Published: December 13, 2019
Updated: March 25, 2021
December 13, 2019
How to overcome critical thinking? How to deal with rejection? How can you bounce back from criticism to achieve greatness? This article will show you how...
Have you ever been rejected?
As we all know, it can hurt when we're on the receiving end of rejection, and far too often it can make us feel like we are not good enough. However there are ways to make yourself rejection-proof and immune to destructive criticism, which this article shall summarise.
I have been rejected.
I've been dumped, fired, rejected - all the things that we go through, and it's painful. What I found being a therapist over many years is that some of the most amazing and successful people would come to see me like supermodels, Oscar winning actors and actresses, Olympic athletes and say, "I'm so scared of being rejected. I'm so scared of not being good enough." In order to overcome this fear of rejection, you must first understand it.
I'm a great believer you can't fix what you don't understand, and you can't heal what you can't feel, so let's start from there. We are all born with an instinct to survive and how we survived was by finding connection and avoiding rejection. We know that not that long ago, if you didn't conform with the tribe you were cast out, you were banished. If you were a difficult sailor they'd maroon you, if you were a difficult prisoner they put you into solitary.
Here's the truth, we used to die from rejection and now we don't, but we feel like we do. We have these songs saying “I'd die if you leave me”, “I can't live without you”, “you are the only person in the world for me.” None of that is true. You won’t die if someone leaves you.
I was kicked out of college, my first boyfriend dumped me and broke my heart. I can look back at all the times when I'd been rejected and can now see that being thrown out of college was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it made me forge my own path.
When my first boyfriend, the first boy I ever loved, dumped me, it was very painful. I was so scared of being rejected that I was always very difficult and he couldn’t take it anymore and dumped me.
That's what people who are scared of rejection do. They're either difficult, or needy, clingy or very demanding. There are lots of behaviors that stem from insecurities. I was devastated when my boyfriend dumped me. However, many years later, I met him again and was so glad this boy rejected me, because he had a life that I didn't want to share with him.
When you look back, you'll begin to see that often rejection can be the best thing that ever happened to you. It makes you say, "I'll show you. I'll prove it to you. I'll do better without you.” We are wired to fear rejection in case it kills us, but here's the truth; rejection doesn't kill you. In fact, it often makes you stronger.
Eminem said, "I was so angry. Kids would shut me in a locker, they peed on me. I was so angry. My mom was strung out on Valium, she couldn't help me, she used to give me Valium. I put the anger into rapping and I came back." Wyclef Jean said the same thing: "I lived in a world where you sell crack or rap, and I knew I'd go inside or to the other side unless I got myself together. I turned that wasteland I lived in into music, into lyrics." Sam Smith, who won an Oscar for In the Lonely Hours, "This is for the boy who broke my heart. Thank you so much for giving me the lyrics, the experience, to write about pain."
Nicole Sherzinger shared that she “had a lot of struggles with self-esteem and a lot of insecurities” from not feeling enough. Jennifer Aniston opened up about how traumatic her very public breakup with Brad Pitt was, in this article offering advice for overcoming PTSD.
All the successful people I meet in life have all been rejected. The question is what do they do about it? They deal with rejection, don’t let it wither them, they bounce back and go forwards.
Shakespeare said, "From pain and sorrow comes art," and that's so true. Write about it, do something with it, use it to go forwards.
You always have a choice on how to deal with rejection.
You hurt me, you dumped me, I got fired in public, my teacher said I was stupid, my teacher humiliated me when I wet myself when I was five and the teacher wouldn't let me go to the bathroom.
Now I have a choice. Shall I hold onto that my whole life and go, "Well, I can't ever speak in public. Of course I can't open my heart again to love. I could never go there.”
Or shall I instead choose to think, “No, that was painful, but I'm going to bounce back. You can't stop me." It's the bounce-back factor that makes you bulletproof from rejection, because here's another truth: the only person who can reject you is looking at you in the mirror. The only person who has the real power to reject you is you.
Let me tell you because being able to cope with rejection will change your life, transform your life, revolutionise your life. How you cope with it is very simple. You make a choice, "I will not let this in. I'm not going to let this in."
The most important thing when dealing with rejection is to remember that you cannot stop people from saying harsh, hurtful, mean, critical things about you. However, you can stop yourself from letting it in. You can go, "I'm not going to let this in. This is going right over my head." I feel deeply sad for the person who's going to sit at home saying mean things.
Critical people have the most criticism reserved for themselves.
Maybe your boss is super critical, maybe you have a colleague at work who's mean, maybe you have a parent, or a sibling, who is mean about you. But you have to understand, critical people have the most criticism reserved for themselves. The best way to deal with a critic is to feel sorry for them, to understand that they don’t like themselves and are projecting that outwardly. They feel so bad about themselves, they try to diminish others. However, they can only ever do that if you let them and you don’t have to let their criticism in. You have a choice and can choose not to let it in. Understanding this can have the most liberating power.
In order to stop yourself being diminished, you need to build your self-esteem muscle.
There is nothing on the planet that can make you more rejection-proof than praising yourself. I'm a great believer that your words form and shape your reality. If your reality is, "I get rejected a lot," change your words to change that reality.
Praise will take your self-esteem to a new dimension. When you look in the mirror, say to yourself, "I love you. You're a great person, you're kind, you're warm, you're nice, you're funny, you're engaging." Tell yourself I AM ENOUGH several times a day.
Self-praise will boost your esteem like nothing else and criticism will wither it. You have to boost your praise muscle by praising yourself.
When you love yourself, accept yourself and believe in yourself, you cannot be rejected. People can say awful things. They can try to hurt you and diminish you, but you don't have to let it in.
Think about the first person you ever loved, the person you dated at school that broke your heart. Would you really and truly want to go back and be with them? Probably not. Think about the first job you had that you may have been fired from. Aren't you glad that happened now? Aren't you thrilled at some of the rejections that pushed you forwards? For me, it was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it took me out of the life that my parents had planned for me. Everything that spurred me on to greatness was all to do with rejection.
To deal with rejection, celebrate who you are, welcome where you've come from, be really excited about where you are going and understand something else, your potential expands as you move towards it. You have no idea how amazing you can be, but as you move to a new dimension you can never go back.
If you would like to hear more about this, you can watch the replay for the Ask Marisa Anything: Rejection Proof Yourself webinar.
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