Few things are certain in life. There are death and taxes, of course. But what about rejection? Everyone experiences some sort of rejection. Most people go through at least one romantic rejection (the first might just be the hardest!), and most people have been rejected for jobs, too. Rejection certainly isn’t any fun.
To avoid rejection, rather than dealing with rejection in a healthy manner, many people miss out on opportunities. They don’t ask that person out. They don’t apply for a job or enter a competition. They’re sure they’ll lose, so they avoid the whole thing altogether. Of course, the only thing this achieves is guaranteed loss. As they say, you might fail, but not trying guarantees failure!
The best way to make rejection seem smaller is to get better at it, and to do that, you’ve actually got to go through more of it. The more rejection you survive, the more assured you’ll be that the next one won’t be the end of you. The advice below will help you learn how to deal with rejection gracefully.
We frequently think of romantic encounters when we imagine rejection, but there are many reasons to feel rejected, including:
- When your partner breaks up with you
- If he cheated on you
- When your partner prefers to spend time with others
- When your partner doesn’t like one of your ideas
- You hear the person you like making fun of you
You can even feel rejected when you aren’t accepted for a promotion at work or a new job. People who are more sensitive are more likely to feel rejected. If you fall into this camp, you might benefit from learning how to deal with rejection.
How to Deal with Rejection
There are a number of things you can do that will make rejection easier, and in turn, you’ll be more likely to go after what – and who – you want despite previous rejection.
1. Get Perspective
Remember that whatever you’re going through now – a breakup, divorce or cheating – isn’t life or death. Every difficulty that we must deal with is one that we will eventually move past. In the big picture, it might not even be a big thing. This is just one chapter of your life ending, not the entire thing. You might not be able to imagine future chapters, but they’re there as long as you keep heading forward.
2. Know You’re Not Alone
Remind yourself that everyone has been rejected, and most people have done rejecting, too. Know that you’re not alone, even if it’s your tendency to think that everyone else is in happy relationships or that you’re not lovable because of this recent heartbreak. Neither of those things are true. Everyone has experienced some sort of rejection and can put themselves in your shoes, and this knowledge can be quite reassuring.
Read these quotes about breakups for more inspiration.
3. Remain Focused
Avoid reliving prior rejection. When your mind is running away about how you’re unlovable, it’s easy to remember how your ex rejected you and think of this as something that always happens. However, that’s probably not true, and it pulls you into an even bigger pit of despair. Focus on only what’s happening now.
4. Keep Busy
Keep busy so that you don’t become overwhelmed with negative and anxious thoughts. Spend time with friends and family, perhaps people who you became distant from while you were dating this person. Start a new hobby or pick up an old one. Learn how to do something you’ve always wanted to do or try something that scares you. Here are some things to consider that are both good for your mental and physical state of being:
Anything that gets you moving will flood your body with endorphins, which help to keep depression and anxiety at bay. Things that are new and exciting, or potentially scary, also add adrenaline to your system, which is beneficial in dealing with rejection and its negative fallout.
5. Hold Off On Another Relationship
However, you want to be careful not to simply jump into a rebound relationship as a way of dealing with rejection because it’s easy to project your feelings onto someone else, but it’s not helpful. Read more about rebounds in this post.
6. Feel How You Feel
Allow yourself to feel the negative emotions that come with rejection. This might be anger, sadness, hurt, frustration, jealousy or something else. These feelings might overlap in a way that makes it difficult to distinguish between them. That’s okay. For a few weeks, you might feel pretty bad. It may be hard to feel anything else. But after a month or so, you should start to notice a few positives during your day. You might not be in a good mood all the time, but your days won’t be 100% bad. Allow yourself to feel those good emotions, too.
7. Be Gentle on Yourself
Remind yourself of your positive traits. Your loved ones can help with this endeavor. Perhaps you’re funny, charming, smart, or have a particular skill that people like. If you can name at least one positive about yourself, then you cannot be wholly worthless or unlovable. Similarly, try to find at least one positive about your situation, which leads us to our next point.
8. Think Positive
Look for the lesson in it all. What can you learn? Perhaps you need to guard your heart a bit more or not ignore signs of cheating. Maybe you need to choose partners better (no more “projects”) or trust your instincts more. You might be able to learn about your own shortcomings so you can avoid them in a future relationship. As long as you can find a lesson in the situation, rejection will be easier to swallow – and it’ll be easier to try again once you feel ready to do so.
9. Seek Help
Of course, dealing with rejection isn’t always something you can do by yourself. Aside from a strong support network, you might seek professional counseling and consider the assistance of medication, especially if you find yourself struggling with depression or anxiety when dealing with rejection. Some people resist this idea, but talk therapy can be constructive, especially if you have no one else to talk to. Because our partners become so important to our support network, you might find yourself without a best friend once your relationship ends.
The skills you’ll learn from a therapist, self-help book or simply by doing it yourself are those that you can use if you ever face rejection again. Although it’s certainly hard to put yourself out there, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do so that rejection won’t feel so painful the next time. No one becomes immune to the effects of rejection, but if you learn how to deal with rejection, you can be more confident the next time you ask out your crush or apply for a new job!
With this in mind, don’t force yourself to try again if you’re not ready because that will only lead to disaster. Instead, allow yourself to heal. Even smaller rejections can take some time, and it’s understandable if you feel timid for a while after a serious relationship ends. But as the old saying goes, rejection won’t kill you. It will only make you stronger.