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Feeling rejected? Here's how you can heal and move forward

Aug. 21, 2017
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In case you’ve been lucky enough not to learn this already, you’ll eventually find that rejection can come from any direction. You can experience rejection from a job, a college, a love interest, an audition, and—on occasion—even your own pet. A couple of rejections could create a feeling of being stuck. Even hearing a simple No can leave you feeling lost. The best thing is to accept it, feel what you feel, and move on. Rejection can sting, but a sting is felt for a moment. How do you move on from that moment?   

After you’ve faced rejection, think about how you feel, and why. 

“I feel sad. I won’t be able to try again until next year.”

“I feel disappointed. I shouldn’t have second-guessed myself.”

“I feel okay. It was fun to have the experience.”

All of these are examples of healthy feelings. Do you want to know what an unhealthy feeling looks like? 

“I feel dumb. I don’t know why I even tried when I know I’m not as good as them.” 

This type of mindset can be very damaging, and it’s hard to get rid of. Allowing yourself to carry such a negative opinion of yourself makes everything you do more difficult. Your confidence, your determination, and your personality all suffer from a negative mindset.

But here’s the wonderful part: you can counterattack a negative mindset. Aim to reword your negative thoughts, or come at the negative thought from a different perspective. 

Let’s try to revamp the negative statement given earlier:

“I feel unprepared. I did not do as well as I wanted to. I’ll try to figure out what I need to work on to improve.”

The sentence is a lighter, more constructive way to admit to the same feeling, which would be about falling short of a standard. Once you have your feelings sorted out, you might realize something: it wasn’t the end of the world. Life will keep going. You will have another day, another hour, another minute, another second to do something great—and to be someone great.

Keep moving forward. 

People can get stuck on rejection, if they allow themselves to be. People with a pessimistic outlook or a negative relationship to emotions have a hard time moving on from the way rejection makes them feel.  Honestly, it is possible for anyone to get stuck on rejection—we’re all human! But you are better off not engaging in negative actions that can form unwanted habits. If you’re having a hard time getting over a rejection, here are some things to avoid:

  • Don’t dwell on the rejection. Repeating the moment of a rejection in your mind will not change the outcome. If you beat yourself up over it, you are wasting energy.
  • Don’t generalize the rejection. Being denied in one instance or situation does not mean you will be denied every time. Not being chosen at a casting call does not mean you will not be chosen at another casting call. Generalizing can also lead you to feel that you’re terrible at everything associated with your rejection. Failing a quiz on fractions does not mean you’re terrible at math. When you do have to deal with rejection, define it as experience. 

Hearing “no” is part of life, but not all there is to life. Failures do help you build character. Not getting what you want adds another layer to your presentation of yourself. If you are looking for ways to lessen your chance of being rejected, here is one that could help: make it more possible for the person to say yes. How can you get someone to lean towards a “yes”? Help them feel more secure in their decision to help you. Give them a reason to consider you or your request. Imagine if you were in their shoes, and you were presented with what you are presenting to them. 

A rejection could help lead you to where you are meant to be. There are times that people would have missed out on an opportunity had they been accepted to something else. That doesn’t mean you should be worried about saying “yes” to opportunities for the fear of missing something better—but if you are rejected, think of all the great opportunities that still await you.