When rejection comes, you can learn to be thankful for it. Rejection is a closed door, and our life is shaped not only by the things that draw us joyfully, but by the things that pain us and force us to move into a new direction. When a door is closed, we discover new openings.
Rejection is a gift, and the person doing the rejection is our teacher. In fact, they may be our very good teacher. The greater the rejection, the larger the lesson may be. When rejection comes we may learn to say, regarding the rejecter, “Thank you for being my very good teacher.” When we are thankful for the lesson, we can wish the teacher well and be on our way. When we do not stop and learn the lesson, we are bound to repeat the mistake. We will come across more teachers. When rejection comes, it is time to stop and reflect.
Rejection is a gift that can be used to catapult one into seeking clarity. Clarity can help you grow as a person and move in a more productive direction. An inward look may reveal that you have placed too much power in another person’s opinion of you. You may have invested in an emotionally unavailable person or put them in the position of being your only source of comfort or affirmation.
When rejection comes, it can be helpful to ask: What is my role in this? Asking how you got there, can show you what needs to be changed next time. Ask: How am I allowing his or her opinion to define who I am? Where have I relinquished my responsibilities? Did I place all my eggs in one basket or did I seek out many possibilities?
A time of rejection is a time to step back and review one’s priorities. A door is closing. What needs to happen next? What beliefs are faulty and need adjusting? Have you clung tightly to a relationship or an opportunity because your world view is that of scarcity? Is there really only one person, one opportunity, or one pathway? Be honest with yourself. Was your effort shoddy? Did you invest too much? Were you there as the other person’s teacher? Did you ignore warning signs along the way?
When we are honest with ourselves, and ask the hard questions, we grow from the experience. Rejection takes on new meaning. Rather than rejection feeling like a senseless wounding, we can see rejection as a moment of learning. Without the need to please others, or live by their opinions, what risks might you be willing to take? What new direction can you be heading? When you have shed the weight of rejection, you are free to seek out endless possibilities. Instead of anticipating the worst, why not predict the best? You may come out ahead. You have faced one lost; be thankful for what you are gaining. It is unnecessary to hate, when you are filled with gratitude, and you can see all the possibilities on the horizon. Be thankful always.
Under reacting makes for a great spiritual practice because it helps control one’s temper and reminds a person that they are not number one, nor do they need to be number one. Anyone can react to anything, but to hold back and choose to under react, that takes courage and self-discipline.
When we overreact, it comes with a host of unspoken beliefs: The world should go my way. I am more deserving. I can be in control. I am right. You are wrong. You matter less than me. You should do it my way. All of these beliefs are false beliefs. Yet when we react mindlessly or overreact, we act as if they carry the weight of truthfulness.
Under reacting requires self-control. To achieve this self-control, we can mentally remind ourselves, “I am under reacting.” We take a deep breath and think about what kind of person we want to be. Do we want to barrel down the highway angrily, labeling others as incompetent? Do we want to carry that kind of toxicity and put that kind of energy into how we exist on this planet? What a difference our commute would have, if we set aside our beliefs and said, I am going to drive behind this person and work on myself; I for this period of time choose to under react. Now instead of flipping the bird or cursing, or driving aggressively, we observe our self and our surroundings. How is our drive and our morning different because we drove mindfully?
We can underreact with children. Instead of getting into power struggles, can we learn a better way to interact? Instead of yelling and screaming, could we use the power of praise to get children to do what we ask? Sometimes parents can make everything have the same level of importance, and they end up reacting strongly to everything. Ask yourself, do I want a good relationship with my children? Will overreacting get the result I am seeking? Is a reaction even necessary?
It is easy to spank and threaten because these require no self-control on the part of the parent. It is much more difficult to figure out what will work with each child. One may respond to praise, another may respond to choices, another to incentives. Instead of using one tool from your parental tool box, why not learn as many techniques as you can?
Why not practice under reacting to things that are little, so your children can notice the change when something is big? If everything results in a spanking or a yelling fit, your child will soon conclude that you are unreasonable and will do their own thing because even at a small age, children can figure out your response makes no sense. If you judiciously under react you will teach them how to navigate life successfully. Children learn by doing and be seeing. If all you do is habitually overreact, how will they learn self-efficacy?
Here are some ways to practice under reacting. When you are driving, decide to follow someone for three minutes who is driving under the speed limit. Observe your thoughts and feelings. Distract yourself by recalling something pleasant. Notice that three minutes have passed. Are you closer to your destination? Is your blood pressure low? Are you smiling?
When your children don’t listen right away can you pause, and praise them the minute they take one step in the direction you asked? Does the thirty seconds you waited really affect the outcome or were you previously just exercising control over them because you could? If previously you would grab them and yell and spank, how do you feel for having waited a few seconds? Which kind of parent do you want to be?