We all have to face rejection at one time or another. It’s an inevitable fact of life, dealing with rejections, failures, and disappointment. Maybe you were shot down by your crush or were passed over for the lead in the school play.
How you deal with rejection reflects back on your character. The way in which you choose to handle the less-than-ideal situations in life is important. Though it may be hard, and your self-esteem may have taken a hit, there are healthy ways to cope with rejection. Here are 10 ways to do so.
Number 1 — Accept The Answer
Do you think you have a great idea for your group project, but the group leader shot you down too quickly?
Or have you ever asked your crush out on a date and they said no?
When this happens, your first instinct may be to try and convince the person to say yes instead. But it’s best to respect and accept the answer that they’ve given to you.
Don’t pressure them to change their mind or give you a second chance because even if you do manage to convince them, you’ll be stuck in an environment where that person won’t want you there and the environment or your relationship with that person can then become toxic.
Number 2— Distance Yourself from The Situation
Have you ever experienced a truly difficult type of rejection?
Did you step away and get to calm yourself down?
Or did you move ahead and try to deal with things right away?
Research suggests that stepping away from a problem to tend to your emotional needs is a healthy coping mechanism. This kind of healthy distance also helps reduce the possibility of intrusive thoughts.
If you are rejected over the phone or on a computer, take a break from your electronics. Move into a different room than the one you got the news in, or take a walk outside.
If there are times where you can’t physically leave, or if having a public breakdown may lead to a panic attack, try to mentally distance yourself from the rejection by focusing all of your energy onto the present until you can find some more private to process your emotions.
Number 2 — Allow Yourself to Feel
It’s important to let yourself feel your emotions, even if you think you might be overreacting. Long-term emotional suppression can lead to emotional repression, and this can cause poor physical and mental health, increased stress, and possibly depression.
Everyone has different levels of emotional resiliency, and their reaction to certain situations depends on the state of their mental health and other life factors.
For example, a harsh rejection is more likely to trigger a depressive episode in someone with clinical depression. You might feel feelings of guilt, embarrassment, sadness, and anger in response to being rejected.
And that’s all okay.
Number 4 — Spend Time with Friends, Family, or in Therapy
Have you ever felt hurt or lost when dealing with rejection?
Talking about the situation with someone you trust, helps you navigate your feelings better. Spending time with friends or family can help boost your self-esteem and help you out of your head.
Especially if you’re experiencing self-hatred or self-doubt after a bad rejection. When you’re dealing with this kind of pain, you want to be heard listened to, and empathized with.
So try and set boundaries and communicate your needs to the people you’re spending time with or if you’re in therapy, talking with your therapist is also a great way to help process your feelings of rejection.
Number 5 — Do Something You Love
Do you have a favorite instrument you like to play or a favorite movie or TV series that you like to watch?
Do you enjoy a nice walk around the neighborhood or on the beach?
Doing something that you love can help distract you from the pain of rejection and helps remind you that your life has more value than just this recently missed opportunity. It’s easy to equate your worth with your job, significant other, or personal success.
When you do something that brings you joy, it helps you focus on the other aspects of yourself. Revisit an old abandoned hobby, or pick up a new one.
If you need a break from a beloved hobby because it was related to the rejection, you can always try and do something similar instead. Like instead of playing the violin, you can simply listen to classical music.
Number 6 — Practice Self-Care
Self-care is a great way to rebuild your self-confidence if your self-esteem has taken a hit due to rejection. Rejection may have you doubting your competency or your worth.
Self-care looks like different things depending on who you are. Self-care is often portrayed as, cutesy feel-good things like eating ice cream and taking a bubble bath.
And while these feel-good things can certainly help, self-care also includes taking care of your body. Eat at regular times, drink plenty of water, and workout regularly to release feel-good endorphins.
But if working home feels like too much for you right now, even something as small as getting out of bed and getting dressed for the day is still a good start.
If you’re someone who isn’t affected by rejection, self-care can look like remembering to assess how you feel, and making sure you are taking breaks from school or work when needed.
Number 7 — Work on Yourself
Self-reflection usually immediately follows a rejection. If the person, group, or organization who rejected you gave you constructive criticism, look it over and consider incorporating some of their advice into your next idea, request, or application.
If they didn’t offer any feedback, try to determine if part of the problem stems from yourself. Perhaps you have a fear of failure, and it got the best of you this time.
Maybe you had a really good project idea, but you got so nervous during your presentation that you couldn’t express it properly.
Getting more comfortable in front of a crowd by practicing in front of your friends and family can help you with that. Or maybe you achieved your personal best and still got rejected.
In these situations, be mindful and proud of the progress you’ve made, and continue working on improving yourself and your skills.
Number 8 — Learn from The Experience
Despite the pain of rejection, there is always something to be learned from them. Even if it’s just adding them to the list of things you’ve survived and worked through.
Maybe you’ll learn that you weren’t ready for the opportunity yet. And you need to develop yourself, your skills, and your education further before trying again. Or maybe you find out who in your life is there to support you during hard times.
This way of dealing with rejection can be difficult because you associate good feelings with the person, job, or opportunity you lost and it can be hard to be objective. But taking something away from that experience and growing from it is a good way to not let that rejection define your future.
Number 9 — Put The Rejection into Context
While you shouldn’t minimize your emotions over rejection, it can help to put the event into context. Make a list of the things you lost with the opportunity.
Then look at which of these things are unique to that situation, and which ones can be found in other opportunities or from other sources. Think about the negatives of the opportunity you lost as well.
Maybe you would have had to live in a city to take advantage of the lost opportunity and now you’re able to move closer to nature. All too often we romanticize things we can’t have and turn them into regrets.
But taking time to debrief potentially traumatic events like rejections as they happen and reflecting on past rejections may help minimize future intrusive thoughts that can hold you back.
Number 10 — Explore Other Opportunities
When you dwell over rejection, you miss out on new opportunities. Use your past rejections to fuel your search for new goals and experiences.
After you’ve evaluated, what you were hoping to get from the person or organization who rejected you, set aside a few minutes each day to research new opportunities.
These new ventures may look very different from the ones you missed, and that’s okay. As long as your needs are still being met, it’s important to consider all the options moving forward, and choose the one that’s best for you.