Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Heal From Rejection?
Rejection can be one of the worst things to experience as a human being. Not only do you feel excluded, but the mental and emotional pain that you suffer as a consequence can sometimes last a lifetime.
In my own life – and in the lives of many of the most successful people I know – rejection played a big part, especially early on. For me, I was rejected by my own biological father (he never once called me, sent a birthday card, or had any interaction with me even though he knew where I lived and was in close physical proximity to me growing up). In others’ lives I know, they too experienced various types of rejection from authority figures and different people who left hurtful and negative memories that, in some cases, scarred them for life.
Yet, even though rejection was very painful it also provided me and others with a valuable choice that was soul-changing: to choose to be bitter or to choose to get better.
In your own experience with rejection, you will now be provided with that same opportunity: to grow and heal from this or to stay trapped by the unfair things people said and did to you.
While it can be challenging to take on the responsibility to heal from rejection – particularly if it psyched you out or brought great turmoil or trauma – you can still do it for the sake of your happiness and for the sake of your soul. If you want to heal from rejection as I have (and as others have), here are a few practical steps you can take:
- Accept and love yourself unconditionally. Acceptance is the first step towards self-love. When you accept yourself – by simply saying or writing it – you can begin to realign your identity from one of “rejection” to one of “acceptance.” This may take some time but if you do it a little every day you will rewire your thought process and be oozing with self-love.
- Forgive the hurting people who rejected you. Forgiving those who have rejected you – who were probably rejected themselves – will make it easy for you to remove the label of “reject” from your soul. By releasing them from being the criminal or tormentor of your thoughts and emotions you can stop yourself from reliving their hurt towards you.
- Intentionally spend time with those who will accept you no matter what. By hanging with your “tribe” – and your tribe does exist even if you haven’t found it yet – you can feel love and acceptance from others that you desperately crave. I realize it might not seem like there are people out there who will accept you unconditionally, but there are. Find these people and never let them go.
- Start to see yourself as a healer of others who have been rejected. As strange as this sounds, when you begin to help others who have been rejected you will be healed in the process. And I would know: when I started doing this my life changed, my soul healed, and I became happier than I could have ever imagined. So can you.
Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Know If They’re “The One”?
Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Know If They’re “The One?”
Trying to discern if the person we’re interested in or dating is “the one” is one of the most important things we can do in our lives. Not only will “the one” impact our mental and emotional states, but they will have considerable influence on whether we pursue our dreams; how much money we make; and whether we live up to our potential and the destiny we have been called to fulfill.
Clearly, finding the one is more than just a romantic exercise; it is a soul and destiny-defining event that we must take very seriously.
But the key question is, how do you know if you’ve found the one if you’re currently dating or pursuing somebody? What are the signs you should be looking for? And when should you expect to see them?
Although society tells you that you should look for physical attraction; a person that makes you feel good; and a host of very specific particularites conducive to your personality (ie, I know somebody who had such a thing for DJs and people who were a specific height and used these factors as “signs” somebody was the one), the reality is you need to be looking more deeply into the people you’re dating beyond the feelings they’re giving you and beyond them meeting an arbitrary list of (often superficial) qualifications.
Here are a few “deeper signs” that the person you’re dating might be the one (beyond you being romantically attracted to them):
- If they’re “the one,” you won’t have a desire to change them. Ironically, many people feel like somebody will be “just perfect” if only they can change some aspect about the person they’re dating. But the reality is people rarely change- or they rarely change on your timetable- and wanting to change them is a sign they might not be ready or capable of being with you (or vice versa). “The one” is not a fixer-upper project; they will come “move-in” ready.
- If they’re “the one,” you will make sure that their values and beliefs are in sync with yours. “The one” won’t hide who they are and they will let you know their beliefs about relationships, family, work, money, religion, politics, society, and beyond. And these values for the most part will line up with your values (maybe not 100%, but pretty close).
- If they’re “the one,” they won’t use manipulation strategies or tactics to try to win you over or keep you. They won’t play you off against other people, they won’t try to make you jealous or insecure, and they won’t withhold communicating their feelings to you to try to draw you closer.
- If they’re “the one,” they will be explicitly committed to your relationship and its growth. When somebody is meant to be, they will let you know they are there for you and will want to see you and your relationship continue growing to the next level. They won’t become complacent after the honeymoon phase ends; they will continue being there for you and making sure you two are becoming better and better as an item.
Of course, you may not be able to discern these signs from somebody right away but over time they will become very apparent. So make sure you keep them in mind when you’re evaluating whether to make a lifelong commitment to somebody who will have more influence over your future than you may currently realize.
Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Eliminate Imposter Syndrome?
Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Eliminate Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is real. Not only does it make you feel like a phony, but it makes you feel like you’re going to get “caught” for being this so-called phony.
But regardless of if you have just recently started to feel like a phony – or if you have been feeling like a phony for a long time – you will continuously have to grapple with this phenomenon. And if you don’t master or overcome it now, it could have debilitating effects on your self-esteem, identity, and relationships with others over the long term.
When you feel like an imposter, the feeling of not being “good enough” will dominate your thoughts. And so too will the fear of being rejected if somebody finds out you are not supposed to be as successful as you are (or in the position that you’re in). As a consequence, you will continue to “compensate” by trying to be ever more successful just to prove to others (and yourself) that your accomplishments are not a fluke. Yet with each new shiny star you add to your resume, you still just can’t seem to shake this feeling that you’re about to be exposed as a big fat fake.
Even though you know you’re not a fake, it can still be difficult to convince yourself that you aren’t. But you can still do it. Here are a few helpful tips to overcome the imposter syndrome that might be weighing you down.
- Embrace that “fitting in” is the enemy. When you understand that the desire to fit into a certain group that you crave to be a part of causes and perpetuates your own insecurities, you can begin to reject the idea that you “need to” fit in (through success or accolades). By rejecting this need to belong to a specific group, you will relieve yourself of the pressure that this group will make or break your identity, self-confidence, and self-worth. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t still pursue your goals and succeed within the context of this group; it just means that you are rejecting the idea that fitting in or being accepted by others is the goal (and purpose) of your life (or success). Fitting in is not the goal; being successful is and you can do that whether you fit in or not (even if not fitting in is a little more difficult to do).
- Overcome the fear of failure and rejection. By fearing failure and rejection, you are really just fearing people’s fickle opinions about you. And as a result, you are trying desperately to prove to them that you matter. But even if you do prove to them you matter you might secretly believe that you don’t and so you will be keeping yourself in a straightjacket of fear that is deepening your imposter syndrome. To break this, you have to stop fearing failure and rejection and start accepting that fact that you will fail at times and be rejected by some but that this is not the end of the world (or as important as you think it is). Just be your best – that is all that matters.
- Embrace that you are “better than you think.” Because people – especially successful people- tend to judge themselves rather harshly, it can be difficult for them to get an accurate (or compassionate) perspective about themselves. So they see themselves as less capable and powerful than they truly are. This negative self-image worsens and worsens and, over time, becomes the default identity that fuels imposter syndrome. However, like with # 2, this can be overcome by simply starting to think better thoughts about yourself (you can do this by speaking or writing positive things about yourself, among other things).
Eliminating imposter syndrome will be a great challenge for you but you can successfully do it so long as you start re-calibrating how you think about yourself. Once you make a few adjustments, you can get rid of the feeling that you’re a phony because you most certainly are not.
Dear Dr. Rob: Should I Ghost People?
To ghost or not to ghost, that is the question.
On the one hand, ghosting somebody (especially if they are being annoying or disrespectful) is an easy way to shut them out of your life. After all, it requires almost no effort on your part, avoids confrontation, and is mentally and emotionally soothing.
But on the other hand, ghosting somebody (even if they are being annoying or disrespectful) can stunt your personal growth and negatively impact your communication with others in the long run. But why? Because if you ghost somebody once (for a major or minor offense) it makes it easier to ghost somebody else and then somebody else and then somebody else. In other words, ghosting one person can create a pattern where you easily give up on communicating with multiple other people even if those other people haven’t done harmful things to you (ie, you end up ghosting these others just because you don’t “feel” like talking to them not because they have wronged you).
We see this phenomenon often in (online) dating. For example, two people can be talking and then out of the blue one person stops talking and never gives a reason why (leaving the other person scratching their head).
But this phenomenon of ghosting is also going beyond dating and is increasingly being transferred to friendships, certain types of work relationships, and all types of online communication. And it’s happening because people simply don’t feel like talking.
Yes, removing yourself from toxic people (or toxic communications) is something you should do. And yes, making sure people understand and respect your communication boundaries is important. But for many of the people who are ghosting others today, they are ghosting them without ever having a meaningful conversation with them about how to possibly improve the communication that they believe is worthy of ghosting. And as a consequence, all sorts of confusion, resentment, and misunderstandings are happening simply because many people who ghost others have not yet developed the maturity, respect or empathy for others, or communication skills they need to truly engage with others on an adult level.
So if you are considering ghosting somebody please think long and hard about whether you are considering it because they are being toxic to you or because you simply don’t feel like talking to them. If it is for the latter reason, I’d highly encourage you to keep the communication open with them for their sake (and your own).
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