You cannot have approval without its opposite: rejection.
It’s just like hot and cold and love and hate. Without one, you can’t have the other.
Whether it’s on your career path or in your love life, rejection is a part of the equation — it can’t be avoided. The key is to accept the inevitability of rejection and learn to adapt when it happens.
6 Tips for People Struggling to Deal With Rejection
There are many ways you can develop your ability to deal with rejection. Here are six tips to try the next time you feel you’re denounced, rebuffed, diminished or eliminated:
1. Know It’s Not All About You
When you’re rejected, it can feel like the world has conspired against you to keep you from having what you want. However, it isn’t all about you. There are many different factors at play — you just happen to be one of them.
This may seem harsh, but think of it as a humbling experience. You can’t and don’t control how your day, week, year and life unfold. You can plan, prepare and be as ready as possible, but the unexpected will happen anyway.
It’s not because you are bad, wrong or at fault, either. Rather, it’s because there are other people, places and things that need to be factored into the equation, and all of them are far from our control — and sometimes even our understanding or knowledge.
Take solace in the fact that you experiencing a rejection isn’t all about you. It is part of a much larger picture that may or may not become clearer later on.
The only thing you are in control of is you! You can be sure to do your best and try your hardest — the results, including rejection, aren’t up to you.
2. Practice Gratitude
Practicing thankfulness and appreciation for what you experience and have is a skill. It isn’t easy to be appreciative when you’re not getting the things you feel you want or need. However, if you can find small elements of your day to be grateful for, rejection won’t hit so hard.
With gratitude, you’ll have a greater awareness of all you do have and how you are actually okay. You’ll have an understanding that a rejection in love, career or other pursuits doesn’t color everything.
Since gratitude is a skill, though, you must hone it. You can do this by writing a gratitude list, once a day. Put three to five items on it. Try it for a week, and you’ll be surprised how your perspective changes.
Plus, you can’t possibly know where one rejection will lead you next — it might be a gift you’ll recognize later.
3. Treat Yourself With Compassion
Rejection is hard. It doesn’t feel fun, exciting or heartwarming to be told you aren’t wanted. It is okay to feel sadness around a rejection.
Don’t beat yourself up about feeling sad, mad or defeated, either. Those are normal and healthy emotions to have while processing what happened.
Give yourself the time and space to experience the emotional fallout of a rejection. If you can, take some time away, preferably close to nature and be compassionate with yourself. Know that the pain will pass — really, it will!
4. Acknowledge This Is Not a New Feeling
This isn’t your first rejection rodeo. You have experienced rejection as far back as you can remember — everyone has. It’s a shared human experience.
The fact that you have gone through rejections before and lived to tell the tale is proof you will survive. Getting beyond the hurt and pain of rejection does take time, but you know from your lived experience you can and will move beyond a rejection.
5. Find a Lesson in It
It’s not a cliché to say rejection can teach you something. It’s a fact. When you don’t get what you desire, you are forced to reevaluate your goals and current situation. What you thought was going to be the outcome is now not the reality.
You can see where you fell short, where you need to grow, where you can challenge yourself and where you can do and be better. A rejection can be a guide and a teacher.
You’ll better understand your strengths and weaknesses and where you need to go next.
Rejection can feel like a dead end, but it truly is a fresh start — if you choose to see it.
6. Don’t Let It Define You
Whatever you do, don’t let a setback define you. It wasn’t your first rejection, and it won’t be your last — no need to give it power over you. You are bigger and more important than any one rejection.
Some people can become immobilized due to a rejection, feeling that it was their only chance and it’s gone. No single event should define you. Instead, think of it as this: A rejection doesn’t mean no. It just means not right now.
Let Rejection Be the Part of Life It’s Supposed to Be
Rejection is inevitable — it’s part of this game of life.
If you can accept this plain and simple fact, you’ll be better prepared for when rejection does strikes. Take comfort in knowing you can’t prevent it from happening, all you can do is be your best self at work and play.
Let this acceptance of rejection free you because after it is in the distant past, you will be able to recognize how it taught you and guided you. Rejection isn’t to be feared. It can be a real gift if you’re willing to accept it.
In other words, don’t reject rejection!