Rejection may often leave us feeling hollow and unworthy.
“Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown”
“I’m a Loser”, The Beatles, 1974.
Rejection may often leave us feeling hollow and unworthy. Being let down, or proven wrong is something we would not certainly be a very pleasing thing to encounter, more so when it comes from people close and dear to us, or a place which holds utmost importance in our lives. Rejection may come in many forms in the personal, social and professional aspects of our lives and leave us deeply impacted forever. However, we cannot let a “NO” control the course of action in our lives and decide for ourselves. The emotional turmoil, as much as it is valid to go through, requires to be dealt with for a better tomorrow.
In this blog, we will be discussing a few more types of rejection and how men and women cope with this differently. How do they react? How do they adjust with the adversities? Let’s take a look.
Due to inevitable social roles and conditioning men and women grow up with, apart from certain biological and emotional differences in the very basic build up, Men and Women tend to react differently when faced with rejection in a certain scenario. Men have more than often been made to understand that they are the providers, protectors and need to prove their power and dominance in almost every area of their lives. While on the other hand, women are expected to be emotional, sensitive, caregivers and nurturers. These social images have traditionally and subconsciously imposed certain emotional expectations out of each due to which even though they may have similar feelings and thoughts due to rejection, the expressions may find different outlets:
1. Emotional Dealings: Women tend to get more emotional when faced with rejection as compared to men who bottle them up. The prior is more prone, generally to find emotional outlets to let go of the pain.
2. Anger Management: Due to bottling up of emotions, or social conditioning that makes them less prone to emotional outlets, men may often lash out when dealing with rejection. They may seem to get unnecessarily irritable or angry. Women in this case, usually, prove to be better at containing their anger and resentment and channelising them in a less negative manner.
3. Challenge or not? Men often take up rejection as a challenge to their masculinity or an insult to their expected place in the social hierarchy. While women too, feel a challenge to get better and push through this phase, the expressions are often different.
4. Doomsday: Both men and women often end up lamenting about all the rejection they have ever faced in their lives and behaving like it is the end of the world at some point or the other. However, while dealing with them, women are more prone to deal with it more rationally than the other and not take it all on themselves.
Rejections, as mentioned earlier may come in different forms and may pop up in any aspect of our lives. However, we tend to mostly focus on personal rejection and shed less light to rejection at the workplace and social rejection which hinder our growth in the external, big, bad world.
Social rejection takes place when an individual is deliberately excluded or abandoned from social groups, relations and interactions. This may occur due to quite a lot of reasons, some of which are listed as follows:
1. Newbie: When an individual moves into a new place or society, he/she may find it difficult to fit into or gel with the new neighbors of the society. This may happen due to age differences, cultural differences. This may also occur if the new individual moves in all by him/herself as society in our country still at times looks down upon individuals without a family.
2. Poles Apart: When a person has cultural differences with that practiced by the majority around him/her it may prove to be a bummer as the traditions practiced may come as a major difference hindering one from fitting in.
3. On a different note: If a person seemingly is different from socially accepted norms and forms. For instance, being a member of the queer family, no matter how harsh this sounds, are often looked down upon in our society. They not only face serious discrimination in cases but are also subjected to social rejection. This may go up to the extent of bullying, silent treatment, being ganged against and so on.
4. Social Distancing: Social rejection has also become an increasingly difficult problem with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic situation. We human beings are inherently social beings and used to regular interactions with people around us. We tend to gather during festivities, celebrations and make it a happy occasion. However, with social distancing being the new normal, people are often refraining from mass gathering, or even inviting neighbors to usual celebrations at home.
Belonging being the fundamental need of human motivation, these can be extremely dilapidating for one’s mental health.
We, being used to such social gatherings every now and then, the latter, even though not exactly meant to be intentionally hurtful, has pushed most of us towards social rejection. More so for people who live away from their families, alone.
Allow yourself to feel: Instead of bottling up your emotions and burying them deep within, allow yourself to feel the emotions that you are experiencing.
1. Spend time with people who accept you: Instead of locking yourself up within confines of people who ostracize you, go out and mingle more with people who make you feel comfortable and accept you for yourself.
2. Practice self love and self care: Charity begins at home and you are your own home above anything else. Put yourself above others’ opinions about you and love yourself for who you are and not what others want you to be.
After a certain point of time in our lives, our workplaces become inseparable parts of our lives. It is unusual for one to not want a sense of belonging in his/her workplace as it is a place we have to deal with on a daily basis. However, rejection may also come from one’s workplace or team and prove to be mentally dilapidating.
1. Acceptability: Rejection at the workplace may occur as a result of not being accepted into the office environment. Freshers more often than not find it difficult to fit into a new work environment.
2. Promotions: Not receiving a long-awaited promotion or increment may bring upon a deep sense of rejection or failure. It might leave one feeling let down or betrayed.
