When we put ourselves in a position to be vulnerable to another person’s opinion, we risk rejection.
Sometimes the risk is very small. Example: I tell a joke but my audience doesn’t laugh. They look at me like I am speaking a language they don’t understand. What does this mean? Do they reject my joke? Do they reject me? Maybe they don’t share my sense of humor. Maybe they don’t understand the joke. Maybe it’s just not a good joke or maybe I need to learn how to deliver jokes. There are so many variables!
When I’m standing there in the silence, however, I find it hard to think of anything but “I blew it.” or “I failed.” I may even internalize these words and start to feel pretty rotten; as if I am incapable or unappealing. I told the joke to have fun and win approval; instead I feel deflated and rejected.
When I take a much larger risk, such as applying for a job, an apartment or a loan – where I’ve invested so much more of myself (time, information, dedication, hope) – the stakes are much higher. I may become discouraged when I hear ‘we’ve chosen another applicant’, ‘we’ve rented the apartment to another person’, or just plain ‘no’. Again, it’s hard for me to not internalize it. But just as in the case of the joke, there may be many variables that I am not considering. At this crucial time, I must remember to believe in myself and continue to pursue my goal.
It is hard to stay positive when we internalize rejection; yet that is exactly what we must do to persevere to our goal. When we feel defeated, we would be wise to remember that we have taken many risks in the past and have been successful. We must risk failure and rejection to feel the power of success. It is both scary and exhilarating!
Consider using these tools to keep your perspective as favorable as possible: