I’ve had my fair share of rejection in life, so I’ve become familiar with the pain that comes with it.
I’m sure a lot of people can relate to rejection.
I experienced the familiar feeling of rejection recently when I received an email informing me I didn’t get an offer I had applied for.
Sure, I felt bad, but I didn’t react the way I would have a year ago.
Last year, when I got rejected from a job, I felt so bad. It was as if my whole world had ended. I was borderline depressed.
I didn’t want to talk to anyone then, all I wanted to do was stay in bed.
This was coupled with the fact that my self esteem had gradually been chipped away from a ‘suituationship’ I was in then.
So the job rejection was like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
For someone who used to run away from situations that could lead to rejection, rejection is a feeling I had to learn to deal with.
Do I still experience rejections?
Yes! In various forms.
But after that job rejection experience, I decided I wasn’t going to let myself sink into that depressed state anymore.
Forms of Rejection
There are various forms of rejection.
Rejection could come in the form of
- an exclusion from an event
- a relationship/friendship breakup
- a job loss
- job application turned down
- school admission rejected
- grant proposal refusal etc.
In whatever form rejection comes, there is no denying that it is painful. However, the most important thing is how you deal with it.
I’ll be sharing with you practical tips to deal with and bounce back from a rejection.
HOW TO DEAL WITH REJECTION
#1 It is a time for growth
The reason I felt so bad after that rejection was because I believed I got rejected because I was not good enough.
I was also embarrassed because the people around me thought I was supposed to start at a new job.
I gave up on applying for jobs for months.
A single NO determined the course of my life for months. I kept wallowing in self pity. My mental state was so bad.
How we react to rejection is more important than the rejection itself.
So, first, I needed a change of perspective. It did not come automatically but with time.
The more flexible we are in our mindsets, the better we are able to deal with rejection.
View rejection as an opportunity to gain strength and courage to cope with unpleasant circumstances. And also an opportunity to grow and get better.
If it is a job, ask yourself what skills you have to gain or what steps you need to follow to improve. Change is constant.
#2 Be kind to yourself/Embrace your individuality
Sometimes, we are kind to everyone but ourselves.
While it’s normal to be tempted to feel less of yourself after a rejection, you should make deliberate efforts to be kind to yourself.
Don’t feel like a failure or call yourself one.
Practice positive self talk.
For example after a breakup, you could go back to some of the places you visited together and create new memories by yourself.
Find activities that make you genuinely happy and immerse yourself in them.
For me, it is writing.
Even though I don’t share most of the things I write (except when I’m dead and someone wants to print a memoir from my write ups. “The diary of Anne Frank” comes to mind), I write nonetheless.
#3 Don’t sum up your life based on a rejection
Don’t allow a rejection define the whole course of your life.
You got rejected at one job, your skills are just right for another. Rejection is not a permanent state.
Don’t start to think that you have a rejected life.
This is not to downplay the importance of rejection but to help refocus.
#4 Realize that everything wasn’t that great
It may start to look like a perfect job from afar. That relationship may look great when you are not in it.
If you are sacked from a job, there is a tendency to start looking back over at your bad experiences and thinking they were not so bad after all.
Don’t deceive yourself. They were not perfect.
That is what rejection does. It starts to downplay all the wrongs and make things look great when you are looking through rose colored glasses.
Don’t allow your mind play tricks on you. Everything wasn’t great and everything may not be still be great even if you had what you wanted.
#5 Feel the pain
Allow yourself to feel the pain.
This is not the same thing as wallowing in self pity.
It is acknowledging your emotions by allowing yourself to feel the sadness, hurt, anger, disappointment, and every other emotion that comes with rejection.
As a practicing Christian, I used to feel guilty whenever I got angry.
But I have since realized that the Bible is not against anger.
In fact, it acknowledges there will be times of anger but it gives guidelines on how to channel and act when angry:
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you”…Ephesians 4v26
“Be slow to get angry”…James 1v20
“Sensible people control their temper”…Proverbs 19v11
#6 Seek Help
When the emotions are overwhelming and you feel like drowning in your sadness, hurt and anger, it is wise to seek help from the right source.
Emphasis on “right”.
Some who can’t handle rejection turn to drugs and heavy drinking.
This further complicates their lives because these habits have never done anyone any good.
Also Read: Surviving a shitty job
#7 Don’t play the victim
Playing victim makes you stuck in that situation for a longer period.
Feel the pain but don’t think the world is against you. You are not helpless
That is a victim mentality.
#8 Rejection builds resilience
From my rejections, I have built strength and resilience.
I’ve also learnt that a career path will not be a straight line for everyone, thus, there is need to continuously re-invent myself.
Ever been rejected before? What form was your rejection and how did you handle it?
“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone”
Love this post! “Don’t allow rejection to define the whole course of your life”. I agree so much with this 🙂
Glad you do, Thank you
hey, I’ve applied to college this year for medicine. I’ve applied to all the top schools because I’m that stubborn. I have a great academic background and great work experience. Despite all this, I got my first rejection November 9. It was my safety school, and that hurt so much. I remember that night so vividly; I can recall how I fell to the bathroom floor and screamed because it felt as though someone had struck a sword through my heart, shattering my dreams and more importantly my hope. Your safety school is supposed to be just that: a place where you know you can easily get into, yet I had gotten locked out of that and my security net had been cut. I was slipping through each gap, losing myself bit by bit. I had no idea how to handle the rejection because it was a shock. My friends had started getting offers by that point, and I went from being one of the best in my year to being the last one there. No words will encompass the loneliness and fear I experienced. Moving on was difficult and I began to resent every one of my friends, I was officially falling behind, and what’s worse is that I felt like a terrible human being for not being able to muster up a bit of happiness for them. I was jealous. As jealous as you can get; you know the Green-eyed monster? That was me. Months passed and I started to accept that it wasn’t going to happen for me, but I still had 4 other colleges to hear back from. So I decided to plan; I planned vacations, gap years, careers, books because like you I also turn to writing when it all goes to hell. I was planning different ways my life could end up. It felt healthy. Today I received my second rejection. To be honest, I was preparing myself for it, I saw it coming, yet the pain was still there. Rejection really hurts, even when it’s not a shock. Moments before I opened the email, I think I knew, but for a brief minute I imagined what life would look like if instead of a rejection that was an offer; I imagined I’d call my mom and cry tears of happiness, I imagined I’d hug my sister and scream into her ear how happy I am, or i’d see my best friend and tell her I made it. Then I opened the email and reality washed over me like a wave of ice cold water. All I wanted to do is curl up in a ball and disappear. But I knew I couldn’t do that because I was at the train station and I would’ve looked like a freak (lol). I went home and reread the email. Over and over and over again. Until the words ‘unsuccessful’ were tattooed on my brain, until all saw was failure written all across my body. I came across your article and I realised this rejection stings a little less because I’m stronger. Microscopically different than last time, but still, it’s progress. I will try and do all the things you’ve mentioned, but I wanted to thank you for your words because I realised while I was reading that I had stopped crying. I was no longer on my bathroom floor, but in my bedroom, against the radiator. I’m actually smiling as i’m writing this, so thank you for allowing some light to shine on my tiny strength.
I know i’m bound to get more rejections, but right now that’s okay. I’ll figure it out, I’ll overcome them because I know my worth.
I am glad you felt better aftrer reading. Rejection hurts no doubt, but it gets better with time, and in hindsight you will look back and realise the why it happened. Wish you the very best life has got to offer