselves names, tell ourselves we’re not good enough, and feel disgusted with ourselves. However, most of these self-criticisms are self-inflicted.
Scientists believe that our brains are wired to feel pain from rejection due to our evolutionary history. As hunter-gatherers, we were dependent on our social group for survival. Rejection from our group could mean death, so our brains developed to feel extreme sensitivity to social rejection. This is why most people have a “herd” mentality and prefer to follow the pack rather than standing out.
But while our brains are wired to feel pain from rejection, most of the negative self-talk we engage in after experiencing rejection is unnecessary and counterproductive. Instead, we can use the pain of rejection to motivate and strengthen ourselves, just like successful people such as Tony Robbins, Howard Schultz, and Steve Jobs did.
Use Pain to Your Advantage
It is often in moments of extreme emotional pain that legends are born. Anna Wintour, one of the most famous and successful magazine editors in the world, was fired from her role as a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar long before she achieved success. However, she didn’t let this rejection ruin her. Instead, she used it to push herself to do more with her life.
Similarly, rejection can strengthen our mentality and contribute to our future success. When you experience rejection, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, try to channel that pain into motivation to do better next time. Use it to fuel your passion for a better life.
Three Ways to Adjust Your Mentality to Overcome Rejection
Overcoming rejection isn’t easy, but it is possible. Here are three practical strategies to help you adjust your mentality and overcome the pain of rejection:
1. Have Zero Tolerance for Self-Criticism
When you experience rejection, it’s natural to blame yourself and engage in negative self-talk. But this kind of self-criticism does more harm than good. Instead of beating yourself up, review the situation and think about why it happened. Focus on constructive thoughts such as “I need to acquire a certain skill for this job” or “I should give my partner the space they need.”
Don’t tolerate self-criticism. Recognize that it’s a self-destructive habit that will only make you feel worse. Stop yourself when negative thoughts creep in and replace them with positive, constructive ones.
2. Bolster Your Self-Worth
To overcome the pain of rejection, you need to feel like you matter. One way to do this is to increase your feelings of self-worth. Take some time to write down five things you like about yourself, such as being a good listener or having a strong work ethic. Then, pick one of those qualities and write down why it matters and how you can use it to address the rejection you just experienced.
Focusing on your positive qualities and how they can contribute to your success will help you feel more confident and valuable.
3. Reach out to Strengthen Your Social Connections
Humans are social creatures, and our need for social interaction is deeply ingrained in our biology. When we experience rejection, we often feel a sense of isolation and loneliness. That’s why it’s important to reach out to strengthen your social connections. Call a friend or family member, or even just catch up with someone you haven’t talked to in a while. The act of reaching out can bring you a sense of connection and belonging, which can help to counteract the pain of rejection.
Remember, rejection is painful, but most of the pain is self-inflicted. By following these three strategies, you can adjust your mentality and overcome rejection to achieve your goals and live a more fulfilling life. Don’t let rejection hold you back – use it to your advantage and grow stronger from it.