3. Opportunities: You may have applied for a certain project or were seeking a particular opportunity. You might have even been halfway through, but it did not turn out as expected. This too could be another reason to feel neglected at the workplace.
4. No Appreciation: Rejection may be brought up on when you have put in all your efforts and hard work in a project, yet your co-workers failed to notice your contribution.
1. Public Criticism: Being belittled or criticized in front of your co-workers may bring up on you great shame, guilt or low self-confidence as well make you feel rejected.
2. No Involvement: Not being included in major group activities at the office or major projects can again be extremely negative for a fellow worker.
3. Expectations not met: It may also occur in terms of not having received an expected pay-raise or promotion. Not being given a project you applied for, losing a certain milestone or having let a significant co-worker take credit for your hard work.
Not on the same pages: Failure to have gelled with a popular co-worker, may bring in a sense of feeling rejected.
It can be difficult to deal with rejection at the workplace since it doesn’t exactly allow or encourage emotional outlets as a coping mechanism. Here are a few solutions:
1. Pep up your courage: Tell your inner negative voice it is wrong. Tell yourself you are more worthy than a rejection. Acknowledge that rejection at the workplace can also be impartial and fair. Identify the root causes and learn.
2. Manage your emotions: Your office doesn’t exactly call for your emotional outbursts as a result of a rejection. Manage your emotions. Yes, it is important to let it out. Fall back on a reliable person, let it go when off work.
3. Ask for Feedback: There’s no harm in a little learning and self-reflection. Ask as to what made you incapable of dealing with a certain project or a pay-raise.
4. Take positive action for your own betterment: Do not let a single rejection take you down. Report a problem if it has been playing with your mental health or learn from your past. Take time to grow.
5. Identify the right people: It is important to know that not everybody is your friend at your workplace, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is against you. Identify the ones who look forward to your betterment and inform them about your course of actions. Consult them and ask them for suggestions if they are your seniors as they know the place and its people better.
6. Practice Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness does not only include meditation but also introspection and self-reflection. All of this together makes an individual more aware of oneself and work on a balance between his/her emotions and actions.
7. Growth Mindset: Focus on the up curve and not on what went or could be going wrong. Setting your visions upwards helps in being positive and [ushes oneself towards self-growth.
8. Positive Actions: Smile more often, help a stranger to crossroads, compliment yourself and others, be grateful for what you have in your hands already. Practicing positive actions brings up a great energy on your mind and helps you stay focused on the positive.
9. Reprogramming: Reprogram your mind, this will help you move past your past and grow. The NLP Technique of Anchoring might prove to be useful in this regard as it induces a certain emotion or frame of mind such as happiness, joy, relaxation or tranquility. This technique involves bookmarking of a particular event or emotion in your life and revisiting that particular moment of your life.
10. Rest your Ego: We all have a certain magnitude of Ego which we dearly hold on to and set our boundaries and self-image with. However, in order to heal it is at times necessary to send your ego to a little vacay in order to relax and reflect.
11. No Defense: It is absolutely okay to have one’s own defense mechanisms to cope with adversities and unexpected situations. However, it is also required for one to know the limits and not get defensive at every adversity. It is at times also a learning process when we know how to embrace these difficulties.
12. Respect: Practicing respect for oneself and the other not only helps in an improved self image and worth but also acts wonders with personal equations.
Rejection, as harsh as it may sound, as bad a toll it may take on you, you can overcome. It is important to be with the right people and take the right steps while coping with negation. You may want to
1. Consult a professional: No matter how much you talk to your friends and family, it may seem that nobody really understands your pain. It is necessary to talk to a professional mental health practitioner as they shed an absolute neutral perspective on the situation and help you without any biases or preconceived ideas.
2. Help Groups: Even though these are fairly uncommon and yet to gain momentum in our country, help groups can be extremely therapeutic as people of similar experiences often gather and share their stories with each other here. You are certainly not alone in this.
3. Reach out to your support network: Build your own network of supportive people. It doesn’t necessarily require too many people. Identify the ones who make you feel the most comfortable and would lend a shoulder to cry on when you need it.
4. Tava-Mitram: This is a non-profit Pune based self-help initiative by the Iinner Universe Education Foundation (IIUEF). Tava-Mitram (https://www.tavamitram.org/index) aims to build an emotionally strong India with and is the brainchild of Dr. Paras and Ms. Ekktaa. The organization uses coaching to heal the mind, body and soul and helps people find and define their purpose as they acknowledge their pain and embrace a new tomorrow, a new life.
The organization is currently working on a campaign called “My Mental Health, My Priority” which focuses on self-empowerment and self-learning as a method of dealing with and having control over one’s emotions, body and mind. It intends to work together with you to explore your mind and its functioning to create a happier and more fulfilled life for yourself and others around you.
Mental Strength Professionals is an organization that is working along similar lines of mental health and can be availed for counselling services. Reach out to them in case of need and don’t forget to check out their website for further updates!