Living In Gratitude: Reframing Rejection

When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.  –Shannon L. Alder

Rejection is not something most people enjoy or even understand how to effectively handle. Typically, we do our best to avoid rejection because, let’s face it, being refused hurts. It makes us uncomfortable, fearful, and embarrassed. It erodes our self-confidence and makes us doubt our self-worth.

Yet like most things i life, rejection is a reality. We can do our best to run from it but is that really doing us any good?

By developing a healthy relationship with rejection, we can come to terms with it, using it to our advantage. When we shift our rejection mindset from one of fear to opportunity, we can reframe it as a chance to stay engaged, offer explanations, and even negotiate. 

A key aspect of transforming our rejection perspective is to not take it personally. This in and of itself is challenging but by removing this personal component, we can make advances to conquering our fear of being excluded, precluded, and overruled. Instead of running away, we can stand tall, communicate clearly, and maybe even change rejection to acceptance. 

For much of his life, entrepreneur Jia Jang did everything he could to sidestep rejection. That is, until one day, he discovered a concept called rejection therapy, which effectively is a method to desensitize oneself to rebuffs. 

So, for one hundred days, Jia set out to get turned down and turned away. He would make wild requests of strangers, ones he thought people would be sure to impart an emphatic NO. He asked one man for $100, requested to play soccer in another person’s backyard, and so it went. 

The first request and rejection resulted in the expected fear and flight response. But after reflecting on the encounter, he realized, although he was rejected, the person asked him why he was making the request. He was given an opportunity to explain himself yet he instinctually ran away. 

With each new rejection encounter, Jia overcame his fear just a bit. He learned that the rejection was made worse by his anticipation and inability to communicate his reasoning behind the request. So, he changed his approach. He made himself Rejection-Proof, which is also the title of his book about the experience.

Realizing that being rejected is inescapable, he began to appreciate what these situations offered. He made friends with rejection. His new healthy relationship surrounding being denied was to keep the communication going, to take a lighthearted approach, and to realize that rejection is not fatal. So Jia kept on putting himself out there, seeking rejection, learning more about how to explain himself as well as accept rejection gracefully. Interestingly enough, out of the one hundred requests he made of strangers, fifty-one of them were accepted!

If you are one of the many people who stops short of asking for what you want, sharing your ideas, making new friends, embarking on a new career…all because you are afraid of being turned down remember:

Rejection is not fatal. It is not personal. It allows us to negotiate, to explain, or to be redirected to a different and better path.

May your day be filled with gratitude and good things.