Rejection is painful no matter how it occurs. It can leave you feeling pretty splintered. A friend of mine and I talked on the phone yesterday. He told me that he has been crushing on a mutual friend for years. She ditched him during a date to go hang out with her sister. He was mortified and his ego was shattered.
Another friend loves inventing games. He invented a game that made it to one of the major players in toy retail, who rejected his idea. He hasn’t worked on inventing games in 15 years.
With all of the people dealing with rejection landing at my door, I figured I should do some research on the best way to recover from shattered confidence after rejection.
So what can you do if your confidence is shattered after rejection? Distinguish between the rejection and the feeling of rejection. Learn from it and go to work on your self-respect. Distinguish if it is a recurring theme in your life and face your fear of rejection by taking small steps towards it each day.
Sometimes it’s not easy to discern how you should go on when faced with a really traumatic rejection. So I have put together the following tips from what I learned in my research on regaining confidence after it has been shattered by rejection. Here is how you can F’ rejection.
What do I mean when I say your confidence is shattered?
I want to make sure you and I are talking about the same thing when it comes to rejection.
I am not talking your average ego blow here. I am talking about a situation in which you have been rejected that is connected to your soul, your individuality and how you identify yourself.
This kind of rejection can come out of many different types of situations, but usually, it happens in instances when a guy rejects a girl or a girl rejects a guy (romantic rejection) like losing your self-esteem in a relationship or work-related failure and criticism. This type of job fail can result in your wondering how to deal with lack of confidence at work.
Often the criticism or rejection can be quite public and humiliating.
So let’s dive into how you can become masterful at dealing with rejection and finally flip the script on your bruised sense of self.
10 F’s for Restoring Your Crumbled Confidence
1. Fear regret more than rejection:
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have time to waste.
If you are young, it is easy to have the mindset that you have all the time in the world to get it right or to figure it out. It’s easy to “hide out’ and isolate yourself especially when you have experienced a major blow to your self-confidence.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s easy to run and hide. At the end of the journey, however, you will wish you might not have run from your rejection anxiety.
Don’t get stuck in a mode of complaining, you have to go to work on this and the sooner the better.
What is scarier? Living your life in isolation so you can avoid rejection and regretting it on your death bed? Or, taking the chance now to meet the person of your dreams or get the career you want?
My husband told me what his mom spoke about the days before her death. She said, “I just want to be around to see the grand-kids grow up.” She was terrified of leaving this world and missing out on what was to come.
Fast forward a few years later and his dad told him that the only thing he wanted was 10-12 more years.
Seriously, it is easy to forget that there will be an end of us and at that moment, we will wish that we had the opportunity to live longer in a world filled with rejection. Just to have the chance to be rejected is better than the alternative.
So what will it be for you?
Are you going to spend your time fearing rejection or fearing
Certainly, I am not underestimating the realness and pain that comes with criticism and rejection, and there is a process to go to work on it. The point is you have to take action.
Wallowing won’t get you there. Lick your wounds and then do something about it.
You may end up wishing you had.
2. Find someone to talk to.
You’ve got a lot circling around in your head and in your heart. While the thoughts are spinning out of control, it’s going to be hard to get any type of relief.
Rejection runs so deep that it can leave you feeling quite isolated.
It’s the emotional equivalent to getting stuck on the county fair’s $5 teacup ride. You aren’t going to be able to rely on the guy with the half-smoked cigarette hanging out of his mouth to help. You are going to need to find someone who cares a great deal about you.
Ask your friend (or therapist) for permission to dump out all of your feelings on the floor, and let them help you sort through the mess and put your heart back together again.
It’s not time to go it alone.
If you are devastated, be honest with how you feel.
3. Forgive and harvest the good.
Once you have purged the flood of emotion and sifted through the internal turmoil, you can go to work on deciphering what’s next.
As discussed above, it’s important to distinguish between the actual rejection and the feeling of rejection. If you are left with the sting of the rejection, first get clear on what is going on there.
Often when someone criticizes you, it says more about them than it does you. It’s easy to put other people’s opinions on a pedestal and worship their thoughts as if they are true. When others
Accept the fact that you are emotionally raw from the experience and then put your investigative hat on.
Ask yourself, does their criticism say more about them or me?
If the criticism is coming from a place of trying to help you then I recommending listening and learning.
If the rejection seems to be coming from a place of malicious intent, then, you can be sure that they have something to work through on their end.
