Here’s the Best Way to Deal with Rejection, According to Science

When you can begin to be more specific with your emotions, rejection is easier to handle.

Rejection hurts and everyone faces rejection. Especially entrepreneurs. How you deal with rejection is one key factor that determines your resiliency. More than intelligence, skill, or work ethic, resilience is the number one predictor of success because the act of not giving up is the main factor that determines if you will accomplish your goals. Yet, rejection and the fear of rejection are both at the root of why people do not keep pursuing their desired objections and stay resilient.

Now, there is a science-backed method on how to overcome rejection.

A couple years ago, researchers from Northeastern University and George Mason University published their findings from a study that sheds new light on a better way to deal with rejection. Their research is even more important today.

The results of this study, “Unpacking Emotion Differentiation: Transforming Unpleasant Experience by Perceiving Distinctions in Negativity,” go against traditional “overcoming rejection” advice you will hear these days. Most people will tell you the best response to rejection is to have thick skin, ignore it, and keep going. But these scientists say you should do exactly the opposite.

Instead of ignoring your emotions or feelings and moving on, you should embrace the negative emotions, feel the pain, and take a moment to analyze your feelings.

Once you embrace the rejection, then you can fully embrace your emotions and begin to control them to finally emotionally disconnect. If you don’t, they will always be there, waiting for their chance to return.

The researchers state that the first step to embracing your emotions is to label them. This helps you differentiate your emotions. In the study, they call this ability “emotional granularity.” The more specific you are with your labels, the more control you gain.

Instead of stating you are feeling “bad” or “angry” try focusing on the reason and the exact emotion. One way is to use more specific words, like using the labels of “frustrated”, “trapped”, or “confused.” If it is hard to label your emotions, don’t worry. The authors state that: “emotion differentiation is a skill.” Skills can be learned. Thank goodness.

Learning this is not easy, doing it is even harder. Yet, it can bring dramatic change to your business. When you are building a new business in a high-stress environment often you are faced with different types of rejections that can bring out many emotions, yet you put them all in the same bucket, even though the triggers and outcomes are very different.

One trick I found to make this work is to first label the type of rejection, so I can then begin to label the actual emotion. I ask myself: is the rejection from a client or investor? Is the rejection from a colleague or vendor? Am I being rejected or is my idea? Is it my product or the message? By labeling the source, I can step back and define my specific emotions. Once I started to understand myself, then I can choose my response. With this new strategy, all of my business results improved. I can always choose to be resilient. So can you.

To start learning how to label your emotions better, or to become more emotionally granular, here is a quick review of various names for many emotions. It will help you realize you know more names of emotions than you think while providing you with many new resources as well.

Since you always believe the stories you tell yourself, embracing who we are is the first step to becoming who we want to be. Usually, this involves overcoming rejection.

Once you start to define and label your emotions, you can begin to acknowledge the truth behind every situation.

Labels are powerful. Once you label something you own it.

When your emotions are under your own control, you can then choose how to act and define every experience, even when faced with rejection.

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