Overcoming Rejection


  • Discover a powerful strategy to overcome rejection
  • Learn why its important to embrace rejection instead of shy away from it
  • Learn the common misconception of rejection.


We often don’t think about rejection. At least most of us would rather not. In fact, we avoid rejection at all costs because it causes us to deal with or question our self-worth, our ideas, our behavior…almost everything.

Rejection is something that we all experience but none of us desire. It is familiar to everyone but we spend so much time avoiding it that we are often ill-equipped to deal with it when it happens.
And this if often true with the things that we are most scared of.

We seek to avoid them at all costs – hoping not to deal with the monsters in the dark – when we should shine a light upon them so that we can know what we are dealing with.

There is a powerful philosophy that is spoken of in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War that says:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

It is critical as we deal with paralyzing emotions like rejection; we must understand how they work and how we interact with them. This understanding gives us the ability to combat these emotions so that they do not have control over us, but instead, we are in control of the very thing that we create.

Of all the paralyzing emotions that we have spoken of so far, I believe that rejection can be the most damaging of them all.

Yes, all of the paralyzing emotions can cause you and me to become stuck in that emotion, situation, or a place in life but rejection has the ability to elicit emotional pain like no other.

In fact, research has found that the same areas of the brain where we experience physical pain are the exact same areas where we experience the emotion of rejection. So much so that taking Tylenol, in fact, can reduce the emotional pain rejection elicits.

Think about this – if you were to recall a memory where you experienced some physical pain like twisting your ankle, breaking a bone or stepping on a sharp rock, your memory of that experience is maybe vivid but you do not re-experience the actual pain. Your neurological pathways in your brain do not respond as if you experienced physical pain.

But when reliving a painful rejection we are flooded with the very same emotional and physiological response as when we first experience the rejection, if not more intense.

But why is this?

Research says that “Our brain prioritizes rejection experiences because we are social animals who live in “tribes.”

You see, the paralyzing emotion of rejection served a vital role in our evolutionary development. If you have heard it before you have heard it a thousand times, there is strength in numbers. In part, this is why civilizations exist.

You see, when we were grazing the fields of the plains and hunting wild animals for food and clothes, to be kicked out of the tribe was a sure of a death sentence as any – because the likelihood of surviving on our own was slim to none.

Evolutionary psychologists theorized that our brains responded to this possibility by creating rejection to be so painful that we would avoid or correct behaviors that would have led our ancestors to be ostracized.

This is why rejection can destabilize our sense of belonging and riverdance on our self-worth.

We all have a need to belong and we often express this need by joining groups we have a strong affinity to and/or developing strong family bonds with the desire to be valued and accepted.

Without this sense of belonging and a devalued self-image, the emotion of rejection can easily turn to anger and aggression – the likes of which we have seen far too often in the media with school shootings and other quote on quote random acts of violence. We even coined the term “going postal” for this type of aggression.

Yet, I digress…

Rejection causes us to devalue our self-image. We begin to question why we were rejected; finding fault in ourselves and start harping on our inadequacies.

This is most apparent when we experience romantic relationship rejections of which we have all experienced. Try not to think of that time you were dumped or when your first love, began loving someone else.

So as we can see, the results of rejection are multifaceted and each part has to be addressed in order to appropriately become unstuck from the paralyzing emotion of rejection.

The worst thing that we can do is allow rejection to define who we are. We must recognize rejection for what it is and it is an event that occurs to us that we have the ability to recover from.

And in that recovery, we learn not so that we don’t experience rejection again, but we learn so that the next rejection isn’t as painful.

Here is a 3 part strategy for overcoming rejection:

  1. We must develop a rejection ritual. Most of the time, we don’t have a plan and this causes us to fail on the path of recovery from the rejection we face. When we develop a rejection ritual, we establish a plan that can move us from wallowing in rejection to overcoming. Your ritual can contain any steps that will help us on our path of recovery. I’d suggest it includes the next items.
  2. We must separate items from identity. When rejection occurs it is often viewed that we are being rejected. What’s often the case is the item (idea, thought, proposal, etc) that you brought forth is being rejected. If we can separate the item from our identity then we can look at and deal with the rejection from an objective standpoint. From this stance, we have the ability to make corrective actions to either turn that rejection into an acceptance or move forward from the rejection.
  3. We must embrace rejection. You can have all the rituals in the world and even look at rejection from an objective standpoint but the truth is, it will still hurt. We must learn to embrace rejection not because we like pain but because we seek to grow and develop from the lessons that rejections bring us. Embracing rejection also gives us the tools we need to better handle future rejections. One keen way to embrace rejection is to give it a name. When we put a label on the things we don’t want to deal with, we claim the power over it because we have the ability to address it and our emotions because of it. This gives us the strength to overcome.

Rejection is a fact of life.

It has happened to each of us from the moment that we began interacting with others. As children, we experience rejection from our friends who don’t want to throw us the ball. As young adults, we experience rejection of close friends or first loves. As adults, we experience rejection from employers, friends who unfriend us on Facebook, and spouses who turn into exes.

Instead of avoiding rejection, we must experience it, move past it, and use it as our fuel for progress. Our ability to appropriately relate to emotions like rejection will determine how much time we spend in recovery or moving past the emotion onto our next wealthy place.

How to Overcome Self-Doubt


  • Learn what a paralyzing emotion is and how to overcome it
  • Discover how manufactured illusions of success can cause self-doubt
  • Learn 4 strategies to completely overcome self-doubt


A clarifying quote from John McKay summarizing the entire intent of this article. He says,

“Nobody becomes great without self-doubt. But you can’t let it consume you.”

