Dealing with Rejection

“Ein Lösungsweg besteht darin, Angst vor Ablehnung tendenziell als Angst vor Abwertung und wiederum Angst vor Abwertung in letzter Instanz als Angst vor Selbstabwertung  zu untersuchen. Denn Ablehnung per se ist nichts Negatives, die meisten Menschen können sich eine Zurückweisung sogar als etwas Angenehmes vorstellen. Das ist der Fall, wenn sie eine Person, die ihnen vorgestellt wird, nicht mögen und es gleichgültig finden oder sogar als Ehre ansehen, von ihr auch nicht gemocht zu werden. Somit ist an einer Ablehnung, an Desinteresse oder Zurückweisung nichts Negatives, es sei denn, wir verbinden damit etwas Negatives, z.B. Abwertung. An Abwertung durch andere aber ist auch noch nichts generell Negatives, sofern jemand diese Abwertung nicht auch selbst auf seine Person bezieht.”
Winiarski, R. (2004). Beratung und Kurztherapie mit Kognitiver Verhaltenstherapie. Weinheim: Beltz PVU.

A while ago I read some books about psychotherapy (it still bugs me that I did get the worst possible passing grad in that exam, long story). In one of them (see quote above) the author wrote about the fear of rejection and that rejection can be seen as fear of devaluation and this fear — in last instance — as fear of self-devaluation.

He stressed that rejection is not negative per se, given that many people would like to be rejected by certain people (e.g., being rejected by a racist would be positive for most people, they would not want to be welcomed by this person). What this allows, according to the author, is to differentiate between rejection and the reaction to this rejection, e.g., devaluation. And even this devaluation is not necessarily negative, unless you relate this devaluation to yourself. Well, so much for the plagiarizing bit.

While I found this advice quite helpful for dating, it is also helpful for creative projects. A rejection of your work (e.g., your scientific paper) is not necessarily negative. Sure, you have to deal with the issues the reviewers of the other journal have found, submit it to another journal, wait (3 to 6 months) for the reply of the editor, but it does not devalue you. And you shouldn’t let it devalue you. The only thing that happened is that part of the field you are striving to get approval from did not approve of your work. Okay, so your work was rejected by that part of the field. This does not mean that your person is devalued, nor that you should devalue yourself.

Only that you should improve your work and keep trying somewhere else.

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