3 Ways to Become Rejection-Proof
Byron| May 12th, 2014
The fear of rejection is obviously one of the deepest, most psychologically scarring fears we can experience. This fear can and will trap people into a life of comfort and false security, robbing them of taking action in new directions.
I wrote this blog to share three of my best ideas for re-thinking rejection so that you're armed with a better mindset for dealing with it when it comes up. If you live according to these three ideas, you will be more confident and willing to explode your comfort zone.
TAKE NOTHING PERSONALLY
Most of the pain we feel from rejection stems from taking things personally - from making everything have something to do with us. If you think about it, this means we're actually being incredibly selfish. If everything is about you, you give yourself more opportunities to be offended and hurt.
Recognize, instead, that nothing people do is because of who you are. If someone rejects you, insults you, or speaks ill toward you, they do so more because of their own lack of self-esteem. If someone is giving you negative energy, think about where that energy has to originate. (Hint: confident people don't treat others with cruelty). You don't see those with a high degree of self-love thrashing out at others.
You might make the argument that there are plenty of extremely confident people that treat others poorly. Yes, while that may be true, I would argue that most of these people aren't motivated by love. They carry around big egos that feel the need to put others down in order to feel more powerful - a trait of insecurity in its highest form. Don't confuse an ego-centered arrogance with true confidence.
Once you're really clear that people act according to their own realities and beliefs, you're free to face rejection without pain. If someone tries to insult you, rather than defending yourself or lashing out at them, pity them. Let them know, "You must be having a rough day. I hope you feel better."
Also, don't take approval personally either. If someone compliments you, it really has more to do with that person's being in a great mood and wanting to express love than anything else. Listen, I'm not saying that you need to shun compliments and ignore them. Be a great receiver and hear all of the kind words others tell you. What I am saying is this: don't take these compliments personally. Don't hang your hat on them. Don't fall into the trap of outwardly seeking approval and support in order to feel better about yourself. This makes you far more susceptible to being hurt when you are rejected.
Take nothing personally and you'll be far less self-conscious. You'll see where everyone is coming from more clearly.
LAUGH IT OFF
Throughout my book Unshakable Swagger, I talk about the power of using your physiology to your advantage. Here's the key idea: your emotions affect your body language and your body language affects your emotions. It's a continuous cycle - if you change one, you change the other.
Most of us experience this in one way: we FEEL something negative (like getting rejected) so our BODY changes (we slump our shoulders, frown, look down at the ground, hunch over, slow down our pace, and take more shallow breaths.) Or we might FEEL something positive (like getting a cute girl's phone number) so our BODY changes in a different way (we smile, stand up straight, take a deep breath, and clinch our fist and pump it in the air, according to Louis CK).
But you don't have to limit your body language to what your emotions dictate first. You can reverse the order and change your body language in order to affect your feelings.
Wanna know the easiest, most simple way of doing this? Start laughing.
Yes, I'm suggesting you start LAUGHING when you get REJECTED.
Here's why: by forcing yourself to laugh and smile, your physiology is going to affect your emotions. Your brain is going to be actively searching for reasons for you to be carrying on this way. It will actually have you focusing on something completely different. Rather than concentrating on how dejected you must feel, it will be giving you reasons to find the situation funny. The entire context shifts instantly in that split-second.
Let's say you have approached a gorgeous girl outside of Starbucks. She's sitting at a table by herself. You walk over, say, "Hey - I had to stop by because you're really cute. What's your name?" Imagine she gives you the WORST CASE answer - the one you never want to hear and fear the most. The thing that keeps you from approaching more women: "EWW go away."
In that instant, rather than crumpling up your face and showing the "I'm offended" face, start laughing. Laugh, shake your head, and say something like, "That was awesome." Then just walk away. From there on, do everything with your body in a COMPLETELY opposite manner than you would if you felt rejected. Open up by stretching, shout in excitement, pump your fist, and grin from ear to ear. I know exactly what you're thinking. But that's bull shit. She just completely shot me down there. And my best reaction is to...act like an idiot?
Yes. Because you could have reacted the same way if you got her phone number. Would you still feel like an idiot smiling and celebrating then?
There are no written rules for when you should feel rejected. Your brain just analyzes the environment and how you're body is responding to the best of its abilities. Throw a wrench in this whole process by laughing and you will stay in control of your emotional state. You'll take less of a psychological "hit" and continue taking action.
SEE IT AS FEEDBACK
One of the most critical shifts I made in my thought process was shifting my perspective of failure from "I've made a mistake I shouldn't have" to "now I have something I can learn from."
This shift allowed (and still allows) me the freedom to take massive action, look at my immediate results, and determine what needs tweaking without an emotional interference.
When you get shot down, shift out of the "poor me" or "this shouldn't have happened to me" mentality and into the "let's see what I can learn" mindset.
While it can be embarrassing getting rejected, if you can maintain the presence of mind to ask why you were rejected, you can learn from it. This knowledge can be (and often is) far more valuable than getting what you wanted in the first place!
Two examples to drive this home:
1) You again approach a cute girl, ask for her number, and get shot down. She hasn't explained why and you have a hunch you could or should have done something differently. Ask her something like this, "Hey - one last thing - I'm really trying to meet new women and want to put my best foot forward on this. I don't mind any criticism - what can I do or say differently?" It takes a HUGE amount of humility to do this - but remember, you're not going to take anything personally. You're not going to be offended by what she offers you. This kind of direct feedback is EXACTLY where you need to make shifts in your approach!
2) The position you wanted for your career gets filled by someone else. Let's say you were one of the last two or three finalists. I understand that businesses are under no obligation to explain to you why you weren't chosen, but a simple follow up email can get you some much needed education. So hammer out a quick email after you receive news that you didn't get the job. Explain how you really want to put your best foot forward with your job search and want to know where you could use improvement. Are you guaranteed to get a response? Nope. But is it worth it? Absolutely! You have NOTHING to lose.
Be grateful for each and every time you are rejected. There is always something new you can learn about yourself and others. Life shouldn't be designed to avoid rejection and disapproval. The more you encounter it with humility and a desire for sharpening your skills, the more you will learn from its wisdom.
About Byron Van Pelt
Byron Van Pelt is a Certified Life Coach, entrepreneur, and published author of Unshakable Swagger: The Man's Guide to Being Confident Any Time, Any Place...Period. He is now happily married with his wife, Bethany and lives in Jacksonville, Florida. With over eight years of dedication to the world of high-end personal development, he utilizes an arsenal of skills to accelerate his clients' breakthroughs in business, dating, health, and fulfillment. Byron specializes in teaching men how to explode their level of confidence in everything they do and ensure it resonates in even the most challenging circumstances.