Rejection is one of those inescapable parts of life that nobody can avoid forever. It’s not a nice feeling, and it can hurt if we let it. And that’s ok. It’s part of the human experience and it’s ok to feel sad when it happens. However, what’s important is to make sure we deal with it in the right way and not let it define us. There are many different forms in which rejection can occur, but let’s look at two more common examples and how individuals might deal with them.
Andrew likes this new girl in school, Chloe. They’ve hung out together and enjoy each other’s company, and Andrew hopes they can be more than friends. He musters up the courage and asks Chloe out. Unfortunately for Andrew, Chloe doesn’t feel the same way, and she kindly lets him down.
Naturally, Andrew feels a bit sad about this. However, it’s what he does with those feelings that matter next. He could let them overcome him, decide he’s never going to ask anyone out again, and shut himself off from the world. He might stop hanging out with his friends and cease doing the things he once enjoyed. But would this be a rational reaction?
Well, ok, of course, it’s expected that he feels sad. But letting it define his life? I mean, last year, he didn’t even KNOW Chloe, and he was pretty happy then. Does it make sense to let her rejection of him withdraw from life and never seek love again? No, of course, it doesn’t.
Instead, let’s look at the positives. Asking Chloe out at all was a brave thing to do. He could have sat on his feelings, never said anything, but where would that have got him? Never knowing? No, he put aside any (understandable) fear of rejection, bit the bullet, and asked her anyway. Regardless of the outcome, that took guts in itself.
Also, he still has his friends, his family, and his hobbies. He was a happy guy long before he ever met Chloe and had people who loved and cared for him. They’re all still there. After being rejected, it’s important to remember this. It’s only one thing that didn’t work out; after all, why throw all the rest of it away?
Of course, just because Chloe rejected Andrew doesn’t mean he won’t find the love of his life in the future.
Sarah is applying for a summer work placement. It’s an exciting proposition; there are loads of nice perks with this position, and it’ll look good on her CV after college when she’s looking for full-time work. Sarah puts a lot of preparation in, researches the company, practices the interview with her guidance counsellor, and even buys a lovely new suit.
The interview went very well. However, despite Sarah’s best efforts, ultimately, she receives a letter saying that while they liked her application, they have decided to go with another candidate. Sarah is understandably upset upon reading this and feels all the effort was for nothing. However, as with the romantic rejection Andrew faced, it’s what Sarah chooses to do with these feelings that will affect her future.
Once again, it’s essential to consider the positives. Instead of dwelling on why she didn’t get the job, Sarah should congratulate herself on how far she DID get. Many job applications don’t make it past the recruiter’s desk, and in fact, many don’t even get opened. So to have made it to the interview room is an achievement in itself – interviewers’ time is precious, so they wouldn’t have called Sarah forward if they didn’t think she had potential.
And getting rejected for one job doesn’t preclude getting another (few of us would have any jobs if that were the case). There will be other opportunities down the road. By not getting this job, Sarah may well end up with another in time that turns out to be way better anyway.
The experience of the interview itself should be viewed as a positive thing. By going through it, Sarah has gained an idea of what an interview is like; no two interviews are the same, so it’s no harm at all getting experience as to what types of different questions can be asked and what format an interview can be taken, etc. She can use all of this as armour going forward in future interviews. Hardly a negative thing, right?
So, whether it be romantic rejection, employment rejection, or another kind entirely, what are the key points we must be mindful of?
- Be realistic
Everyone has gone through rejection at some point. Being rejected doesn’t make you less of a person, and it certainly doesn’t make you different or less-than-normal – quite the opposite, in fact.
- Focus on the positives
When we deal with rejection, it’s very easy to dwell on the negatives. But don’t let them eclipse the positives. Count your blessings in life. Think of the people who are there for you. Think of your achievements. And remember, you tried, even if it didn’t work out, you should never lose sight of the fact that you were brave enough to take a chance.