How To Cope With Rejection, According To Research

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Rejection — from college, partners, prospective employers — is an unavoidable part of life. Even the most gloriously successful of people has experienced it, and often the serious high-flyers experienced years of rejection before they got big breaks. However, it's also a part of human psychology that rejection of all kinds hits us hard; science tells us that we're neurologically programmed to want acceptance and belonging, and when the opposite happens, we can feel lost, damaged, hopeless or angry. If you're experiencing rejection of any kind right now, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Fortunately, research has some tips for coping with rejection, that include building up resilience for the long-term.

The only surefire way to avoid rejection is to stop putting ourselves in situations that could cause it, and that, explains psychologist Elayne Savage in Don't Take It Personally: The Art Of Dealing With Rejection, isn't a good strategy at all; it means we're "afraid to come forward with requests such as asking someone for a first date, requesting a raise, submitting artwork or manuscripts, or asking for favors like a ride to the airport. It's constricting and restricting, keeping us from being ourselves." If we want to take chances and create the possibility of succeeding, we need other ways to develop resilience when rejection happens.