How to Handle Rejection
One of the most important lessons you can learn is how to deal with rejection and the feelings that accompany it. No matter how successful someone is they will inevitably face some form of rejection at some point in their life. Take Michael Jordan for example; he was cut from his high school basketball team, but he used his rejection as motivation to get better, and went on to become one of the most successful NBA players of all time.
Everyone has a fundamental need to feel valued, to feel worthy and to be accepted. When rejection happens it can impact your self-esteem, making you feel inadequate, unworthy or like a failure. You could feel hurt, pain, disappointment, anxiety, loneliness, disconnected or angry. You can face rejection in various aspects of your life; in social situations, relationships, careers and school. It can come in all forms, big and small. A friend may not return a text, someone you like and ask out might say no, you could be passed over for a part in the school play, not get accepted to your top pick for university or not get hired for a part-time job you applied for. Whatever the situation, it’s important to know how to cope with your emotions when they arise, so you can work through the pain of the rejection and move on.
Here are 8 ways to handle rejection:
1. Talk to someone you trust. It could be a teacher, counselor, relative or coach. Pick someone who will listen to your situation and your feelings surrounding it. Someone who want judge. Often talking about your feelings can help ease the pain. The person might also be able to help you sort out what went wrong (if anything).
2. Allow yourself to feel bad about the rejection. Don’t try to cover up your feelings or burry them. It’s healthy to let yourself feel what you feel. Try to process your feelings; it may even help to journal about them.
3. Don’t go on social media to complain about the situation. Angry Facebook posts and Tweets blaming others will not help you deal with your feelings. It may even cause more problems.
4. Try not to take it personally. It is not a personal attack. If someone you ask out says no or you don’t get a job you applied for, they are not rejecting you. They may be rejecting your request, but not you as a person. They don’t know you well enough to reject you as a person.
5. Distract yourself. After you’ve given yourself time to process your feelings do something to take your mind off the situation. Read a book, hang out with friends, watch a movie, or go to the park to play basketball, do something you enjoy to help take your mind off the rejection.
6. Think of a time in the past when you overcame a difficult situation. It’s helpful to remember what strategies you used then and apply them to your current situation.
7. Learn from the rejection and use it to improve. If you didn’t make the football team you may need to practice more to improve your skills. Just because you didn’t make it this time doesn’t mean you never will. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll never make any other teams you try out for. Be sure not to overreact and turn one rejection into thoughts of, “I’ll never be able to…” or “It’ll never happen.”
8. If you can’t shake off your feelings of rejection and you start experiencing feelings of depression be sure to talk to a school counselor, teacher or care giver so they can help you. It’s okay to need support from others. Seeking help for depression, anxiety and other mental health issues is nothing to be ashamed of. It takes a strong person to recognize when you need help. Don’t let shame or embarrassment prevent you from doing so.
Remember, everyone faces rejection in their lives. But you can’t let it define you. How you cope with and overcome hard times says more about you as a person then the rejection ever will. Sometimes it’s hard to move past your feelings, but it’s important to remember to keep trying, and to believe in yourself, after all rejection is part of success.