5 Tips to get over feelings of REJECTION!

Dealing with rejection can be a very devastating, scary and unpleasant occurrence. However, in life we take many risks with decisions, people, investments, money, etc; and with risk comes the probability that rejection may occur. The reality is you will be rejected at some point in your life and learning how to cope and deal with rejection can be the difference between resilience and future success or unhappiness and becoming stagnant. Here are some common and effective ways to deal with rejection:

1.     Be aware of your response to rejection: 

        a)  Rejection can feel like a huge loss and a big disappointment mostly because you become emotionally attached to the possible outcome and      expectations. Therefore, when you are rejected you begin to feel offended and even taken advantage of because you have become attached to an expectation that was not given to you. When rejection is sudden and scary, some people develop the idea that the world is an evil and negative place and that the risk of rejection is not worth the leap of faith. When things do not go the way you expect for them to go,  you feel devastated, even powerless because of the loss of control.

         b)  When responding to rejection we may feel angry, disappointed, sad, embarrassed and vulnerable; but, remember these are common, natural emotional reactions to rejection. Allow yourself to feel these emotions for a little while, acknowledge these emotions and allow yourself to heal. Do not allow yourself to get overtaken by the emotions, but allow them to exist, and then encourage them to pass so that you can rejuvenate yourself and begin to hit the ground running. Sitting in the pain and discomfort is one of the most difficult things to do when we feel rejected. However, most people are so quick to just move on, give up, or give in without allowing themselves to "feel." After all, we are humans, so allow yourself a little time to experience these feelings and use them as a platform to perform, strive, and get better.

2.     Talk to people your trust

           a)  As mentioned earlier, most times people feel embarrassment, disappointment and even ashamed after being rejected. For example, when you are turned down for a job that you have been talking about for the past year to close friends and family, the first thing most people do is withdraw and isolate. Who needs further embarrassment? Who needs the stares, the “egg shell walkers” or the “I’m sorry” and “it’s their loss" speeches? Most people isolate as an unconscious way to protect themselves, however it is good to talk to someone who has your best interest at heart. Quality support systems help remind us how much good we have done and how many obstacles we have overcome. It is nice to have someone to vent to besides yourself and it is great to have someone who will just listen and maybe even give you great advice or help you figure out your next path. We NEED healthy support systems in our lives.

3.     Do not take it personal-They rejected what you had to offer, Not you.

         a) When rejection occurs, we immediately begin to do a full self-evaluation checklist. Did I say something wrong? Do I look incompetent? Am I not good enough? Whether it is rejection for a job opportunity or a university, the decision maker is not necessarily saying you as a person are not good enough or something is wrong with you and that is why they do not “want” you. They are just making a decision that while you may have few to most of the qualifications, they may be looking for something different then you are offering. When you take risks, it is like an interview or an audition. The people in charge usually have a standard or idea of the qualifications and skill sets they are looking for; and while you may have some, there may be another person who may be a better fit. For example,  if you have many shirts for a variety of occasions and if you are going to a dinner party, you decide to wear your silk blouse instead of your comfortable college t-shirt. You are not saying that the t-shirt is a failure, incompetent or that there is something wrong with it. You reason to yourself that this occasion calls for something specific and appropriate and at that time,

4. Do something for yourself, others, or both.

          a)  During these times, it helps to take a while to do something nice for yourself or others or both. Maybe you have wanted to paint your room, or try a new island recipe, or even clean your house. It doesn’t really matter what you do, but take some time out for yourself to occupy your hands and mind even if it’s just reading a book or magazine for a minute allow yourself to relax and focus on something more enjoyable. Rejection can become obsessive and really eat at you if you allow it to. It can cloud every judgment you have made, or make and it can discount all the great things you have accomplished if you allow it to fester and be on your mind. By taking time out to engage in activities with yourself or with others will put things in perspective. Helping others, even those less fortunate than you, helps you realize that there are more things that are far worse than what you are dealing with. You gain insight, resilience, and good feelings that you are taking time out to allow yourself to be committed to yourself or others if you choose. The message here is it does not matter how small the activity, it will do wonders for your attitude, belief system, and your mind.

5.  Move on

         a)  After you have had time to deal with rejection for a while, it is time to resist the easy road of giving up and get back into the boxing ring, we call life. No more complaining or self-pity it is time to reaffirm all the success you have accomplished and that you will accomplish. This is the step where you revamp yourself in a way that is fresh, energized, positive, and focused. It is easy to become stagnant, especially after multiple rejections, but eventually you will continue to thrive and things will fall right into place when the opportunity presents itself and you are prepared. This is a great time to rebrand yourself, rewrite your resume, study for a better greater success, develop a stronger skill set, and work hard in your position so that your supervisor sees how great of a worker you are. The point of this is to keep striving, to continue building, and putting your best foot forward. The worst thing that could possibly happen after doing this is that you are rejected; and if you think about it, rejection is not that bad when you know how to deal with it, get through it, and move on from it.

          b)  An important thing to remember is that rejection happens to everyone and it should be a wake-up call, not stop sign. As humans, we sometimes have the belief that if we do things by the “book” or give our all then everything we want will happen just the way we it expect it. The truth of the matter is you cannot control everything, and that is okay. All you can really control is continuing to grow and build from this experience.

Remember, we can’t control others but we can control ourselves. We have the power to choose how we react and/or respond to others. Holding on to anger and resentment will only hurt us. YOU have the power to CHOOSE…so, choose to LET GO and MOVE ON!

Authors: Jada Jackson – Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), M.S. and Breana Parker – University of Central Florida Graduate Intern