We never grow tired of singing the praises of a mindfulness practice, as they help us live our best lives. Mindfulness can even help us deal with rejection.
The human, generally speaking, is a social animal. Since the dawn of time we’ve gathered together into tribes, cities, and nations in order to survive the dangers of the wild. On a smaller scale, we form friendships, romantic relationships, and communities. By maintaining these communities, we maintain the health of the larger organization.
Rejection Hurts (No, Really)
In order to do this, we strive to be accepted by our fellows. Instinct demands we fit in or perish. Through acceptance, we understand what we have to offer, and feel that we belong.
What happens when we aren’t accepted, though? What does rejection do to the human brain that so desperately needs to fit in?
According to a psychological study, rejection causes the brain’s pain receptors to respond as though the body had been physically injured. To quote the study: “As far as your brain is concerned, a broken heart is not so different from a broken arm.”
Not only does the brain register the ache of rejection as real pain, but this also triggers a “cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences,” including depression, jealousy, and anger.
Lessen the Sting
As painful as rejection is, we also can’t stop it from happening. It’s a fact of life that we will reject others, as well as be rejected. We can’t control what other people do, but what we do have a say in is how we behave and how we choose to respond to such rejection.
There are four things we can do to not just make ourselves more resilient to the pain of rejection, but to help those around us be stronger.
1. Build Mindfulness
Mindful meditation is a practice used to help control anxiety, self-awareness, and cognitive therapy. The act of mindful meditation is a simple one, requiring you to simply sit, disconnect yourself from what’s happening, and take in the world around you.
It helps to not only center you, but also builds empathy for others, which is key in both understanding rejection and also guiding you when it’s necessary for you to reject others.
2. Build Grit
Another form of mindfulness is building mental power through grit. According to research, the mentally strong work on seven points:
- They acknowledge their discomfort.
- They give themselves a reality check.
- They celebrate their courage.
- They refuse to allow failure to define them.
- They practice self-compassion.
- They learn from rejection.
- They move forward with confidence.
Each of these steps encourage you to look at reality and not let anxiety or the pain of rejection dictate how you feel about a situation. By looking at things realistically and allowing yourself not only your pain but to celebrate your successes, you’re able to critically examine a situation and learn from the mistakes instead of letting the failure consume you.
This is also beneficial when dealing with others. By learning to see a situation for what it is, we can better communicate with those we’re around, to understand how they may see it and explain in a way they can understand without the risk of jumping to the worst possible conclusion.
3. See Social Media for What It Is
Social media is the fuel for which our society burns for energy. What was once a fun distraction has become a staple in almost everyone’s lives. From Facebook to Pinterest, Twitter, and half a dozen others, social media keeps us connected.
The other side of that same coin is studies show social media use can lead to depression, anxiety, and reduced self-esteem. This comes from everyone sharing only the best of their lives, using social media as a way of “showing off” to garner validation and approval from peers.
What this does is only show the bright side of their lives; and when the bright side is all we see and we compare our lives to others, we’re comparing the good and bad of our lives with only the good of others. This creates a skewed perception and we become over-analytical of our own lives, feeling that we’re failing somehow because “why aren’t I as happy as them?”
What we need to remember is this same thing is happening to all of our friends. By realizing this and the false perception social media brings, it can become easier to accept that our lives are not any worse off than anyone else.
This realization is particularly important to realize as adults, because we’re not the only ones affected by social media. Teens today are suffering from the effects of social media saturation, but they don’t have the life experience to be able to think critically about it. By realizing the benefits of social media use, as well as the way it can affect us, we can then help our youth manage the same image-impairing damage.
4. Be Mindful in Our Romantic Interactions
One of the areas in which we deal with rejection—both being rejected and rejecting others—is in dating.
Being mindful without judgement can be difficult for anyone, but by keeping in mind not only what we want but to appreciate what we have, it makes interacting with those we’re with easier and more meaningful.
About the Author
Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and freelancer, with experience in writing and outreach for parent and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has offered humor and research backed advice to readers on parenting tactics, problems in education, issues with social media, mental disorders, addiction, and troublesome issues raising teen boys. Connect with Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin