Rejection: Overcoming Pain and Persevering

Rejection is painful. It can make you feel overwhelmed, ashamed, or even threatened. Regardless of if the rejection came in the form of a relationship, university admission, or something else, we suddenly become unsure of what to think about ourselves. We often focus on the past and believe our future is bleak.

But by letting rejection consume us we are not allowing for the nuanced internal discussion of our strengths and weaknesses that allow us to improve. If it goes on for too long we also allow it to negatively impact all aspects of our personal life.

Rejection is an inevitable part of life that we will all face at one point or another. By appropriately dealing with rejection we can overcome the pain, learn from our mistakes, and persevere. So for those wondering how to overcome rejection, here are some tips and tricks to help you bounce back from these experiences.


Understand how we React to Rejection

As humans, we long to be accepted, loved, and respected just the way we are. Receiving rejection is a way of suggesting to us that who and what we are is not okay. We are extremely social creatures and being rejected has often been detrimental to our mental and well-being. It often leads us to feel angry, threatened, and overwhelmed. But know that these emotions we feel when are normal to have. Perhaps it relates to our evolutionary traits, where human interaction was the key to survival. Those who were not able to work with others were unable to survive. Once we are aware of how we react to rejection we are now able to do something to change it.


Slow Down and Process Your Emotions

Generally in the moments after receiving rejection we are not in an emotional space to be able to properly process feedback. During moments like these, it is important to step back, slow down and engage in activities that make you happy. Focus first and foremost on your well-being. That includes taking the time to exercise, cook, spend time with family, or even meditate. Do whatever makes you happy.

Once you’ve engaged in the activities to help calm yourself it is now time to process your emotions to help keep yourself grounded. Many times people keep their emotions buried so deep until there is nowhere to contain them and it bursts out suddenly. Emotions are a normal part of our lives and we should pay attention to them, lest we let them control us.

Some great ways to be aware of one’s emotions might include journaling about them. The important part is to be aware that your emotions exist, they aren’t really right or wrong, but they just exist.


Know that Rejection is Often not Personal

Often times we assume that rejection is personal when it often isn’t. Many rejections are a result of circumstances and the timing of certain events. Sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, you cannot control how other people feel about you. This is known as Amor Fati.

“The only thing you can reall control is how you react to things out of your control”

Bassam Tarazi

Use Rejection as a Means to Improve

We shouldn’t be discouraged by rejection. Instead, view these events as opportunities to learn and improve. We all have weaknesses and blind spots and that’s okay. Adopt a growth identity and believe that you can change, learn, grow, and constantly evolve through effort and hard work. Look at these opportunities as ways to stretch outside of your current capabilities so that you can learn something and improve. This is all part of a never-ending process of receiving critical feedback and developing a growth mindset.


Be Proud of Yourself

Throughout the entire process don’t forget to be proud of yourself for how you’ve come and progressed as a student, teacher, or learner. Remember that just as you have weaknesses you also have your own strengths and values. Think of the things you are most proud of in yourself, not as a means to brag, but as a way to recognize who you are as a person and what makes you who you are.


Move Forward Despite Rejection

At the end of the day, we are all on our own journey. Receiving rejection is inevitable, but never let those rejections stop you from continuing forward. You may think at one moment that there is no way to move onwards, but the truth is that this too shall pass. There is always a best path forward despite every setback, you probably just don’t see it yet. Instead of being beaten down by rejection learn from your experiences, get back up, and improve the next time around.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

Nelson Mandela

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