Healthy Ways To Handle Rejection
Rejection can cause some of the nastiest feelings. Rejection can be embarrassing. It can be painful. It can be very dejecting, leaving you feeling like you don’t want to go after anything ever again. Whether it’s romantic rejection, career rejection, or social rejection, rejection never feels good. The very nature of rejection means that you put yourself out there—you made yourself vulnerable, putting the power in somebody else’s hands—and you didn’t receive the warm welcome for which you’d hoped. The other person or company or thing didn’t want you as much as you wanted them. It stings. When our pride is hurt, we can be driven to do some dumb things. But, as you grow more mature, you’ll find that rejection is actually an opportunity to grow if you handle it correctly. Here are mentally healthy ways to handle rejection.
Don’t react immediately
Take a deep breath and do not react immediately. Whatever that first thought is in your head—don’t vocalize it. Don’t even vocalize the first ten thoughts. A simple, “I understand. Thank you for letting me know” is a great reaction in most rejection situations. It gets you out of there in a respectful manner, so you can regroup.
Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is always a mature thing to do. Whether it’s a guy who doesn’t want a second date or a company that won’t be moving you onto a second interview, people are generally willing to give helpful feedback if you’re willing to listen to it. Feedback from someone rejecting you may be some of the most honest feedback you’ll ever get—they have nothing to lose since they probably won’t see you again.
If it’s career rejection, empower yourself by educating yourself. You didn’t get it because you weren’t ready. Somebody else had more experience or more knowledge than you. That’s actually something you can do something about, by learning a new skill or taking a new class.
Though it can be tough, find it in you to be grateful for the rejection. Wherever you are today, whatever you have in love or your career, and whatever you know, you have it due to past rejections. Rejections propelled you to grow and learn and be stronger. So be grateful for this one, even if its gifts aren’t yet apparent.
If it’s a date who rejects you, be relieved. It simply means that that person knew you two were not compatible before you realized it. But if he felt you weren’t compatible, it’s because you weren’t. He just knew something you didn’t yet know.
Do not take it personally
Never take rejection personally—in a sense. Do take the opportunity to self-reflect. See if there’s something you’d like to do differently next time. But also know that, if you don’t get the thing you want—the job, the second date—it is because you weren’t ready. Even if you could have faked it through to the next round, if you weren’t truly, deep down, ready, that was going to come out eventually. So, take the chance to learn, but don’t become angry with the person who rejected you. Perhaps they were doing you a favor.
Make a game plan
Making a plan has a way of soothing us. If you don’t get one job, perhaps you’ll sit down and write a list of individuals whom you can reach out to about other jobs. If it’s a date that went poorly, make a game plan to…take a break from dating or…try a different type of dating (matchmaking rather than online, perhaps).
Surround yourself with support
When our egos are bruised, we need our support system—at least at first. You feel weak after rejection, and need the strength of people who unconditionally love you like friends and family. So, seek out time with them rather than diving immediately into another date or job interview.
Talk to someone more advanced
You could also seek advice from someone who has what you want. Buy coffee for someone advanced in your line of work and pick her brain. Grab lunch with a friend in a happy marriage and ask her for tips on dating. People are often happy to share their wisdom.
Meditation is a wonderful tool. Turn to it when you’re feeling any negative emotion like anxiety, sadness, or pain over rejection. It has a way of helping you sort through your thoughts and decide which ones are useful.
Remember what really matters
Whatever you didn’t get that you wanted—a job or a date—is probably not as important as the things you already have. If you have good friends and a family that loves you, then you’ve already won. Everything else is just dessert.
Volunteering has a wonderful way of quickly correcting your perspective. You’ll immediately feel silly for thinking “What do I want?” rather than thinking, “How can I help others?” If you’re in a relationship, volunteer with your partner—it’s good for you.
Recall other rejections
Think about all the other times in your life when you were rejected. You thought you’d never get past it, right? And yet, you did. So you’ll get through this, too.
Have faith that things happen for a reason. If you retrace your steps, you may realize that most of the things you have in your life that you love, were preceded by some type of rejection.
Remember it’s about the journey
Keep in mind that once you get what you want, you’ll always want more. It’s human nature. Know that the feeling of longing and the action of striving never stop. The only way to win is appreciate what you have now, rather than only focus on what you don’t have.