Saturday, March 10, 2012

11 ways to deal with rejection and criticism

Scholars say that it is part of human nature to enjoy the good things one does and, in turn, be pleased when others recognize them. But if we are falling into an emotional abyss because someone is not recognizing the good we do, we should check the condition of our hearts. There could be sparks of ostentation-ness (riyā') in us as the “essence of ostentation-ness is being preoccupied with people” (1). We should also check our niyyah (intentions). I think many times it hurts so much because our intention was earning the pleasure of other people and not God.

How can you become less preoccupied by what other people think and more worried about what Allāh thinks?
Ask yourself why? If you ever find yourself becoming an emotional wreck because of negativity around you, ask yourself why. Why am I focusing on the negativity? Why am I ignoring the good while finding the bad? Only your thoughts can upset you. Stop thinking about it. A criticism may be right or wrong. If it is wrong then it is the other person's fault. They are not perfect and have made a mistake. If the criticism is right, it still should not be upsetting. Instead, use it as a tool to better yourself.
If rejection can happen to him it can happen to you. Reflect on this noble Prophetic supplication that he made after he was brutally rejected in Taif: “Oh Allāh if you are not angry with me than I do not care what you do with me.”
Try to remember the last time you got upset at someone and said something that you may have not meant, or something that you exaggerated. Did your saying that make the person totally worthless? No, of course not. So why would them saying something negative to you make you totally worthless? When you are so hurt because someone doesn't like you, you are making them perfect judges. Only Allāh is the perfect Judge, do not give them a power that doesn't belong to them.

Use a counseling technique:
Listen to your internal voice. Write down the thoughts as you hear them in your head. Are you using negative language?
Categorize which cognitive distortion each thought is under. You will start seeing patterns.
Counter your negative self-talk, ask yourself: What is the evidence for this? Is this ALWAYS true? Has this been true in the past? Write down some alternative statements.
Say these constructive statements out loud. Do this every time.
Question your past: If you have internalized a negative event in your life, focus on the event — ask yourself, are you generally a good person? Do people usually like you? Does it really matter what a handful of people think or thought about you?
Learn the Lesson: If there are people in your life who do not like you, think about why they are in your life. They may have a real lesson for you to learn. But then let it go. Concentrate on yourself, work on liking you. Is there a trait of yours you do not like? Change that. Meditate. Pray.
Concentrate on the benefit that your existence has on this Earth.
Don't fear being alone because you are never alone -- Allāh is your companion and friend in this world. It will give you sakinah, peace, knowing that there is always someone who will be waiting for you to come back to Him.
Build a support system around you -- people who are honest with you and let you say what you need to say. Focus on the amazing, incredible, positive people who encourage, support and love you no matter what.
Ask yourself if this is suma, the need to seek reputation. This is a disease of the heart.
Don't let the Drama Queen/King out: We only have so much energy and this is such a poor investment of our emotions. You will be exhausted trying to get everyone to like you. I know I go through this too. It is the drama queen (king) in us – we have tried to overcome her (him) through deen but s/he sneaks up on us from time to time. Don't let her (him). S/he wants to make a big deal of something small, obsessing about the trivial. Remember feelings are just that, feelings, and they change. You will not feel the same way the next day.

Our energy is also an amānah from Allāh. So let go of the negativity. Tell yourself that this is not the best use of your energy. It doesn't help you in any way. Imām al-Shafi' says that, “There is nobody except that he has someone who loves him and someone who hates him. So if that's the case, let a person be with the people who are obedient to Allāh 'azza wa jall!' (as they love and hate for the sake of Allāh and they are not unjust).”
Hena Zuberi in Muslim matters. Here

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