Like death and taxes, being rejected is an unavoidable side effect of being a human being. Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, dealing with rejection is something all of us are forced to experience on a constant basis.
It isn’t easy to do, but learning to overcome rejection, and the nasty feelings that come with it, is an important part of getting older.
I’ll give you an example: last year, in the space of two weeks, I was rejected by two different news organisations, and the person I thought I was in love with. Learning how to come out the other end as a better person was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding.
The thing about my story is that it isn’t new or unusual. Every moment of every day, people around the world are getting their hearts broken and their dreams trampled. If there’s one transferable skill you take the time to learn this year, make it handling rejection like a champ. Here’s how you do it.
Don’t take it personally, but learn to reflect
Sometimes a rejection has very little to do with you as a person. We’ve all heard the “it’s not you, it’s me” line, but there is some truth in that tired old line. Sometimes people simply aren’t ready to take a relationship to the next level, or that job you loved really didn’t have the money to keep you on. When things are out of your hands, it’s best to remember not to take on the burden of other people’s responsibilities, and put the focus back on yourself.
On the other hand, sometimes it is your problem – and that doesn’t necessarily mean you should lock yourself away from the world forever. Look at any rejection, in any aspect of your life, as a chance to reflect and grow. Maybe you’re lacking a skill you could benefit from learning, or maybe you just need to spend some time figuring out who you are – either way, forcing yourself to see rejection as a positive step to become better for yourself, and no one else, is the best way to ensure you can take anything life throws at you.
The world isn’t out to get you
Sometimes things just don’t go the way that we planned; people are unlucky, or the timing is off. But we can still feel like the world and everything in it is out to get us. Our rational brain knows that’s not the case, but we just can’t stop ourselves from feeling that way.
That’s ok. An important part of getting over a rejection is acknowledging how you feel. Allow yourself to feel hurt, sad, overlooked- give yourself the time to really process all the negative emotions that come with any rejection.
Allowing yourself the space to work through emotions and wallowing in them is a thin line, but the key to making it work is to be kind. Be kind to yourself, but also be kind to the person or persons doing the rejecting. One of the hardest things to do after being rejected is to admit that people have a right to say no to you, just like you do to others.
Accept it and move on
The final step to really making the best of a rejection is to just accept it and move on. For your own sake, don’t continue going back to ask why, or what you could have done. Once you’ve got your closure, don’t look back – draw a line in the sand and move on to the next opportunity. It makes you the bigger person, but most importantly, makes you a better one.