In this case, go to work on forgiving them so that you can move on.
Whatever you do, don’t just take their word for it and accept what you are told. Only you get to decide how valuable you are.
If you feel like you don’t have value, then it is time to look at your internal state and where that dialogue originates. It may have ties to your past.
4. Focus on your reaction rather than the rejection.
Control your emotions.
A good way to do this is to write out on a piece of paper exactly what happened.
Write it as if you were a news reporter.
Leave the emotion out. Just like a news anchor reporting that a plane crashed killing all the passengers is able to move right on to the next story, it is good if you write it out just that way.
As an example for my friends above I talked about at the beginning of the post, I might write, “Jack was on a date with Jill and Jill left the restaurant where they were having dinner to go spend time with Juliette.”
Or, for my other friend, I might write. “Bill pitched Big Games Co. his idea, and they decided not to market the game.”
Then on another area of the paper, write out all of the things that you would suspect about yourself in light of this event.
What did you let it mean about your identity, your self-worth and value?
For Jack, he might write, “I’m not good enough. She isn’t into me. I’m ugly. I’m not worth it. Nobody wants to be with me.”
For Bill, He might write, “I’m not talented enough. I’m not smart enough. My ideas are no good. It’s because I don’t have a marketing background. Maybe I have a weird voice.”
It’s important to list all of the things you think the rejection says about you because only then will you be able to make sense of it all and start putting the pieces of your heart back together again.
5. Force yourself to embrace it.
Rejection is part of being on planet earth. We have all experienced.
There is an old saying that “You want to hear lots of No’s because each No gets you closer to a Yes.”
Grant Cardone, a famous speaker
He says the
Money and success follow attention and you won’t get either without attracting haters and naysayers.Grant Cardone
6. Face your Fears
Take small risks each day. Unfortunately, if you want to change your relationship to rejection, you will need to tackle it head on.
Most of the time the only way to get better at something is by doing it. I know this sounds logical, but how exactly are you supposed to create rejection so that you can deal with it?
The best way is to force yourself out of your comfort zone each day. Here is an article I wrote on developing grit and determination.
Depending on the area where you experienced the rejection, you can take some small action that gets you closer to your goals each day.
Put yourself out there. It can be something as simple as recording a video on social media. I am not saying that you should air your feelings about the person that hurt you.
I mean get comfortable with a new level of vulnerability that you haven’t done before.
Colonel Sanders was rejected 1,009 times and Walt Disney 302 times.
If they had given up, we wouldn’t know KFC or Disney World.
Learn from rejection.
If you are at the top of your class, you are in the wrong class. Celebrate your failures and shortcomings knowing that you are pushing yourself. Celebrate rejection and move on. The no’s eventually will eventually turn into a yes.
7. Free your mind from childhood concerns
Rejection runs deep because it often reminds of us a situational experience from early on in our childhood, career or romance.
It’s easy to feel catapulted back in time to a place or experience where sheer agony reigned.
But, this is the perfect time to get complete with your past.
Ask yourself, “What does this situation remind me of?”
Be quiet and wait for the answer to emerge. It has taken me days to get answers, especially when the memory is tangled in a lot of trauma or things I’d rather not remember.
Just sit with the question until something pops. Once you identify the memory or experience, think about how it has affected you.
Often when we reflect on those events, it’s a good idea to remind ourselves that the event isn’t happening now. This helps us minimize the pain a bit and can prevent us from reliving it.
Now, bring adult eyes to the experience.
Ask yourself, what kind of person would feel the need to do that to you.
You might discover that the person that inflicted the pain on you was dealing with their own issues that caused the problem or were themselves projecting some ill-will that they were experiencing.
Once you can understand the situation and have clarity from the viewpoint of the one who inflicted your injuries, you will know that you are on the road to forgiveness.
The takeaway here is that rejection can be a powerful force that can propel you into dealing with issues once and for all.
This will help you find freedom.
8. Forget about others’ opinions
I find it helps me to admit it when I’m feeling hurt. It can be hard to admit. I always think I should be able to shoulder everything alone.
It’s funny that I don’t often want to rely on others, but when they have opinions about me, I take them to heart.
Realizing that others aren’t the judge of you, is an important distinction.
Unfortunately, we have spent most of our lives in a feedback loop. We do something, see how others respond and then determine whether we got it right or wrong.
