I have always said there are two kinds of people in the world:
1) Those, who when faced with disapproval or rejection say, “What’s wrong with me?” and
2) Those, who when faced with disapproval or rejection say, “What’s wrong with THEM?”
Those of you who know me and my stupidly optimistic outlook on life will know exactly which category I fall into. But I wanted to say a few words about rejection, fear, and the power it can have over our lives if we let it. Or better stated, some real, practical things we can do to NOT let it have power over our lives in the first place.
Let’s face it, there is not a single one of us that likes to be disapproved of or rejected. Not a single one. And at one point or another, it is going to happen to all of us. I can only write this from the perspective of a person who is constantly asking the “What’s wrong with THEM?” question and with that comes a ton of freedom and blind cheerfulness but this is about something more meaningful than that. It’s about not letting others rob you of your dreams, your goals, and let’s face it…your existence.
There are a few ways to combat the circling-the-drain feeling you get when faced with rejection, or at least a few things that I like to do that have helped. Well, here goes nothing…
1) Ignore it if possible. Literally…pretend it never happened.
This can be done when the person is relatively insignificant in your life and/or the offense was relatively insignificant, but let’s be real, are those not the ones that are the most aggravating!!?? The wonderful side effect of ignoring it is you will either actually forget (like me with the early Alzheimer’s), or with time, think it is so silly that you wonder why you were even upset in the first place.
In action: A coworker of mine felt the need to tell me one day that another coworker disapproved of how I dressed (yes we just time warped back to the 7th grade). Now I wish I could tell you it was because I was wearing stilettos, low cut blouses, and miniskirts, but it was more along the lines of thinking I was too casually dressed for a ‘business casual’ look, which is ridiculous because of course I am one of the best dressed business casual people in the whole organization since I have an amazing fashion sense (there’s that ‘What’s wrong with THEM?’ thing).
Now the FIRST thing I did, which I ALSO highly encourage was to tell the ‘messenger,’ who clearly felt it her ethical obligation to inform me of said trash talking, to never again tell me when someone talked negatively behind my back. I really did, and I made the point that I was very serious. I do not want to know. I fully realize it takes place, but do not need that kind of negativity in my life. Now I think she was a little taken aback by that because some people just love to live in the misery of others and themselves I guess, but the declaration was made none the less. And for good reason, because when I tell you that this wardrobe comment ruined my ENTIRE afternoon, I am not exaggerating.
And like a good hot-headed Italian, I immediately started planning my attack for the next time I worked with said individual and had it all put together and ironed out to effectively scold her, send her on the guilt trip of a lifetime, and humiliate her all in one tidy speech. Boy was I gonna let her have it – in the most appropriate, passive aggressive, professional way possible, of course.
Well…as luck (and God’s grace) would have it, I didn’t see this individual for at least another week and by the time I did, I simply and briefly thought, ‘Oh yeah,’ and that was about it. And when she came in my office to chit chat it up like she always does, I actually sat and listened and did not have a single snarky thought or bad feeling. Because the fact of the matter is, time took care of the adrenaline, and I know that this person actually likes me and is just, well, human…and did what we have ALL done at one time or another; made a poo poo comment about someone in the moment. And to be quite honest, I almost had the inclination to feel bad for my evil plan of mental tarring and feathering. I even made a little mental apology to her as she was yammering on about this and that.
I know you are hoping I’m done, but I’m not…so let’s get on with it…
2) Talk to yourself regular and often.
I recommend this when no one else is listening in addition to triple checking that your cell phone has not butt dialed someone, but truly, this can be so cathartic. I know some people journal, but honestly, I am a product of the digital age and have officially lost the ability to so much as write a shopping list without getting a cramp in my hand. But if you journal, more power!
I have no idea when or how this ensued but I literally started interviewing myself in the car on the way home from work. I do everything from hash out business ideas to argue with my son’s teacher over an unfair grade. It’s great!! And I always win and make the best points! And when I am all through, I have clarified my thoughts, cooled my jets (or as my mom would say ‘put the clutch in’), and/or expelled the emotional part of it so that if I DO actually have to have a conversation with a real human, I am a lot more capable of doing it correctly. As if that's not enough, I have also simultaneously warded off any possible threat of road rage because folks in the cars around me think I am a complete nut case.
Geez, what could number three possibly be after those two nuggets of genius?
3) Keep an email Kudos folder.
In practical terms it may not necessarily be an email folder for everyone, but whatever format makes sense in your life, keep a record of Kudos people give you, in their words…word for word. I actually started doing this at work a couple years ago when I moved into a new position that didn’t exist before I came along, the result being if I so much as belched, it looked like I was doing a great job because there was absolutely nothing to compare to.
I started getting so many 'atta boys' that I literally thought, gosh, I need to keep record of these. One day I was perusing my email folders to clean things up and I came across my Kudos folder that I had steadily been adding to with even the silliest ‘good job’ message. Well, I’ll tell you, it practically brought me to tears, and does every time I read through it. Needless to say it can certainly help combat any, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ days that you might have.
So those are my inspirational thoughts of the day. I hope you love them and try them, and if you don’t, well…there just might be something wrong with you :)
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I am a wife, a mom, and a registered nurse. I also happen to be a chemistry geek and a researchaholic! Welcome to the Body Food® blog!