Last updated on August 11th, 2021 at 11:25 am
Sometimes rejection is protection or redirection. But in those moments, it is so freaking difficult to feel that way. Especially if you are someone who internalizes it as though something is wrong with you. So, the question is: how to deal with rejection?
It can seem like everyone else is thriving: filled with love, acceptance, job opportunities, and healthy relationships. That’s not always the truth.
Being rejected for any reason can take a hit to your self-esteem. It can feel like you’re doing all the right things and then the outcome is the opposite of what you expected.
On top of the rejection you receive, you might say mean things to yourself that justify your “unworthiness” of acceptance. And take it personally how others treat you, thinking it’s a reflection of your character.
One of my favorite podcasters, Crissle West from The Read, said “we start off with the facts, and then we spiral downwards.” Often telling ourselves lies about our worth.
Trust me—I get it. I’ve been rejected too many times. So much that in the past it made me feel I was a failure in love. Like professionally, I couldn’t get it together; like something was wrong with me.
A few years ago, I applied to over 500 jobs and most of the applications didn’t even make it to the interview stage. This, on top of being unemployed, led me to a dark place.
At that moment, I couldn’t see that maybe I needed to get my resume revamped. Also, none of these jobs would have fulfilled me.
All I felt was unworthy and not good enough. Instead of being kind to myself, I punished myself for not doing enough.
That’s what rejection can do to people—make you critical of yourself.
I would challenge you to look at rejection differently.
Easier said than done, right?
But try to ask yourself these questions:
Do you even want this person/opportunity?
I don’t know if it’s ego or what, but sometimes you get rejected from something or someone you didn’t even genuinely want. And it hurts.
I can only speak from personal experience, but in hindsight, I’ve mostly been rejected from things I didn’t absolutely want. And sometimes it wasn’t even rejection, more like not my time yet.
If you can sit with the uncomfortable feelings rejection brings and ask yourself this question, you’ll gain more clarity. Should you let it go? Should you fight for it?
If you get rejected from an opportunity or job you wanted, you can take some time to develop yourself, so the next go-round you get it!
Rejection doesn’t mean you’ll never get something, it means just be patient with yourself and your process.
Is this rejection personal to me?
Is this job/opportunity/person rejecting you because there’s something wrong with you? Or is it a compatibility issue?
Maybe you didn’t get a job, because it’s not the right fit for you (which is a blessing in disguise.) Sometimes a person doesn’t want to date or be with you because they have their own internal struggles going on. Sometimes people go after an opportunity and receive a rejection letter, but find something better later.
Does any of this mean you’re not worthy? Does it mean you did something incredibly wrong? That you can’t get the thing you’re actually looking for?
NOOOOOO, it doesn’t mean any of that!
If you’ve envisioned a certain job, opportunity, or relationship and you find something similar to that, but ended up getting rejected—then it means you haven’t found your match yet. But good news, it’s still out there!
It’s hard to believe it in those moments, but you will get the things you want + asked for. And it will be like you envisioned or better.
So, like I said, sometimes rejection is redirection. It’s getting you closer to where you were destined to be.
How can I be kind to myself after “rejection”?
On top of getting rejected, you might find it necessary to beat up yourself. And what does that solve?
If a friend of yours was in the same situation, how would you be tender and compassionate towards them? What words of comfort, clarity, and encouragement would you give? How would you look at it more objectively?
Be a friend to yourself.
That’s the only way you can get through this process in a healthy way. Speak to yourself the way you’d speak to someone else.
You deserve that same level of empathy.
What can I do differently?
If it’s a job or opportunity, what do you think you could do differently next time you apply? Is there someone you can reach out to give you feedback?
If it’s dating or a relationship, and you’ve realized it wasn’t personal to you—then it’s not a matter of what you can do differently. Or maybe you realize there were areas you could do better, then reflect on that empathetically.
You can see this as a chance to grow; we’re all human and no one is perfect. If you adopt this mindset, you can see it as a chance to be the best you!
What is the lesson in all this?
Asking yourself this and giving yourself the chance to think about what is truly going on.
These additional questions may give you that clarity you’re looking for:
Do you need to revamp your resume?
Do you need to keep fighting for what you believe in?
Or do you need to let something go that’s not for you?
Are there ways you can improve?
Are there ways you can love yourself more, even through the hard times?
Do you need to be more patient with yourself?
Can you ask for help?
How can you unpack your feelings towards rejection?
Rejection is something all people face, whether they show it, and it still sucks! But thinking things through can make all the difference in your mental health and how you handle the rejection.