REJECTION…….Positive Ways You Can HANDLE Rejection?

By Kevin Hogan

If your own parent rejects you, then WHO THE HELL WOULD LOVE YOU or accept you? 

At least that's what goes on in the nonconscious part of the mind.... As a child, you learned to react when you felt the pain of rejection (even not getting what you needed or wanted right away was a type of rejection for you).

"Not now"…

"Don't bother me"…

"I said NO!"…

"Don't do that again"…

Acceptance and Early Human Survival Roots...

Long ago, people lived in communities in which they depended on each other for survival.

Together they would:

  • Hunt…
  • Gather food…
  • Raise Children…
  • Fight off danger…
Take care of each other's needs… Together, they gained strength from day-to-day interaction and they became dependent on each other for their very survival.

Being INCLUDED, being ACCEPTED was necessary to survive...and that Genetic Code is still written inside of you and me today....To be rejected from the group meant possible death - to be rejected by the community was to leave themselves open and vulnerable to every threat that could come to them.

Living without the protection that they had come to know and depend on would have been counter intuitive of the basic human need of community that was within them as humans.

Today in many tribes around the world, rejection and ostracism is considered to be the most extreme forms of punishment.

The tribal interpretation of this type of punishment is feared because it means certain "social death" to the rejected.

Even in animals, the ones ostracized inevitably face an early death if they are cast out by their pack. Once rejected and cast out, they lack the resources to capture and secure their own food, and they no longer enjoy the protection of their group.

They are therefore prevented from forming bonds that provide social sustenance. They lag behind, become decimated, and eventually die through malnutrition or from being attacked by another animal.

Survival of the fittest says to be part of the group..."knowing" that if you aren't, you are finished....

We can clearly see that by our very design, NEEDING to fit in and NEEDING to be accepted by others is a primal response.

This explains why rejection, and even the fear of rejection, is so unnerving and painful to you.

Acceptance is an absolute NECESSITY for our very survival and well being whether it is for our physical survival, or survival in our social standing.

How does rejection affect YOU physically and emotionally?

Rejection has varying effects on us both emotionally and physically. Taking a closer look at the process that we undergo in these stressful situations, rejection can lead to severe negative effects in people's lives.

If you think back you can probably pinpoint several times in your life where you have been affected by rejection to the point of emotional distress and possibly even to the point of physical pain or other health problems.

Maybe the increased aggression that you were feeling (as a direct result of the rejection) made you experience one or more of things like anxiety, depression, strange illnesses that had no apparent physical cause....

The effects of rejection in our lives can lead to an increased risk of all types of health problems and can lead to further devastating tolls on your health and in our lives. But it doesn't stop there.

Rejection And It's Relationship To Your Self-Esteem

Let's take an in-depth look at how rejection affects your self-esteem and how those effects keep us from taking the steps necessary to creating success in your business or personal lives.

Rejection and your self-esteem work together to shape your life in both positive and negative ways. The workings of rejection play out against your inner happiness, your family life and in your business or career.

Rejection is a very complex piece of the pie of life.

Once you truly understand what it is and how it affects your self-esteem, you can learn how to use rejection and it's warning signs as tools to enhance rather than destroy your personal and business life as well as the lives of those around you.

Take a look at your life…

What rejection do you personally face?

What rejection have you faced in the past?

Remember how it felt?

Do you struggle with it daily in some area of your life?

Let me ask you a question. When rejection is about to happen to you, does your body give you specific WARNING signs?

Do you feel a "gut warning?"

Of course you do. You can FEEL it coming. You know...


Do you feel yourself backing away from the situation… Withdrawing… Shutting down… hiding the "Real You"?

Sometimes you probably even wonder why they said YES THEN, "NO."

You find yourself in a situation where you can shine… your moment to step up to the plate and let 'em see what you've got… what you're all about… what you're capable of… and "BAM"… you blow it!

You felt the fear of possible rejection and it zaps you back into your comfort zone. It keeps you from victory… from success. You strike up a conversation hoping you'll fit into a group you've just met while on a business trip and you realize that some of the group members' successes and track records are miles ahead of you… and…"Bam"… you freeze!

  • What if they realize that you're a rookie?
  • What if they ask you something that you don't know?
  • What if they decide they just don't like you?
You've heard these responses in your head over and over before… same words… different situations. (Sometimes you do this to your self - sabotage your self with thoughts of rejection that haven't even happened yet, and the threat is ONLY in our minds!) 

What you felt is the impending threat of possible rejection being measured by your built in "Rejection Radar", otherwise known as your "Sociometer".

Each of us has one of these "personal rejection radars" and it tells us that rejection is possibly on the way. This radar, allows us to prepare - to arm ourselves with the defenses that our internal self has in place to help protect our self-esteem.

Want to know more about this "radar"?

A Primitive Emotional Warning System

Psychologist, Mark R. Leary, Ph.D., proposes the theory that self-esteem is a type of internal meter that is built into each of us to help us detect rejection and to prompt us to avoid the threat of social rejection.

His theory suggests that the self esteem system is an internal, psychological gauge that monitors the degree to which the individual is being included versus excluded by other people.

Self-esteem, then, is an internal representation of social acceptance and rejection.

Think of self-esteem as being the fuel gauge in your car. We usually never think about the function of the fuel gauge, which is keeping fuel in the car. Instead, we are focused on the alerting system of the fuel gauge.

We are busy trying to keep it from registering "Empty".

The same thing goes for our self-esteem. We rarely focus on it or worry about maintaining it for it's own sake - keeping our self-esteem healthy and its tank "Full".

Rather, self-esteem should be used as a gauge to keep our own "internal gas tanks" from running low.

When your self-esteem gauge's warning system goes off… when you are sitting on "Empty", you're not thinking about repairing your self-esteem, which is what you are lacking, but your immediate response is to repair your standing in the eyes of others. You're focused on ways to maintain your positive connections that are in danger.

When your "alarm system" goes off, you immediately begin checking to see what you are doing that could possibly be turning others off to you or to something that you are doing.

"It's a primitive emotional warning system to get you to analyze the situation you're in," explains Leary. "Say you're talking to someone and notice the person's suddenly frowning; a sign of disapproval. You think to yourself, 'I said something they don't like. I've got to let them know I was just kidding'."

This personal alert system operates constantly with or without you being aware of it... it's on autopilot.

Over time, people develop a range of protective responses to react to the signals that their internal radar gives them.

Sometimes these responses can be as simple as hurt feelings, but other feelings such as embarrassment, shame, guilt, or jealousy can also serve as signs of this response to us. Because our adaptive response to rejection and ostracism is such a natural part of our internal selves, it often takes very little to trigger our detection system and bring out our built in defenses.

Sometimes they are right...sometimes they are wrong...but no matter what, the other person will react with "no" if they see that you are feeling rejected when they weren't rejecting you.

And that is the difference between the person who takes rejection and turns it into a positive energy, is constantly growing and the guy that never quite makes it.

It's the difference between the one who gets a 5 and the one who gets a 9...and goes for the 10!

Kevin Hogan

Kevin Hogan is the author of 22 books. He is best known for his international best selling book, The Psychology of Persuasion: How to Persuade Others to Your Way of Thinking.

Kevin is a dynamic, well-known international public speaker, consultant and corporate trainer.

His keynotes, seminars and workshops help companies sell, market and communicate more effectively. His cutting edge research into the mind and keen understanding of consumer behaviour create a unique distillation of information never before released to the public. Each customized program he leads is fit specifically to the needs of the group or organization. Kevin will give your people new and easy to implement ideas to achieve excellence.

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