Millions of people around the world are familiar with the stories written by famous author J K Rowling. Books in J K Rowling's Harry Potter series have been worldwide bestsellers. Both children and adults have loved her books. The author has also earned considerable wealth from the rights to films, games and merchandise associated with her novels. J K Rowling's record of achievement as an author is remarkable. Perhaps even more remarkable was her successful battle to gain acceptance for her work. Her first novel was rejected over and over again. Despite several knockbacks, J K Rowling kept faith in her work. The author was forced to seriously question her commitment and self-belief on many occasions. She was not deterred by rejection. J K Rowling's diligence, hard work and persistence were ultimately rewarded.

                              Many situations in everyday life place us in situations where we must                                  gain acceptance. Our personal relationships, career and recreational                                   pursuits all require us to be judged or assessed from time to time.                                       Quite understandably, many individuals find this process of personal                                    assessment highly discomforting. Other people relish the challenge of                                 proving themselves. Sometimes it is merely our performance of routine                                 tasks which is placed under scrutiny. On other occasions however the                                 judgment is much more personal. When we are accepted we normally                                 feel relieved, competent or perhaps elated.

Regrettably, on many occasions we experience the pain of rejection. This article examines how we can cope more effectively when we are rejected. Are we able to convert rejection into acceptance? What different strategies are consistently applied by successful people to overcome rejection? Sometimes circumstances do not permit us to gain acceptance. How might we cope more effectively with rejection in this situation? However unpleasant, rejection is sometimes inevitable. That is life, pure and simple.

Ten Crazy Myths about Rejection

1.  Once you have been rejected, you will always be rejected
2.  Rejection reflects on your character
3.  Only the most attractive, resourceful and intelligent deserve acceptance
4.  If you have ever made a mistake, you cannot be accepted
5.  If you keep trying the same old thing, you will eventually gain acceptance
6.  If you have experienced rejection you should give up and move on to something else.
7.  Blaming people and feeling angry is helpful if you have been rejected.
8.  Other people get accepted. You do not deserve to be accepted.
9.  If you have health problems or a disability you cannot expect acceptance.
10. It is acceptable for other people to treat you without respect.

People who have experienced rejection often react in a counterproductive and negative manner. There is a natural tendency to believe that all rejection is personal. Sometimes it is not. In many cases it is circumstantial. Where possible, we should view rejection in a calm and reflective fashion. Reacting appropriately to rejection is often the first step to future success. Rebuilding involves listening, learning and healing.

If you experience rejection then you are in good company! The pain of rejection is an indispensable part of the daily lives of individuals from many walks of life. Actors are required to audition for parts in films. Many do not succeed. There are many future acting talents serving in restaurants between jobs. Companies submit tenders for projects. Sport players who fail to gain acceptance are often labeled as 'over the hill', 'losers', 'wimps' or 'chokers'.

People working in sales are repeatedly rejected and must overcome this barrier. Only a small fraction of manuscripts that are submitted to publishers are ever accepted. In democratic countries politicians are required to face the wrath of a volatile electorate at election time. Rejection is normally associated with political oblivion. In recent years, our television screens have become filled with so-called 'reality' shows where the participants are 'nominated for eviction' and rejected before a national or perhaps an international audience! It is difficult to imagine a more public demonstration of rejection. It is useful and instructive to observe how these individuals cope with this wide spectrum of rejection.

Strategies for Gaining Acceptance

Be Philosophical. There is not a single person alive who has not experienced rejection at some moment in their lives. No one is accepted unconditionally on all occasions. This is a fundamental statistical fact. A few experiences of rejection do not mean that you are condemned to failure or unhappiness. Many people have overcome significant obstacles and gained acceptance. It pays to remember that past acceptance is no absolute guarantee of future success, happiness and acceptance. Do not get complacent. Keep improving and learning. Life can be fickle and unpredictable.

Remain committed. There is always a temptation to feel distracted and disheartened when you have been rejected. Most of us need to grieve a little. That is only human. The best response however is to refocus your thoughts on to positive activities which lead to personal growth, happiness and future success. The best possible replacement for the pain of rejection is the elation of acceptance. Frequently we need to re-evaluate our goals and reaffirm our commitment.

Depersonalise. A common and instinctive reaction to rejection is apportioning blame. Certainly, we need to accept appropriate responsibility for learning from our experience. We should also commit to future success. The temptation to simply blame other people or ourselves is however unhelpful. Blaming other people just makes us angry and frustrated. Blaming ourselves makes us feel guilty and lowers our self-esteem. Rejection often feels highly personal. Our pain needs to be acknowledged and soothed. Personal competency is however only one of a multitude of factors which contribute to success and acceptance in life. Often circumstances beyond our control are important.

Lift the mood. Most people feel fairly miserable when they have been rejected. That's entirely natural. Ruminating over perceived failure is not a solution and will not lead to future success. A  more  productive  solution  is to lift  our spirits and start planning for the
future. Self-esteem  must  not  be  diminished  or  eroded. Our feelings are
important  and  we  deserve  happiness  and achievement. Our chances of
future  success  are  greater  if  we  maintain  a positive  attitude and seek
opportunities. The  same  principle  applies  to  all  categories  of rejection.
For  instance, the  best  response  to  a  failed  personal  relationship is to
discover  an  even  bette r one.  Our  chances  of  finding a new partner are
greater if we meet interesting new people, remain positive and maintain our
self-confidence. The chances of securing a new job are greater if we project
a positive attitude during a job interview. Being morbid and negative merely invites more rejection! You might find the following strategies helpful to lift your spirits.
     Spend time with people who make you feel valued and appreciated.
     Participate in an activity, which you enjoy.
     Perform an activity in which you excel.
     Think about you past successes and achievements
     Deal with residual anger and guilt. You won't need them any more.
     Keep dreaming about a happy future!

Be analytical. Remaining calm, rational and analytical is difficult when confronted by rejection or failure. An analytical mind often provides the pathway to future acceptance. Is there something specific we can do next time to change the outcome? Do we need to simply work harder or prepare more thoroughly? Might we try a different approach? Can we ask for expert advice or assistance? Can we ask for an explanation or constructive feedback so that we can learn or improve? The reasons we have not been accepted might be different to those we were expecting.

Think flexibly and creatively. Trying a novel approach might pay dividends. Albert Einstein once remarked that to try exactly the same thing numerous times and expect a different result made little sense. Keep an open mind and do not just presume. Talk to different people. Learn more about different methods. 'Think outside the square'. A new approach might mean a different result.

Have reasonable expectations. Aim high and test your personal limits and you just might be surprised. Realistic expectations however are important. Unrealistically high expectations can mean frequent rejection and a considerable amount of effort wasted on impossible dreams. Don't be afraid to experiment. Do not be afraid to dream. Maintain a firm grasp on reality. Have the courage to adjust your expectations when needed.

Build a support network. Building a supportive group of friends and other helpful folks can help us in a number of ways. Friends mean contacts and opportunities. They mean a supportive shoulder when our spirits need a lift. They provide inspiration and a different perspective. Build and maintain supportive relationships.

Identify role models. Many highly useful lessons can be learned form the experience of others. Discover the secrets of those who have found success and gained acceptance. Follow in their footsteps and be inspired.

Move on and rebuild. Life is too short for morbid rumination and recrimination. The most effective antidote for the pain of rejection is to achieve newfound happiness and acceptance elsewhere. Take pride in your courageous effort. Heal your wounds and start again. Happiness awaits, you deserve it!

Hope that your dreams are fulfilled from all at Rediscover Hope.

By Doctor Andrew Rylatt (Medical Doctor)
16th March 2004
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