As you get older and as you develop beyond relying on
If you look at any great achievement in history, for the most part, it was considered impossible and there were a lot of naysayers until the achievement of the goal forced them to reconcile what was truly possible.
As you grow personally, you will have to move beyond whether others agree with you. Thankfully if you do this often enough, the world has a way of making room for you.
Consider how some people seem to get away with anything, while your feet are always held to the fire if you mess up.
The reason is simple, they have come to terms on how they are going to live their life and others make room for it.
Start letting others make room for you, your needs and wants.
9. Feel good about yourself.
In order to give yourself permission to make room for yourself, you are going to have to go to work. You will have to confront your current level of self-respect and look for weaknesses.
If you are a go with the flow type, easily over-looked, criticized or too nice, the following points might help.
- You have to respect yourself. Often, we aren’t aware that we don’t respect ourselves. Watch for times when you are setting your priorities on hold to help others. Remember, you always have the right to say no without feeling bad. Set your boundaries. This will encourage respect from others.
- If you find that you are always setting putting yourself second and others first, ask whether you have ever had these thoughts. If I don’t help these people something bad will happen to me. They won’t like me, or I didn’t do enough. I should have helped more. I am selfish if I don’t help people every time.
- Have you ever noticed that sometimes people just expect you to do things for them?
- When Saying No: be honest about what you are saying no to. Don’t over explain it. Say it kindly & friendly.
- Don’t burden yourself with the feelings of others. Be proud of yourself for saying no.
- Don’t take on the feelings of others. Remember you are responsible for you.
- There are people who help you and those who hurt you. There are people who drain you. It’s okay not to have relationships with people who take you for granted.
- You need to take care of yourself first. If you don’t, you can’t help others. You can’t make others happy if you aren’t happy. Otherwise, it will be short-lived.
A self-respecting person can never be taken for granted.
10. Finish the conversation.
Jia Jiang from Ted Talks did a personal study of 100 days of rejection.
He had to do things like: go to stores and ask if he could be a greeter, or randomly go to a random house and ask the owner if it is okay for him to plant a flower in their backyard.
The requests were crazy, and he was willing to try it all.
Do you know what the result was?
He learned that he spent most of his time running away from rejection. He avoided any situation that looked like might cause him pain. This started way back when he was six years old.
He let that little boy’s mentality run his life and dictate his success.
His experiment resulted in 2 major breakthrough discoveries.
One day among all of the rejection he was experiencing, he discovered that if he asked people, “Why, ” that he would get all kinds of reason.
Most of the reasons were never what he thought they might be, and usually the reasons had nothing to do with him.
He found access to a
The second big game-changer discovery he had was when he learned to give words to what others were experiencing emotionally.
If he had a request for someone and they were apprehensive or thought it was weird, all he had to mention to them is how weird it was.
Then people usually calmed down and were more open to discuss his request.
He realized he could fulfill any of his life dreams by asking why and speaking to what others might be experiencing or thinking at that moment.
How do you rebuild confidence at work?
The workplace is unique because a professional environment isn’t conducive to letting your hair down.
It often requires you to be on your best behavior.
It really should be a place where learning is encouraged, but often it isn’t. Most of the time when you lose confidence at work, it is due to a failure in performance and it can be humiliating since it is often public.
So what should you do?
- Remember to forgive yourself.
- Harvest the good and forget the bad. Keep in mind that most of us have been in humiliating situations, so roll with it. It was just your turn, wink.
At least that is how I think about it. Approach the circumstances with lots of grace and acceptance. If you are interested in learning more, I have written another article on dealing with failures at work and what you can do about it.
What can I do if I have lost my confidence and self-esteem or it has been completely shaken?
First, it’s important to breathe, and give yourself some space to recover.
Remember that self-confidence is highly connected to how optimistic you are about being able to deal with any situations arising out of actions you take.
Often when we lose our confidence, we have a sense of being small and insignificant in our ability to influence our environment. But, this is more of a feeling and sense of self than reality.
We have all had situations that have killed our confidence. It is important to know that when it’s time for you to go to work on finding fulfillment and joy for yourself.
If you study it and get intentional about increasing your confidence, you will be better equipped to handle upsetting situations that leave you feeling deflated.
If I feel my self-confidence wobble, one thing that helps me is I get serious about my fitness, weight, and nutrition.
I always feel better when I see progress in this area.
It fuels a sense of
When I feel good about me, I am able share my happiness with others, and I have a bit more stamina to endure rejection.