How to Overcome Rejection

5 steps to moving on from not feeling needed

Many of us fear it. Some of us try to avoid it. We all have different ways of handling it — but it's something that's inevitable. Everyone must cope with rejection at some point in his or her life.

According to noted psychologist Abraham Maslow, love and a healthy exchange of affection are necessary for emotional health. When we experience rejection, that internal need for love and approval is temporarily starved. But the good news is tha,t because it's such a universal experience, there are plenty of strategies out there to help us overcome rejection. Here are some wise steps to take if you've recently experienced some kind of rejection.

Step 1: Put rejection in the proper perspective

No matter how you might feel right now, this is NOT the end of the world. Things will get better. Focusing on the problem will only make it bigger than it really is.

Step 2: Don't stop living

Try to focus on the things you enjoy, such as engaging in sports or hobbies, spending time with friends or treating yourself to a healthy dinner. Don't view these activities as simple distractions. They're the things you've always liked to do — and there's no reason you shouldn't still have fun doing them! It's easier said than done, but try to overcome rejection by simply living life.

Step 3: Don't internalize it

Carlin Flora, features editor at Psychology Today and author of self-help articles like "Dumped, But Not Down," points out that "popular" people are not necessarily people who are somehow lucky enough to coast through life without experiencing rejection, but rather they are people who have learned to handle rejection gracefully.

Step 4: Learn from it

There may be a valid reason for your rejection. Human relations expert Dr. Sherene McHenry says that healthy people recognize when it is time to make a change in life. Successful people are able to accept criticism, learn from it and improve themselves because of it.

Step 5: Look at the big picture

There's a lot going on in the world that transcends you and your problems. Avoid "navel-gazing" by getting involved at a soup kitchen, charity, shelter or local church. Putting your focus off of yourself and onto those less fortunate can give you a new perspective.

Step 6: Seek counseling

Depending on the severity of the emotional distress caused by your rejection, you may want to consider getting psychiatric help. If you've tried to move on and simply can't, there's no substitute for a professionally trained counselor who's ready to lend a sympathetic ear.

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