From the world of The Walking Dead, to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, television can illustrate the unexpected virtues of adversity.
Walt Disney testified that, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
Social psychology professor Shannon Layman said the brain interprets pain as pain, whether it’s social rejection or physical pain.
“We just have this desire not to hear ‘no,’ not to be rejected, because psychological pain is not very comfortable for us,” Layman said.
Layman said there is power in the word “no,” and people should learn from it.
“You can’t change other people. You have to just change you, and you have to decide if it’s worth doing or not,” she said
Some people are better than others at doing that, Layman said.
“If you are a kid who was always presented with, ‘No, you can’t do that,’ then you’re going to be used to figuring out how to take that ‘no’ and turn it into a ‘yes’.”
Nursing freshman Trevor Baker said he realizes there are many different ways he can solve his problems.
“Sometimes the answer ‘no’ is OK. If people say ‘no,’ there’s usually a valid reason behind it,” Baker said.
He concluded that his problems resulting from rejection have either been fixed or are here to stay with him.
“And that’s what makes me, me,” Baker said.
Communication senior Elizabeth Nget had similar thoughts.
Speaking retrospectively, Nget said if she heard the word “no,” it made her change her perception and try to figure out a way to get what she wanted in a different way.
If the “no” is final, she said to embrace it.
“You live and you learn, you just let it go, and you find the next thing that you could use for yourself to fill in the blanks,” Nget said.
“Successful people get rejected a lot. We only see their successes,” Layman said. “Everyone is rejected. Nobody is immune to that by any means. The people who are able to work with it and make better on the feedback that they are getting are the best.”
Layman said people who experience adversity are going to be better able to empathize with others with similar experiences.
“The same experiences of rejection often make people a little more considerate with others who’ve experienced the same thing,” Layman said.