I say that this is a clarifying quote because it clearly articulates that self-doubt is something that we all experience throughout our lives yet the difference is how people relate to self-doubt. Some of us allow doubt to consume us, freezing us in a paralyzed state, while others recognized self-doubt for what it is and move past the doubt into the achievement that they desire.

For whatever reason, there are people who believe that the successful have some secret that the unsuccessful is not previewed to. Some think they have the secret sauce of life and as a result, they are able to accomplish their aims.

People who think like this are those who allow their circumstances to be the thing that defines who they are. It is as if they draw a circle made of doubt, fear, disappointment, rejection, shame, and remorse and allow that circle to be their entire world; they allow that circle to be who they are and limit what and who they could become.

“Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.” Christine Bovee

So here is the reality. There are countless people out there for one reason or another that do not want you to succeed. No really. They are not a figment of your imagination nor are you paranoid about someone out to get you.

We eloquently call these people haters.

And no matter how good you are or how successful you become, these haters will always be there to remind you of your shortfalls, missteps, and failures. I’ve said that everyone has a role to play in life and these haters are playing their role in the stage of life.

But why do I mention all of this?

Look. The existence of haters is a fact. Just like it is a fact that we require air to breathe and food to survive. They will doubt you; your friends will doubt you; your family will doubt you; your parents may even doubt; And all of this is ok as long as you do not doubt yourself.

Like Christine Bovee said – “Doubt who you will as long as you do not doubt yourself.”

Doubt could be the paralysis of today or it could be the catapult of innovation for tomorrow.

It is the choice of the red pill or the blue pill. You could live in the circle made up of the paralyzing emotions like doubt or you can be exposed to the wonderful and awesome world of exploring who you are and the purpose that you serve to become the greatest you that the world has ever known.

Paralyzing emotions are we are any emotions that will cause us to get stuck or paralyzed, unable to move forward in achieving our aims. These will include emotions like the infamous fear, the sneaky emotion of disappointment, the vicious emotion of rejection, and the spooky twins of remorse and shame.

Now that we’ve gotten the foundation out of the way, let’s discuss that 4 strategies you can implement immediately to overcome self-doubt.

“We live in a world filled with manufactured illusions, in which achievements appear to happen extremely fast and in which we’re fed false, inflated images.” – Bruce Frankel

#1 Your self-doubts are unfounded in reality.

As Frankel said in his quote, we are often fed with images of achievement without the context of the effort involved in obtaining that achievement. Social media would have us thinking that our progress is slow and our efforts are unattainable. So without that context, we are left to believe that these illustrations of achievement are easily obtained. When we fall short, based on these inflated images, we begin to lose confidence in our ideas, our efforts, those around us and ultimately ourselves.

None of us are strangers to this train of thought. We all have fell victim to this at some point in our lives until we realize the truth behind marketers’ stories of achievement.

To resolve this, we must stay grounded in our purpose. When we are completely committed to our purpose then it shouldn’t matter how others are achieving because we are secure in the journey that we are on.

Now, I acknowledge that this is easier said than done and that’s why your purpose must be your grounding. Short of that, we will always look to inflated images of success as the attainment verse the goals we are to achieve in our personal journey of achievement.

#2: What we must do is keep the momentum of achievement.

Momentum is the only cure that develops self-esteem that moves beyond self-doubt.

If you find yourself making excuses, procrastinating, finding reasons why you shouldn’t do things, then you are likely in full swing of self-doubt.

Establishing small goals that take you a bit out of your comfort zone and are achievable within a two-week window, is a surefire way to build up your confidence.

When you have enough of these accomplishments under your belt, the next stage is to up the ante. Take on more challenging goals that are further outside of your comfort zone. Continue to do this and before you know it, not only will overcome self-doubt, but you will accomplish things that you never thought possible.

Superman himself, Christopher Reeve, once said,

“A hero is someone who, in spite of weakness, doubt or not always knowing the answers, goes ahead and overcomes anyway.”

Hindsight is 20/20. The thing that you are avoiding doing is not as bad as your mind is making out to be. When you do the thing that you are avoiding, you will find that it wasn’t nearly as difficult as we talked ourselves into believing.

Even if we have past experiences as evidence as why we doubt ourselves, we cannot allow the past to be our shackles – preventing us from achieving our future.

#3 Bring Your Self Doubt Into the Light

Self-doubt is the silent killer. It sneaks up on you. It is masked itself as caution, paralysis of analysis, and extreme due diligence. All these things are good until you overuse them as a cover for doubt. When we’re able to bring self-doubt into the light and have the conversations about the things that we have doubt about, then we can have a rational discourse with someone and determine if our doubts are grounded in reality.

Through this conversation, we can become clear about the aspects of our doubt that is grounded in truth while discarding those that are illusions of our reality.

#4 Establish/Nurture a Quality Support System

The support system is who keeps you grounded. They are the ones who build your confidence and push you forward. When you want to draw back, they keep your mission in mind to keep you moving forward. They are the ones who you have rational discourse with to see what of your self-doubts are truly grounded in reality.

Now your support system can come in many ways, shapes or forms. It can be your friends, family, close acquaintances. It can be coaches and mentors that you have. It can be YouTube channels and books. It could be anyone and anything that you could conceive that you know has your best interest at heart to be able to move you forward in the goals that you put forward.

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt” – William Shakespeare

You have the capacity to overcome self-doubt, especially as you use the strategies shared in this article and video.

Self-doubt is an emotion that we all face, every single person on this plant – past, present, and future. It is married to fear and both fear and self-doubt are traitors to the potential future that we could be afforded if we move past our fears…move past our doubts and into the future that we create with the boldness that we declare!