The only people in life who don’t have a story about being rejected are unsuccessful, lonely people who have never tried at anything. Anyone who has succeeded in anything has also failed. This is just as true in relationships as it is in business, sports, or any other area where you have to put yourself out there.
Being rejected means you are in excellent company.
Despite knowing that rejection is a part of the human experience, it’s still really tough not to internalize it. It’s hard not to take it personally, even though when we have to reject others in life we hope they don’t take it personally. You can’t help but feel like it’s a reflection of your flaws.
Rejection can come in small packages or grand lessons. It could be as simple as a guy not messaging you back on a dating app. Other times it’s as awful as a long-term partner telling you he doesn’t love you anymore.
Regardless of the cause of the rejection, you absolutely have to learn how to deal with it. If you don’t, you won’t be able to live the full life that you deserve. Here’s some advice on how to do exactly that.
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1. Acknowledge how you feel
Pretending you don’t have feelings is like running around with your fingers in your ears so you won’t hear bad news. Reality is going to happen whether you deny it or not. Stuffing your feelings down is only going to lead to an eruption of emotions later on.
Treat your feelings like visitors. You don’t have to give in to them. Note that they are there and decide what you want to do about them. You are not your feelings, but you do have to deal with them. If you don’t, they can internalize and take the form of false self-beliefs.
Acknowledge your emotional reactions to things. If you’re embarrassed, angry, shocked, sad, or dumbfounded – that’s OK. Your feelings are always valid.
2. Be kind to yourself
If you’re having a hard time being kind to yourself, imagine that a friend is going through what you are currently experiencing. Picture them telling you about it and how it makes them feel. How would you advise them? Treat yourself with that same empathy.
For some reason, we are unusually harsh when talking to ourselves. Try to go 30 days without saying anything unkind to yourself, or even a week if that seems like overreaching! Every time you catch yourself criticizing, stop. This experiment will make you realize how often you end up torturing yourself with unnecessary cruelty.
3. Don’t take it personally
All of the greatest actors you know have experienced repeated rejection. When they auditioned for something and didn’t get it, they were usually told: “We decided to go in a different direction.” It’s so hard not to take that personally and to keep persevering. But just because they weren’t right for that role doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them.
The same principle applies to other forms of rejection, including the romantic kind. Have you ever had to turn someone down? It didn’t mean that person was horribly flawed and awful, it just meant that they weren’t right for you. Attraction is a peculiar thing, and not everyone can be a match.
Don’t go home and start coming up with reasons for the rejection. You weren’t someone’s cup of tea, and that’s OK. Negative self-talk like “I’m not pretty enough,” or “I’m not smart enough” is utterly useless. It does not serve you. Learn to monitor your thoughts and kick out the ones that are not beneficial to you.
4. Talk to people close to you
One great thing about rejection is that it is entirely relatable. This makes it easy to confide in others about your suffering. By opening up about your insecurity, you also open the door for the other person to be vulnerable. Bonding over these human experiences is very therapeutic.
Sometimes we get into a shame spiral where it’s impossible to look at the situation objectively. When we keep ruminating on something negative, we can actually reframe it in unrealistic ways. You can end up rewriting something as worse than it actually was. Telling someone close to you about how you’re feeling can be an excellent way to get a reality check on the situation. They’ll be able to tell you when you’re looking at it the wrong way.
5. Accept it
One surefire way to feel worse about a rejection is to battle it. Trying to talk someone out of turning you down is a humiliating experience, and you deserve much better. There are people who you don’t have to plot and scheme to convince. Focus on finding those people.
Even if you did manage to talk someone out of a rejection, you’re always going to carry some bitterness about the beginning of the relationship. It may even be that you’re in it for the thrill of the chase, so once you are accepted it will become less interesting.
Redirect your energy to pursuits that are of service to you. Spend time working on and learning to appreciate yourself.
6. Learn from it
When you learn from something, it’s never a failure. Often rejection can spur us into becoming better, stronger versions of ourselves.
If everyone in life just patted you on the head and said you were great no matter what, you would never have to push yourself. For this reason, if you can learn to be grateful for opportunities to learn and better yourself, you will be so much happier.
7. Don’t let it define you
If you allow your mind to be changed by the opinion of someone else, that person wins. A defeatist attitude sees rejection as proof that things really are that bad. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Of course – nothing ever works out for me.” That kind of negativity is toxic. It’s also unappealing to be around.
Perspective is everything. Are you going to let the opinion of one person change the way you see yourself? That would just be foolish. Generally, what people say about you is much more of a reflection on them, not you. Don’t let the issues of other people mess with your self-worth and satisfaction in life.
8. Stay busy
While it’s important not to run away from your feelings, there’s also a time and a place for distracting yourself. Once you have acknowledged your feelings and whether or not they’re useful to dwell on, feel free to move on from them.
Even after you’ve come to a resolution on an emotion, it’s not always simple to shut it out. Sometimes you find yourself obsessing over feelings, replaying the unpleasant circumstances that created them. This is the perfect time to turn to distraction.
Keep yourself busy. Find a new hobby, take a class, go for coffee with a friend, paint your nails, or start a new book. The possibilities are endless. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s full of positivity and will help take your mind off any unproductive emotions.
Sometimes the only thing that can help soothe a painful memory is time. By staying occupied, you give time the chance to do the rest of the work.
I hope this article gave you more perspective on rejection and empowered you with the right tools to get over it fast and come out even better in the end. One major way a lot of women experience rejection is when their guy starts pulling away. He seems to be more distant, he’s less responsive, less excited by her, and he seems to be losing interest. This is a very common occurrence in a relationship, but it doesn’t mean the end is near. If your guy is pulling away, make sure to read this article next to learn exactly what to do to bring him back: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...
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How to Handle Rejection:
- Acknowledge how you feel
- Be kind to yourself
- Don’t take it personally
- Talk to people close to you
- Accept it
- Learn from it
- Don’t let it define you
- Stay busy